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Porton Down

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 5 March 2001, Official Report, columns 19-20W, on Porton Down, if staff from his Department have held other meetings with the Medical Research Council regarding advice on an independent epidemiological study for Porton Down volunteers since 14 November 2000; and on what dates each of these meetings took place. [154785]

Dr. Moonie: No other meetings have taken place.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many studies have been undertaken since 1971 by the chemical defence establishment at Porton Down to establish the annual totals of service

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volunteers who have taken part in experiments at the establishment; and on what dates each of these studies were completed. [154784]

Dr. Moonie: No such formal studies have been undertaken. However, since 1995 the annual reports of the Independent Chemical and Biological Defence Ethics Committee have included the numbers of volunteers who have participated in the Service Programme during the report year. These reports are usually produced in the following April-May.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 5 March 2001, Official Report, column 19-20W, on Porton Down, what plans his Department has to take on more staff in the Gulf veterans illnesses unit to deal with issues relating to Porton Down volunteers. [154786]

Dr. Moonie: We plan to take on a further member of staff, probably a Higher Executive Officer (Grade C2), to deal with Porton Down Volunteers issues.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has requested the Medical Research Council to consult the Operation Antler team of Wiltshire police regarding its advice on an independent epidemiological study for service personnel who took part in experiments at the chemical defence establishment at Porton Down. [154768]

Dr. Moonie: No.

US Military Personnel (Compensation)

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will send a team of his staff to the United States to evaluate the system under which the US Government provide compensation to former military personnel who have developed illnesses as a result of taking part in chemical warfare experiments. [154793]

Dr. Moonie: I have no plans to do so. The Ministry of Defence has a Liaison Officer in Washington D.C. who can gather information on US arrangements for paying compensation to veterans who participated in trials in the US, should there be a need to do so.

Depleted Uranium (Dundrennan Range)

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the damage done to the depleted uranium monitoring rig located offshore at the testing range at Dundrennan. [154199]

Dr. Moonie: The test rig housing the depleted uranium samples was damaged during winter storms. The most likely cause of this damage were the chains securing the buoys marking the rig which impacted repeatedly with the main body of the rig during unexpectedly high sea states. In all some 20.76kg of depleted uranium, the equivalent of four projectiles, were lost and, if not recovered, it is expected that the material will oxidise and disperse in exactly the same way as rounds fired into the Solway Firth from the Kirkcudbright range. The ongoing comprehensive environmental monitoring programme continues to confirm no uranium above naturally occurring background levels.

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Royal Logistics Corps

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the rates of pay are for Royal Logistics Corps (a) drivers, (b) supply specialists, (c) ammunition technicians and (d) chefs; and what plans he has to increase the rates of pay for those employed on explosive ordnance disposal. [154582]

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Mr. Spellar [holding answer 20 March 2001]: The rates of pay effective from 1 April 2001 for Royal Logistics Corps drivers, supply specialists, ammunition technicians and chefs are shown in the table. The rates shown are the highest and lowest points of pay scales, which are incremental.

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RankPay rangeDriverPay rangeSupply specialistPay rangeAmmunition technicianPay rangeChefs
PteLower£12,070.55-£16,800.95Lower£12,070.55-£16,800.95n/a--Lower£12,070.55-£16,800.95
L CplLower£15,461.40-£18,206.20Lower£15,461.40-£18,206.20Lower£15,461.40-£18,206.20Higher£18,388.70-£22,100.75
CplLower£19,812.20-£22,637.30Lower£19,812.20-£22,637.30Higher£20,575.05-£25,341.95Higher£20,575.05-£25,341.95
SgtLower£22,925.65-£25,889.45Lower£22,925.65-£25,889.45Higher£25,017.10-£28,199.90Higher£25,017.10-£28,199.90
S SgtLower£25,298.15-£28,904.35Lower£25,298.15-£28,904.35Higher£28,218.15-£32,109.05Lower£25,298.15-£28,904.35
WO2Higher£30,966.60-£33,028.85Higher£30,966.60-£33,028.85Higher£30,966.60-£33,028.85Higher£30,966.60-£33,028.85

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The trade of Ammunition Technician in the Royal Logistic Corps, whose duties include explosive ordnance disposal, has been subject to the job evaluation process. All ranks in this trade at corporal and above have been assigned to the higher pay range. Those employed on explosive ordnance disposal will, in common with other trades, be eligible under Pay 2000 for the award of annual incremental pay increases subject to satisfactory performance. In addition they will receive annual pay awards as recommended by the independent Armed Forces Pay Review Body.

Service Personnel (HIV/AIDS)

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the (a) RAF, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Army are suffering from HIV/AIDS; and if he will make a statement. [153171]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 12 March 2001]: Twelve members of the armed forces are currently known to be suffering from HIV/AIDS. As one of the services has only one member known to be suffering from HIV/AIDS, a breakdown by service cannot be provided for reasons of confidentiality. No information is held on members of the armed forces who may be receiving treatment outside the Defence Medical Services.

War Pensions

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Gulf War veterans have been deemed eligible for war pensions due to the effects of the Gulf War; and if he will make a statement. [154048]

Mr. Bayley: I have been asked to reply.

At 31 January 2001, 965 awards of war disablement pension had been made to Gulf War veterans for Gulf War-related illnesses.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Trade Union Rights

14. Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what further proposals he has to introduce legislation in relation to trade union rights. [153644]

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Mr. Alan Johnson: The Government have introduced greater rights to trade union membership and representation through the Employment Relations Act 1999 and other initiatives. This legislation needs time to bed down. We therefore have no plans to introduce further trade union legislation during this Parliament.

Energy Prices

16. Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action he is taking with regard to energy prices. [153646]

Mr. Hain: The Government are taking a number of actions, both nationally and internationally, to promote competitive gas and electricity prices.

Trade Balance

18. Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what forecast he has made of the balance of trade in 2001-02; and if he will make a statement. [153648]

Mr. Caborn: The Treasury forecast for the balance of trade shows a £26.75 billion deficit in 2001, rising to £33.75 billion in 2002.

Ilisu Dam

19. Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will come to a decision on ECGD support for the Ilisu dam. [153650]

Mr. Caborn: We will not make our decision on ECGD support for the Ilisu project until both the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) have been received and fully assessed.

We have received assurances from the commercial parties that the EIAR, which is their document, will be made publicly available before a decision is taken.


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