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Written Answers

Wednesday, 29 March 2006.

Armed Forces: Chaplains

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): As at 1 January 2006, the number of self-declared adherents of the faiths listed currently serving in the Armed Forces were as follows.
MuslimHindu
Sikh
Buddhist
320250
85
245




Source: DASA (Tri-Service)


1. UK Regular forces includes nursing services and excludes full-time Reserve service personnel, Gurkhas, the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment, mobilised reservists and naval activated reservists.


2. Figures include both trained and untrained personnel.


3. Figures have been rounded to the nearest five to prevent disclosure of sensitive personal data.


4. Due to rounding methods used, totals may not always equal the sum of the parts.






The conditioned working hours for the respective chaplains to the Armed Forces are as follows.
MuslimHindu
Sikh
Buddhist
36 hours per week (a full-time appointment)22 ½ hours per week
15 hours per week
15 hours
per week


The working hours for these posts are currently under review.

Armed Forces: Reserves

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The House of Lords has referred the Matthews case back to an employment tribunal for further consideration and a final judgment. The ruling has not affected the Ministry of Defence's position in relation to Reserves.
 
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Armed Forces: Royal Irish Regiment

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): When the disbandment of the Home Service Battalion was announced, the security annexe to the joint declaration committed the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to the vacation, closure and disposal of all Northern Ireland military sites to leave no more than 14 core sites. Bases will be disposed of as part of the normalisation process, but the assessment of those MoD sites occupied in whole or in part by the Home Service units of the Royal Irish Regiment is still under consideration. Until that assessment has been concluded, the value of potential land sales cannot be determined.

Armed Forces: US Bases

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): Twelve Royal Air Force bases are made available to the United States Visiting Forces in the United Kingdom. Records of such incidents reported to United Kingdom police officers are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate effort.

Arms Trade

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We are in regular contact with international partners regarding an arms trade treaty (ATT), including Russia. On 20 February, a cross-Whitehall delegation visited Moscow to discuss the ATT initiative with Russian counterparts. Discussions covered the general scope of a treaty, but focused more at this point on process and on how the initiative may be taken forward within the UN context. We will continue to work with Russia and other international partners to generate support towards our objective of initial discussions in the UN later in 2006.
 
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Beaches

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Bach): There are a number of voluntary bathing water award schemes in operation in the UK. These include the Blue Flag Scheme, the Seaside Awards and the Good Beach Guide.

The Blue Flag Scheme has been run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) since 1987.

During the 2005 bathing season, England had 65 and Wales had 38 beaches that are eligible to fly the blue flag. The scheme is administered by ENCAMS in the UK and includes standards for litter, dog control and environmental care as well as water quality.

Israel: Bethlehem

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): Bethlehem is of unique religious and cultural significance to Christians, Jews and Muslims. We remain concerned about the current route of the barrier and settlement building around Bethlehem, as we do elsewhere in the West Bank.

On 2 March, our ambassador in Tel Aviv raised the issue of settlements and the barrier with the Israeli Prime Minister's Special Adviser. They also discussed Israeli Acting Prime Minister Olmert's future plans for the West Bank. They met again on 20 March where our ambassador raised the Bethlehem crossing. We also raised our concerns about closures in the West Bank and Gaza with the Israeli Foreign Ministry on 9 March.

Changes of Address

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The following European Economic Area countries require central notification of a permanent change of
 
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address: Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

Permanent changes of address should be notified to local municipal, police or tax authorities in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia. In most cases, this information is then forwarded to a central authority.

In Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta and the United Kingdom there is no general requirement to notify a central authority of a permanent change of address.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): Since the announcement of the £8.5 million ring-fenced budget for developing new services for people with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), we have established 13 clinical network co-ordinating centres, 36 multi-disciplinary teams, as well as 11 specialist children and young people's teams across England.

The clinical network co-ordinating centres (CNNCs) are virtual centres, established to champion and support the development of multi-disciplinary CFS/ME services and improve clinical care in their designated area.

Improving service provision and care for people with CFS/ME has been an evolving process, while CNCCs and local multi-disciplinary teams have sought to recruit and train staff and find premises in which to see patients. It is estimated that, by the end of the year, 11,000 patients will have been seen by these services. The new services are expected to see 21,000 patients annually when working at full capacity.

Funding of CFS/ME services from 2006-07 will be included within the resource allocations to primary care trusts (PCTs) to facilitate the continuation of services after the ring-fenced period ends. CFS/ME services will therefore be considered as part of the
 
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future local planning of services and PCTs can take steps to ensure the establishment of further CFS/ME services, if there is local need.


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