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Hill Farm Allowance

Mr. Breed: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if farmers who previously received hill livestock compensatory allowance but now do not qualify for hill farm allowance will receive transitional support this year. [151743]

Ms Quin: No. However, such farmers are eligible to apply for schemes under the England Rural Development Programme.

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Mr. Breed: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many farmers previously eligible for hill livestock compensatory allowance he estimates will not qualify for hill farm allowance. [151741]

Ms Quin: Preliminary estimates indicate that across the country 1,200 to 1,300 farmers who received HLCA in 2000 will not receive HFA because they have less than 10 hectares of eligible forage area in the less favoured areas. Officials recently wrote to 3,400 producers, asking for additional information in order to ensure that all those who qualify receive payment.

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Those who are ineligible for HFA will be eligible to apply for schemes under the England Rural Development Programme.

Livestock Diseases

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the outbreaks of (a) foot and mouth, (b) swine fever and (c) anthrax disease which have occurred in the United Kingdom since 1966, specifying in each case the species and number of animals slaughtered, the premises affected, the length of the outbreak and the number of abattoirs in operation at the time. [151644]

Ms Quin [holding answer 1 March 2001]: The information requested is available in the Libraries of the House.

Industrial Fishing

Mr. Gill: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) on what species the Anglo-Danish scientific study of the impact of industrial fishing is to be based; [152837]

Mr. Morley: I reached agreement in the margins of the Fisheries Council on 14-15 December on initiating bilateral discussions with Denmark on the sandeels fishery with a view to reducing the Total Allowable Catch for sandeels, re-examining bycatch arrangements and considering related issues. A first meeting was held in Edinburgh on 26 February, focusing principally on sandeels. This reviewed existing scientific effort in the UK and Denmark on estimating local sandeel abundance, examining predator-prey relationships and evaluating the impact of the closure of the sandeel fishery off the north-east coast. The meeting also examined bycatch arrangements in relation to ICES forecasts of haddock and whiting catches in the industrial fishery; EU technical conservation rules on permissible bycatches in the sandeel and other small mesh fisheries; and in Danish sampling and control arrangements for estimating bycatches in industrial fisheries.


Depleted Uranium

Dr. Jack Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence at which of his Department's test locations in the United Kingdom the firing of depleted uranium projectiles has taken place; how many test firings have been made at each location; what arrangements are in place for the protection and monitoring of people and the environment; and if he will make a statement. [144771]

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if depleted uranium has been a component of munitions used on (a) Salisbury Plain training area, (b) Porton Down, (c) Lulworth ranges and (b) Shoeburyness. [145945]

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Mr. Hoon [pursuant to his reply, 15 February 2001, c. 42W]: While the previous answer was believed to be correct at the time on the basis of the information available, additional information has now come to light which suggests that AWE firings may have continued until 1986. This information is contained in 1980's notebooks held at DERA Fort Halstead which logged the movement of experimental DU munitions from that site to the then AWE site at Foulness. There were no matching records at DERA Shoeburyness since in the 1980s the AWE site at Foulness was a separate establishment.

Balkan Casualties

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK troops have been injured in (a) Bosnia and (b) Kosovo in the last two years; how many have been removed from the country where they were serving owing to the serious nature of their wounds; how many have been killed; and if he will make a statement. [152598]

Mr. Spellar: During the period of 1 January 1999 to 31 December 2000, eight service personnel have died in Bosnia as the result of injuries sustained, and four in Kosovo. During the same period, 203 casualty evacuations of service personnel took place from Bosnia, and 308 from Kosovo.

A complete record of service personnel who have sustained injuries in the respective theatres is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Road Accidents (Balkans)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many road accidents there have been in moving UK troops in (a) Bosnia and (b) Kosovo in the last two years which resulted in major injury to UK military personnel; how many military personnel were killed in them; how many resulted in severe damage to vehicles; and if he will make a statement. [152597]

Mr. Spellar: In the two years up to the end of 2000, four UK service personnel serving with SFOR have been killed as the result of road traffic accidents, and one serving with KFOR. Road traffic accidents also resulted in reports of serious injury to 10 personnel serving with SFOR and 32 with KFOR, and to 10 and 11 vehicles respectively being damaged beyond economic repair.

Royal Irish Regiment

Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the strength of the part-time section of the Royal Irish Regiment is; how many new recruits there were and how many part-time members resigned from the regiment in 2000; and if he will make a statement about recruitment into the part-time section of the Royal Irish Regiment. [152152]

Mr. Spellar: The strength of the part-time element of the Royal Irish Regiment at 31 January 2001 was 1,693. During the period 1 January to 31 December 2000, 124 members enlisted into the part-time element of the Regiment and 141 resigned.

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Part-time members of the Royal Irish Regiment provide essential support to the police in a variety of roles. We have recently launched an advertising campaign to encourage individuals to apply to join the Regiment and take advantage of the career and employment opportunities which exist there.

2 Parachute Regiment

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the damages awarded against his Department to Mr. Ian Bannister, a former member of the 2 Parachute Regiment. [153060]

Mr. Spellar: Claims for compensation are considered by my Department on the basis of whether or not the Ministry of Defence has a legal liability to pay damages. Where there is a legal liability to pay compensation we do so. In Mr. Bannister's case, a claim was brought for injuries he received as a result of a training accident. Liability was admitted following a thorough investigation of the case and the claim settled on 18 February 1999. In view of the confidential nature of the level of damages paid to Mr. Bannister, it would be inappropriate to disclose the amount. I am therefore withholding the information under exemption 4 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Strategic Sealift

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress on the provision of strategic sealift. [153493]

Mr. Hoon: On 26 October last year, I announced that AWSR Shipping Ltd. had been selected as the preferred bidder for the strategic sealift (RoRo) service. Since then negotiations have been under way to place the PFI contract with AWSR.

The negotiations have reached an advanced stage. AWSR has placed sub-contracts with Flensburger of Germany for four ships and Harland and Wolff for two. However, progress has been slowed by difficulties over the detailed commercial arrangements. In view of these complexities, which could threaten the timely completion of the PFI negotiations and early delivery of the service to MOD, I have decided that the Ministry of Defence should take over the commercial shipbuilding contract with Harland and Wolff, as part of the overall PFI arrangements. The contract will be managed by AWSR. On delivery of the ships to them, AWSR will provide the full six ship strategic sealift service on PFI terms.

As I announced on 26 October last year, I expect the full strategic sealift capability to be available by 2003.


Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the levels of pay for personnel on active service in the armed forces in Bosnia; and if he will make a statement. [153071]

Mr. Spellar: I refer the hon. Member to the Thirtieth Report 2001 of the independent Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) (Cm4993), published on 9 February 2001, the recommendations of which have

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been accepted by the Government and become effective from 1 April 2001. Copies of the Report have been placed in the Library of the House.

UK service personnel receive the same level of basic pay regardless of where they are serving. Levels of service pay are based on the recommendations of the AFPRB who work on the principle of broad comparability with the pay of civilian jobs of similar weight and responsibility (derived by job evaluation) against a number of factors. An additional element called "the X-factor" (currently 13 per cent. of basic pay) is then added to basic pay in order to reflect the differences between conditions of service experienced by members of the armed forces and conditions in civilian life which cannot be taken into account when assessing pay comparability. X-factor is paid to all ranks, except the most senior officers, regardless of unit or location and is also pensionable.

It is recognised, however, that service personnel can only be compensated for a certain amount of separation from their base through the X-Factor. Therefore, service personnel who have served for more than three years and who are deployed, for example, to Bosnia, for over 10 consecutive days will also qualify for the Longer Separated Service Allowance (LSSA). LSSA is a taxable allowance, the level of which varies depending on the number of days spent away from home. Rates of LSSA effective from 1 April 2001 are also outlined in the AFPRB's 2001 Report.

In addition to pay, there is also a package of measures to cover the welfare of troops deployed to Bosnia. These include the provision of publicly funded books, newspapers, telephone calls home, concessionary parcel rates, family travel and leave.

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