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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the NAO's report into the organisation of the Warship Support Modernisation project to be published; if he will list the representations made to his Department on this matter; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The NAO were commissioned by the Warship Support Agency Management Board to undertake an assurance audit of the Warship Support Modernisation evaluation and value for money analysis processes. While NAO reports are normally conducted for Parliament after public money has been spent, officials have asked them in this case to act in advance of any expenditure and to advise them principally on the soundness of the assessment processes. This work is being undertaken for the Warship Support Agency and is not a formal NAO investigation which would be published and presented to Parliament. The assurance audit is continuing and it is expected to be completed before the end of this month. No decision has yet been taken on the publication of this report.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision is made for United Kingdom service personnel on active service abroad to contact their next of kin; and what assessment he has made of similar provision for United States service personnel. [25352R]
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has been informed by his United States counterpart of the locations in which cluster bombs have been used by US armed forces in Afghanistan since the beginning of December. 
Mr. Ingram: The US and UK have been in close political, diplomatic and military contact throughout the operations in Afghanistan. A wide variety of issues have been discussed, including the locations where cluster bombs have been dropped.
Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much progress was made at the Review Conference for the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons to reduce the hazard to civilians from (a) cluster bombs in particular and (b) unexploded ordnance in general. 
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Mr. Ingram: The Review Conference of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons agreed a mandate for a group of governmental experts to discuss ways and means to address the issue of explosive remnants of war and to submit recommendations at an early date to the State Parties to the Convention. The mandate covers consideration of all unexploded munitions, with a specific reference to sub-munitions, which include cluster bombs.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance has been issued by Her Majesty's Government on the handling of prisoners in Afghanistan; and on which dates such guidance was issued. 
Mr. Hoon: Appropriate guidance has been given to the UK forces operating in Afghanistan to ensure compliance with the UK's international legal obligations. I am withholding details of the dates guidance was issued in accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 336W, on special educational needs, what percentage of children in schools operated by the Service Children's Education Agency have special educational needs. 
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 336W, how many children of service personnel there are whose parents have voluntarily registered their children's special needs stages 1 to 5 on the Service Children's Education Agency's database. 
Dr. Moonie: There are currently 3,257 children registered on the Service Children's Education (SCE) Special Educational Needs (SEN) database. The database includes details of service children with SEN whose parents are in receipt of Special Educational Needs Allowance, children who attend SCE schools worldwide and children who attend state schools in the UK. The database records only children who are at the Code of Practice Stage 3 or above. There is no requirement for parents to register children who are at Code of Practice Stage 1 or 2.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 336W, on special educational needs, how many children of service personnel there are whose parents have voluntarily registered their children's statement or record of needs on the Service Children's Education Agency's database. 
Dr. Moonie: There are 1,222 children with a statement or record of needs registered on the Service Children's Education (SCE) Special Educational Needs (SEN) database. The database includes details of Service Children with SEN whose parents are in receipt of Special
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Educational Needs Allowance, children who attend SCE schools worldwide and children who attend state schools in the UK.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 336W, on special educational needs, if the Service Children's Education Agency holds information on the SEN needs of the children of service personnel. 
Dr. Moonie: Information is held on the Special Educational Needs of children currently receiving special needs support within Service Children's Education (SCE) schools and for those children in other schools whose parents have registered their child's needs on the SCE Special Educational Needs database.
Mr. Ingram: The Nimrod MR2 Maritime Patrol Aircraft is due to retire completely from RAF service in January 2009 and will be replaced by the Nimrod MRA4. The Nimrod MRA4 will represent a significant increase in capability for the RAF.
Dr. Moonie: The number of places on the Territorial Army commissioning course held at RMA Sandhurst that have been unfilled, and the number of TA commissions granted, in each of the last four years, are shown in the table.
|Course||Capacity||Attendance||Places unfilled||TA commissions granted|
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Dr. Moonie: Two formed Territorial Army units have trained in Canada during the last four years. The Royal Yeomanry participated in Exercise Pond Jump West from 22 to 26 July 2000 and the King's Cheshire Regiment deployed on Exercise Fingals Cave from 1 to 15 September 2001.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans the Government have to facilitate the teaching of English to members of the Russian armed forces; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: Within the 2002 Outreach defence diplomacy programme with Russia, the Ministry of Defence plans to continue the teaching of English to Russian officers at the Defence School of Languages and at the University of Ripon and York. As a further part of the Outreach programme, English language training is one possible course within our Russian Resettlement Project for retiring and recently retired Russian officers.
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence has been approached in the past to grant funds to Dundee university for such studies into the possible radiation exposure of nuclear test veterans. We have declined to do so because there are reservations about the capabilities of the proposed techniques for estimating historic radiation doses. Other studies using these techniques have found them to be inconclusive when there is a considerable time lapse since exposure, and where the exposure is low. These constraints were found to be particularly so in an age group typical of British nuclear test veterans.
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