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Entry Clearance Office (Islamabad)

Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs at what times of the day the Entry Clearance Office in Islamabad is open for telephone inquiries from the UK; and what the telephone numbers for such inquiries are. [147078]

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Mr. Vaz: The Visa Section in Islamabad is open between 02.30 GMT and 09.30 GMT (0730-1430 local time) Monday to Friday. Telephone inquiries can be accepted during those hours. The telephone numbers are those of the British High Commission: 00 92 51 2822131 to 2822135 and 2206071 to 2206075. The telephone numbers and office hours of British diplomatic missions overseas can be found in "HM Diplomatic Service Overseas Reference List", which is available in the House Libraries, and available on the internet at www.fco.gov.uk/directory/posts.asp.

Bertelsmann Foundation Conference

Mr. Denzil Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs by whom Her Majesty's Government were represented at the Bertelsmann Foundation conference on the future development of the EU held in Berlin in January. [147163]

Mr. Vaz: Her Majesty's Government were represented at the conference by the British Ambassador to Berlin, Sir Paul Lever.

Mrs. Nazia Bashir

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Her Majesty's High Commission, Islamabad, received an application for entry clearance for settlement from Mrs. Nazia Bashir (ISB/H3690); when she can expect to be invited for interview; and if he will make a statement. [147132]

Mr. Vaz: Mrs. Nazia Bashir applied for a settlement visa at our High Commission in Islamabad on 14 June 2000. An Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) interviewed her the same day. Further consideration of the application was delayed to allow Mrs. Bashir to produce further documents to support her application. An Entry Clearance Manager has reviewed the case in the light of the extra documents supplied and has authorised the issue of a settlement visa to Mrs. Bashir.

DEFENCE

Tornado GR4 (Upgrade)

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the RAF Tornado GR4 upgrade programme will be complete; and how many GR4s will then be available for operations. [143334]

Dr. Moonie: On current plans, the RAF Tornado GR4 upgrade programme will be completed by February 2003 when all 142 upgraded aircraft will be available for operational deployment.

Depleted Uranium

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to request the Defence Radiological Protection Service to update its 1993 report on the exposure by British military personnel to depleted uranium during the Gulf war. [145300]

Mr. Spellar: My Department's position on the exposure of British military personnel to depleted uranium during the Gulf conflict was set out on 19 March 1999 in a paper entitled, "Testing for the presence of Depleted

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Uranium in UK Veterans of the Gulf conflict: the Current Position". Since then the US Department of Defence has published its own assessment of possible levels of depleted uranium to which troops may have been exposed in the Gulf. These levels are lower than those contained in the Defence Radiological Protection Service reports of 1993, and our 1999 paper. We will analyse the differences.

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) shells and (b) bullets containing (i) uranium and (ii) depleted uranium were fired by the Army on ranges in Surrey in the last 10 years. [147070]

Mr. Spellar: No munitions containing uranium or depleted uranium have been fired on the ranges in Surrey.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what uranium pharmacological tests he proposes should be undertaken on civilians living in areas of depleted uranium debris; [147194]

Mr. Spellar: The health of civilians is the responsibility of their Government or, as in the case of Kosovo, the United Nations. Although the UK will provide help and advice if requested, it is up to these relevant authorities to decide what tests, if any, should be carried out.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what evidence he has received on measurements of uranium 235 among Kosovans. [147196]

Mr. Spellar: None. The Ministry of Defence is not aware of any such measurements being taken.

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many representations he has received concerning a ban on the use of depleted uranium ammunition by the armed forces. [145937]

Mr. Spellar [pursuant to his reply, 23 January 2001, c. 537W]: We have received a petition from the Campaign Against Depleted Uranium.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations have been received from the campaign against depleted uranium. [145295]

Mr. Spellar [pursuant to his reply, 22 January 2001, c. 420W]: We have received a petition from the Campaign Against Depleted Uranium.

Commercial Exploitation Levy

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage commercial exploitation levy is applied to defence related exports to recover MOD Research and Development costs; and what the percentage was in each of the last 10 years. [146068]

Dr. Moonie: The rates vary according to the type of equipment involved and the extent to which its development was funded by the Ministry of Defence. Higher value sales would normally employ profit-sharing schemes rather than applying levy rates. The circumstances of individual sales may also permit some variation to the levy arrangements which would be negotiated on a case by case basis. I am withholding

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details of the individual rates used and the circumstances in which they might apply under the exemptions 7 and 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. The rates currently in use have remained unchanged over the period in question.

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the research and development levy income was for each of the past 10 years; and in respect of what categories of contracts it was levied. [146070]

Dr. Moonie: There is no calculated contribution in respect of the Ministry of Defence's investment in research and development. The commercial exploitation levy (CEL) is a form of royalty for any commercial sales of a design, use of special tooling or the granting of licences where MOD has contributed wholly, or in part, to research and development costs. There are no restrictions on the categories of contracts to which CEL applies, but the vast majority relate to equipment (including software), since MOD research and development funding is largely in support of the development of equipment. Details of the income derived from CEL over the last nine years are set out in the table. Data for 1990-91 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Commercial exploitation levy receipts: 1991-2000

Year£ million
1991-9234.5
1992-9315.0
1993-9439.8
1994-9533.0
1995-9621.9
1996-9790.5
1997-9854.0
1998-9957.0
1999-200017.5

Notes:

1. Figures include all Commercial Exploitation receipts collected by the Defence Bills Agency.

2. Figures exclude: VAT, DTI, France Jaguar/Lynx, MOD IPR licences and receipts from other international programmes not collected through the Defence Bills Agency.


Non-departmental Public Bodies

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what directions overriding a note of dissent by an accounting officer have been given by the boards of non-departmental public bodies within his Department since May 1997. [147065]

Dr. Moonie: There have been no such directions.

Nurses (Defence Medical Services)

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the establishment requirement for nurses in the Defence Medical Services in the specialties of (a) accident and emergency, (b) diabetes, (c) intensive/ coronary care, (d) orthopaedic surgeons, (e) burns and plastics, (f) general nursing duties, (g) infection control, (h) ophthalmic surgeons, (i) midwifery, (j) neurology, (k) dental, (l) operating theatre, (m) paediatrics, (n) psychiatry, (o) otorhinolaryngology, (p) renal/urology, (q) special baby care, (r) stoma care, (s) tutors/instructors, (t) health care assistants and (u) other, indicating in each case the (i) current manning levels and (ii) percentage shortfall; and if he will make a statement. [146155]

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Dr. Moonie [holding answer 24 January 2001]: The operational and retained task requirement for nurses in the Defence Medical Services and the trained strength as at 1 October 2000 is as shown by speciality. Recruitment into training is highly satisfactory. However, recruitment of trained nurses remains difficult. We are currently working on measures to improve the recruitment and retention of serving nurses.

SpecialityOperational and retained task requirementTrained manningShortfall (Percentage)
Accident and Emergency1144461
Diabetes01--
Intensive/Coronary Care2047563
Orthopaedic462252
Burns and Plastics401368
General Nursing Duties1,12257349
Infection control7529
Ophthalmic15193
Midwifery1845--
Neurology10460
Operating Theatre776417
Paediatrics1116--
Registered Mental Nurse1257838
Otorhinolaryngology00--
Renal/Urology30487
Special Baby Care03--
Stoma Care02--
Tutors/Instructors34326
Health Care Assistants136143--
Dental Surgery Assistants4124081
Other (Staff and Cmd Posts, Gynaecology, Oncology)412539


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