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Golden Jubilee

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to recognise all those who have served less than five years in the armed forces as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations; and if he will make a statement. [9018]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 22 October 2001]: There are no specific plans to recognise the service of any members of the Armed Forces as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced on 15 February, a Golden Jubilee Medal will be instituted. It will be awarded to uniformed members of the Armed Forces, who are serving on the 6 February 2002, the anniversary of The Queen's accession, and have completed five years or more qualifying service. There are no plans to extend this to all serving members of the Armed Forces. The purpose of the medal is to commemorate the Golden Jubilee, not to recognise the service of its recipients.

Gurkhas

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to increase the pay of Gurkha service men to the same level as that of British service men. [9035]

Mr. Ingram: Under the terms of the Tri-Partite Agreement (TPA) between India, Nepal and the UK, Gurkha pay is linked to the Indian Army pay code. Gurkhas also receive a cost of living allowance known as Universal Addition payable wherever a Gurkha serves. This combination of basic Indian Army pay and Universal

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Addition, means that overall total Gurkha remuneration is in line with the net pay of comparable British service men. These arrangements have been in place since 1997

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the Gurkha regiments; and what plans he has to increase the number of Gurkhas serving in the British armed forces. [9034]

Mr. Ingram: The total number of trained Gurkhas in the British Army as at 1 September, was 3,500. There are two Gurkha Infantry Regiments serving with the British Army; 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles and 2 Royal Gurkha Rifles. Gurkha Reinforcement Companies are currently serving with the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment, 1 Royal Irish and 1 Highlanders. There are also formed Gurkha units serving with 10 Transport Regiment, 30 Signal Regiment, 36 Engineer Regiment and in training establishments at Sandhurst and Brecon. In addition, there are small numbers of Gurkha service men serving as "Attached Arms" within numerous other units and establishments across the British.

There are no plans to increase the total number of Gurkhas in the future.

Anti-anthrax Drugs

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what additions to the MOD stockpile of anti-anthrax drugs were acquired in the six-week period prior to 11 September. [9538]

Dr. Moonie: Potential drugs for post exposure treatment of anthrax are Ciprofloxacin or Doxycycline but these antibiotics are also used to treat a wide range of clinical conditions. Other than supplies to meet ongoing primary and secondary healthcare requirements, no additional quantities of these drugs were acquired in the six-week period prior to 11 September.

Afghanistan

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements have been made by the Ministry of Defence to treat service personnel who may be injured in Afghanistan and the surrounding areas. [8702]

Mr. Hoon: The current UK contribution to coalition operations in Afghanistan comprises Royal Navy submarines equipped with Tomahawk land attack missiles and Royal Air Force assets supporting the air campaign. Suitable medical facilities are available on board the submarines and at the air bases from which the aircraft are operating. An aeromedical evacuation capability is also in place should any casualties need to be returned to the UK for treatment.

Dublin and Monaghan Bombings

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department has responded to requests for information from the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974 by the delivery of relevant documents; and if he will make a statement. [7948]

Dr. John Reid: The request from Mr. Justice Henry Barron, the Independent Commissioner of Inquiry into the Dublin, Monaghan and Dundalk bombings, was shared

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with all relevant Government Departments and agencies. This has led to an extensive and time-consuming manual search of a large number of old files. As soon as this has been completed I will make a single co-ordinated response to Mr. Justice Barron.

I am replying on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence and the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

Peter Bottomley: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, if he will provide the House with an opportunity to invite Elizabeth Filkin to accept a second term as Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. [9472]

Mr. Kirkwood: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Broxbourne (Mrs. Roe) on 18 October 2001, Official Report, column 1285W.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

India

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the influence which the GATS (general agreement on trade on services) agreement will have on the biodiversity in the Ghats forest of India. [8181]

Hilary Benn: Our preliminary assessment is that, in its present but still evolving form, the GATS agreement will have no specific influence on the biodiversity in the western and eastern Ghats forests of India.

Romania

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the impact of foot and mouth disease on the supply of Christmas gift boxes to Romanian orphanages. [8335]

Hilary Benn: Romanian import regulations are becoming more restrictive, made more so by a Government decision earlier this year. Restrictions are not limited to the import of foodstuffs but also, among other things, the import of clothing and toys. The British Embassy in Bucharest are aware of this issue and are taking it up with the Romanian authorities.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Nuclear Security

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will place in the Library a copy of the report by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security on nuclear security. [8235]

Mr. Wilson: When the Office for Civil Nuclear Security joined the Department of Trade and Industry on 1 October 2000, the Minister announced that the Director

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would make an annual report which would be placed in the Library of both Houses. No report has yet been received as OCNS has not yet been part of the Department for a full financial year. I expect to receive a report in March 2002, which I shall place in the Library of the House.

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the terms of reference for the review of nuclear security being conducted by the OCNS include the security implications of commissioning the Sellafield MOX plant and the transportation of MOX fuel to overseas customers. [8236]

Mr. Wilson: All aspects of the security of nuclear installations and transportation of nuclear material are kept under continuing review by the Director of Civil Nuclear Security, who regulates security in the civil nuclear industry.

Minimum Wage

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to amend the regulations relating to the National Minimum Wage Act 1998; and if he will make a statement. [9111]

Alan Johnson: We have no such plans. The national minimum wage has been a resounding success bringing substantial benefits to nearly 1.5 million workers, especially women and part-time workers, without having had any significant adverse impact on employment or the economy. The operation of the minimum wage is kept continually under review to ensure that this success is maintained.

Cumbria Business Link

Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the availability of funds to Cumbria Business Link. [7525]

Nigel Griffiths: Business Link Cumbria receives funding from the Small Business Service for the delivery of support services to small and medium-sized enterprises and those considering setting up in business in Cumbria. This financial year, Business Link Cumbria has available £1,456,274 for the delivery of a range of business support services, including support for high growth start-ups. Business Link Cumbria also receive resources to support farmers, including those directly affected by the outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) under the Farm Business Advice Services. The North West Development Agency has also made available resources, via the Business Recovery Fund, to assist non-agricultural businesses who are experiencing difficulties as a result of FMD.

There are further sources of public funding which Business Link Cumbria may be able to access. These include European Structural Funds as well as funding from local authorities and other resources from the North West Development Agency. In addition, Business Link Cumbria can seek contributions towards service delivery from private sources.

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