Robert Neill: To ask the hon. Member for South-West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission with reference to the Electoral Commission's press release of 7 May 2009, on the Crown Prosecution Service decision on Labour Party donations, whether the Electoral Commission made an assessment of the merits of initiating its own investigation into the donations after the Crown Prosecution Service decision. 
Mr. Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that following the Crown Prosecution Service decision in May 2009, the Commission considered what, if any, further action might be appropriate. The Commission concluded that in view of the investigation conducted by the police and the CPS decision, further investigation into the same matters would not be in the public interest.
Robert Neill: To ask the hon. Member for South-West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 26 October 2009, Official Report, column 6W, on political parties: finance, from which (a) legal firms, (b) Queen's counsel and (c) other sources the Electoral Commission sought advice in connection with its investigation into Mr. Michael Brown and Fifth Avenue Partners; how much was paid for such advice in each case; and what the total cost was to the Electoral Commission of the investigation. 
Mr. Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that, in addition to legal advice from its in-house legal counsel, it also obtained legal advice from Queen's counsel, Michael Beloff QC; and from junior barristers, Jane Collier, Tom Hickman and Michael Nield. Payments to Queen's counsel amounted to £33,625 and payments to junior counsel amounted to £26,650.
The Electoral Commission further informs me that it does not record the precise direct and indirect costs associated with any particular case but, now that the investigation is closed, can estimate that the staff and incidental costs incurred, including the above legal costs, amounted to approximately £170,000.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham (Mr. Hands) of 2 March 2010, Official Report, column 1006W, on Members: expenses, how much the (a) budget and (b) approved purchase order is for the use of Detica to undertake investigations in 2009-10; and what it was in 2008-09. 
Nick Harvey: An invoice for £15,640, inclusive of VAT, has now been received in line with the original budgetary provision. This was for a piece of work in support of the internal inquiry into the unauthorised disclosure of information about Members' allowances. No payment for such work was made in 2008-09.
Mr. Chope: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the oral answer of 11 March 2010, Official Report, column 428, on the day nursery, what items of expenditure referred to as having being spent on Bellamy's Bar will be reused in the new scheme; and what estimate has been made of the monetary value of those items. 
Nick Harvey: Of the £480,000 spent on the refurbishment of Bellamy's Bar, Bellamy's Club Room, and the Astor Suite (including fees and furnishings) it is estimated that approximately £168,000 of the work would be of continuing benefit in the new child care facility. Items include carpets, carpentry and joinery, plasterwork, decorations, mechanical and electrical engineering. In addition, efforts will be made to reuse the furniture elsewhere on the parliamentary estate, which was provided at a cost of £66,000.
Mr. Chope: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the oral answer to the hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Peter Luff) of 11 March 2010, Official Report, column 423, on the day nursery, when consultation with experts and providers began; when he expects that consultation to finish; and what consultation is being undertaken with those who will be relocated from 1 Parliament street. 
Nick Harvey: Consultation with child care experts has been continuous since November 2009, and is expected to continue throughout the duration of the project. Consultation with providers took place to help inform the options paper presented to the Commission in December, but is now in abeyance until completion of the procurement process. Management are consulting with Trade Unions and regularly briefing those staff who are to be relocated from 1 Parliament street.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what methodology his Department used to determine whether answers to questions in the formulation "if he will set out with statistical information related as directly as possible to the tabling hon. Member's constituency the effects on that constituency of his Department's policies since 1997" could be provided without incurring disproportionate cost; and if he will make a statement. 
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel of each sex were injured in Afghanistan (a) between the deployment of special forces in 2001 and the deployment of the armed forces and (b) since the deployment of the armed forces in that country. 
This figure does not include personnel treated by coalition medical facilities before the establishment of
the Afghan Field Hospital in March 2006. It is not possible to distinguish on the basis of gender between personnel injured between April and October 2006.
Mr. Quentin Davies: The Ministry of Defence has always taken the issue of animal health and welfare seriously and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) complies fully with all of the UK legislative requirements.
All Dstl staff who wish to work with animals are required to attend internal Dstl courses prior to their application for a personal licence. Following the successful completion of the required internal and legislative training, staff continue to undertake on the job training; individual training records are maintained to ensure required competence for procedures.
In order to maintain high welfare standards and share best practice Dstl staff are encouraged to visit other facilities and attend appropriate conferences e.g. meetings of the Institute of Animal Technologists, the Laboratory Animal Science Association and the Laboratory Animal Veterinary Association.
Mr. Quentin Davies: The core Equipment Programme, funded from the Defence budget, delivers the capabilities our armed forces need now and in the future against a range of contingencies and threats. Priorities are reviewed regularly as part of the Ministry of Defence's annual planning round. In addition, Urgent Operational Requirements respond to urgent requirements specific to particular operational theatres and are funded by the Treasury Reserve.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officers at each rank at or above the rank of colonel there were in the British Army, including the Territorial Army and Reserve, in (a) 1990, (b) 1997, (c) 2005 and (d) the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
|As at April each year||General||Lieutenant General||Major General||Brigadier||Colonel||Total|
|(1) Includes one Field Marshal|
1. "-" denotes zero.
2. April 2009 figures for Regular Officers are provisional because of Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) system data validation issues.
In addition, in April 2005 there were three full-time Reserve service colonels, and in April 2009 there were four full-time Reserve service colonels and one brigadier. The 2009 figure is also provisional.
The changes of Army officers numbers is in line with the Army's operational commitments over this period, therefore since 1997 there has been a significant increase in the number of senior officers being deployed on operations. Modern conflict has seen UK Armed Forces deploying an increased number of senior officers in support of NATO and other coalitions far more than in the recent past; moreover, there has also been the requirement for senior officer support for host nations in a variety of advisory roles. Appropriate military representation is required at many levels to command operations, provide staff support in coalition headquarters, and effect coordination. Our operational commitments have demanded increased number of officers at the rank of colonel and above to deploy, and hence numbers have increased in these higher ranks.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has sought legal advice on the status of the Minute of Separation under Scottish Law as the equivalent of the Decree for Judicial Separation in applying the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: Yes. Departmental legal advisers referred questions regarding the status of a Minute of Separation under Scottish Law to a Scottish firm of solicitors in April 2006. The advice given by the Scottish firm of solicitors was subsequently applied by the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975 ("the AFPS 1975") scheme administrators in deciding an individual's entitlement to restoration of widow's pension under the AFPS 1975 rules.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what differences there are between the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975 and the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2005 in respect of pension payments following the subsequent remarriage or co-habitation of widows. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: Where a widow has been granted a non attributable pension under the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975 ("AFPS 1975"), i.e.: in circumstances where the death of her husband was not attributable to service, and that widow subsequently marries or co-habits with another person, then the pension is no longer payable.
In cases where a widow has been granted an attributable pension under AFPS 75 where her husband's death on or after 31 October 2000 was attributable to service, and that widow subsequently marries or co-habits with another person, her pension will remain in payment.
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