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24 Oct 2002 : Column 437W—continued

Indian National Liberation Army

Syd Rapson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether membership of the Indian National Liberation Army disqualifies former Far East prisoners of war from eligibility under the Ex Gratia Payment Scheme announced on 7 November 2000. [77534]

Dr. Moonie: During the Second World War, the Japanese recruited a considerable number of servicemen from Far Eastern countries who they had taken Prisoner of War, to serve alongside them in the Indian National Liberation Army.

The Ex Gratia Payment Scheme was established to recognise the circumstances of the captivity of those taken prisoner by the Japanese. Anyone who would otherwise be eligible under the Ex Gratia Payment Scheme but who joined the Indian National Liberation Army had removed themselves from that captivity which the Ex Gratia Payment Scheme recognises. Their inclusion in the scheme would not be compatible with its purpose and therefore those Prisoners of War who joined the Indian National Liberation Army are not entitled to any payment under the Scheme.

Deepcut Army Barracks

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the fatalities at the Deepcut Army Barracks. [76908]

Dr. Moonie: The deaths of Privates Sean Benton, Cheryl James, Geoff Gray and James Collinson at Deepcut remain subject to ongoing investigations by the Surrey Police, who are keeping the families informed of developments. The Ministry of Defence has given full co-operation to the police in the course of their enquiries, which will not be complete until the New Year. The MOD is unable to discuss the specific circumstances surrounding the deaths whilst the police investigations continue.

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Gulf War

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what vaccination programmes were undertaken for UK armed forces in the build up to the Gulf War; and if he will make a statement. [76290]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence paper: ''Implementation of the Immunisation Programme Against Biological Warfare Agents for UK Forces During the Gulf Conflict 1990–1991'' dated 20 January 2000, provides the information requested. A copy of the paper is in the Library of the House. It is also on the Internet at: www/ and available from the Ministry of Defence's Gulf Veterans' Illnesses Unit (Freephone 0800 169 1645).

El Alamein

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which departmental Minister represented Her Majesty's Government at the 60 anniversary commemoration of the Battle of El Alamein in Egypt. [76669]

Dr. Moonie: I did. In addition to this, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Armed Forces and I also attended the Commemoration in London.

Drug Seizures

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list drug seizures made by Royal Navy vessels since 1997; where the seizures took place; what the value of each seizure was; and if he will make a statement. [76289]

Mr. Ingram: The Royal Navy vessel regularly deployed to the Caribbean conducts counter-narcotics patrols, working in conjunction with HM Customs and Excise, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and national authorities in the region. Whilst there were no interdictions in 1997 and 1998, there have been a number of successful operations in the Caribbean since then. These are as follows:

May 1999HMS Marlborough#1 billion+Cocaine
17 November 1999HMS Northumberland#135 millionCocaine
July 2001HMS Coventry#80 millionCocaine
21 July 2002HMS Newcastle#1.5 millionMarijuana
22 July 2002HMS Newcastle#42 millionCocaine
5 Sept 2002HMS Grafton#7.5 millionMarijuana
7 Oct 2002HMS Grafton#65 millionCocaine

Arms Exports

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what systems are in place for monitoring (a) use and (b) onward sales of arms components sold abroad by UK companies. [76532]

Mr. MacShane: I have been asked to reply.

The Government focuses its efforts on assessment of potential end-use at the export licensing stage, including where needed through checks made by our Posts overseas. Carrying out effective risk assessment on end-users before making the export licensing decision is the surest way of preventing arms from falling into the wrong hands.

As set out in the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on 8 July, Official Report, columns 650–52W; where components are for incorporation and reexport to a third party, we will also have regard to the export control policies and effectiveness of the export control system of the incorporating country.

24 Oct 2002 : Column 439W

Proactive monitoring of defence exports is only carried out in those cases of greatest concern. Our overseas posts have standing instructions to report on allegations of misuse of any UK-origin defence equipment. We take these reports into account in our assessment.


EU Enlargement

Tim Loughton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the leaders of (a) Slovakia, (b) the Czech Republic and (c) Poland concerning their applications for EU membership. [75698]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 24 October 2002]: The Chancellor of the Exchequer has met leaders from these countries on a number of occasions. For example he attended the Barcelona European Council earlier this year, to which Heads of Government from all the candidate countries were invited.


Mr. Spring: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on e-procurement in Government purchasing. [75728]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 23 October 2002]: The Office of Government Commerce has successfully completed all its pilot e-Procurement projects. As a result valuable information has been gained about the practicalities and potential that e-Procurement offers. The Office of Government Commerce is currently developing its strategy to further deploy e-Procurement across government departments and agencies.

Departmental Schemes

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the schemes and initiatives sponsored by his Department and its agencies which are not the subject of national roll out, showing (a) the authorities or areas covered by the scheme and (b) the budget of the scheme in the last year for which information is available. [75675]

Dawn Primarolo: This information is not held centrally.

Tax Returns

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria are used to separate errors in tax returns from deliberate late payments; and what interest rates are applied to these different categories. [75147]

Dawn Primarolo: No distinction is made between the categories for the purposes of interest rates.

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what interest rate is paid on sums collected in taxes in error and in advance. [75148]

Dawn Primarolo: If the Inland Revenue issues a request for tax which is found later not to be due, the money is repaid with interest. The rate of interest

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depends upon the type of tax. For income tax and capital gains tax the rate is 2.5 per cent. For corporation tax and inheritance tax it is 3 per cent.

Money paid in error or in advance of tax becoming due generally does not attract interest.

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon what criteria the interest rates for the late payment of taxes are determined. [75149]

Dawn Primarolo: The criteria are contained in regulations which were laid before the House on 28 July 1989 (SI 1989 No. 1297). These regulations set down formulae for the calculation of interest rates. The basis of the formulae is the average of the base lending rates of 6 major banks.

International Debt

Ross Cranston: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the operation of vulture funds; and if he will make a statement. [76278]

John Healey: Following requests from UK and other G7 partners, the IMF and the World Bank have comprehensively addressed the issue of creditor litigation in their report on the status of implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. The report looks at vulture funds and other debt brokers purchasing debt in the secondary market and seeking recovery through litigation.

10 HIPCs responded that they were facing litigation on credits held by commercial creditors and the governments of Iraq and Burundi.

Some countries are burdened with several cases—for example Uganda is facing 6 cases of litigation and Sierra Leone five cases. A copy of the full Report is available on the IMF website at:—Full—Revised—Status—of—Implementation.pdf

At the Annual meeting the UK continued to press for the establishment of technical assistance to help countries being sued by creditors.

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