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Scottish Service Personnel

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Scots and (b) non-Scots are serving in the UK armed forces. [152405]

Mr. Spellar: Examination of available personal records of currently serving personnel 1 has revealed the following information:


(2) At 1 February 2001

(3) At 5 March 2001

(4) The non-Scots army figure includes 2,636 personnel with a recorded nationality at birth as 'British' with no further breakdown available.


Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what alternatives to anti-personnel mines are being researched by DERA; and at what cost. [152599]

Dr. Moonie: In response to the Ministry of Defence requirement, DERA has been asked to pursue research into replacing the capability previously provided by anti-personnel mines. Any such capability will comply fully with the Ottawa Treaty. The research programme is to look at various sensor systems, such as acoustic, infrared and seismic, which when combined together can detect intrusion into a defined area. The cost of the proposed work is approximately £0.25 million to £0.5 million.

Operational Tour Intervals

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average interval between tours and the average length of operational tour was for (a) Army field ambulance units and (b) Army field hospital units in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [151802]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 7 March 2001]: The tour length for Field Hospitals, or main elements of Field Hospitals, was extended from six months to one year in 2000. The average tour interval for Field Hospitals

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between 1995 and 1999 was nine months. The usual tour length for all Field Ambulance units is six months, although in the last five years some units have deployed on short notice deployments for less than this. The average tour interval for Field Ambulance units between 1995 and 2000 was 26 months. It is not possible to break these averages down by year as requested, as many deployments span more than one calendar year and the reorganisation of nine Field Ambulance units into five Medical Regiments between 1999 and 2000 further complicates the issue.

Tour lengths and intervals for individuals do not necessarily match those for units. For example, individuals in Field Hospital units would not normally deploy for more than six months, and some only for much shorter periods, even though the unit tour length is now one year.

Depleted Uranium

Mrs. Mahon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's policy is on the call by the European Parliament for a suspension of the use of depleted uranium munitions. [147411]

Mr. Spellar: Based on the results of many years of scientific study already available to us, we see no basis for any moratorium on the use of depleted uranium (DU) based ammunition. This ammunition provides a battle- winning edge. We have no intention of denying this capability to our troops, thereby placing them at unnecessary risk. DU based ammunition will therefore remain part of our arsenal for the foreseeable future.

NATO has recognised the concerns raised from the use of DU munitions and has acted swiftly in its responsibility to ensure Alliance members, Partners and other troop contributors are fully informed of DU risks. As announced by the Secretary General on 10 January, measures have been put in place to pool and share scientific analysis and information to best inform decision making, and in response the UK has contributed information for consideration and will continue to do so.

Viral Warfare

Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research he undertakes on (a) defence against viral warfare and (b) the foot and mouth virus. [152057]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 6 March 2001]: The remit of the Chemical and Biological Defence Sector of DERA at Porton Down is to provide safe and effective protection for the UK and its armed forces should chemical and biological weapons be used against them. In order to achieve this, research involving a range of pathogenic viruses is undertaken.

This research is aimed at understanding the hazard posed by these agents, developing rapid methods for their detection and diagnosis of the diseases they cause, identifying suitable physical protection equipment, and developing medical countermeasures against them. These later measures include the development of safe and effective vaccines and therapies for use of the UK and its armed forces.

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There is currently no research being undertaken involving the virus which is the causative agent of foot and mouth disease.

Ministry of Defence Police

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will review the decision to withdraw the Ministry of Defence Police from policed sites. [152745]

Dr. Moonie: The decision to withdraw Ministry of Defence Police was taken after full consultation with the Home Office and Licensing Authorities, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the relevant Home Department Chief Constables, and after careful consideration of the security threat to the sites I can see no grounds for reviewing it.


Money Lenders

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the penalties which are applied to unlicensed money lenders. [152407]

Dr. Howells: The Consumer Credit Act 1974 set up a licensing regime for individuals, companies and firms carrying on regulated consumer credit or consumer hire business. Therefore, generally, a money lender is required to obtain a licence in order to carry on its business. Licences are issued by the Director General of Fair Trading and it is a criminal offence to engage in regulated consumer credit (or consumer hire) business without one.

Section 167 of, and Schedule 1 to, the Act set out the penalties for this offence, which are:

Arms Exports (Iran/Iraq)

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the companies which supplied artillery equipment to both Iran and Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. [151854]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 6 March 2001]: Licences to export arms and other goods whose export is controlled for strategic reasons have been issued by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and his predecessors acting through the export licensing authority (currently the Export Control Organisation) within the Department of Trade and Industry since before the Iran-Iraq conflict started in 1980.

In his report entitled "Inquiry into the Export of Defence Equipment and Dual-Use Goods to Iraq" Sir Richard Scott included details of export licence applications to Iraq in the period 1984-90. The report also breaks down into categories the goods licensed to Iraq in that period, one of which is "1A: Arms and military equipment", which would include artillery equipment. It is not possible to establish precisely which of these entries

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covered artillery equipment without searching the relevant paper files which would entail disproportionate cost. Also as the report notes, records of licence applications did not go back beyond 1985. We do not therefore have records from the start of the Iran-Iraq war.

It would also entail disproportionate cost to search through the paper records to establish which licences issued to Iran between 1985 and the end of the war in 1988 covered the export of artillery equipment.

Moreover, information about whom particular export licences were granted to is commercial in confidence, and the companies concerned would therefore need to be approached to establish whether they objected to the disclosure of such information.

While the Department of Trade and Industry maintains records of licence applications, it does not compile records of licensed exports. Some licences are only used in part, while others may not be used at all. The extent to which the exports permitted by a licence are made is dependent on various factors; for example the customer's requirements may be less than originally expected or the expected contract may simply not materialise.

National Missile Defence

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations have been received from BAE Systems and other British companies regarding participation in US National Missile Defence. [152669]

Mr. Alan Johnson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has not received any representations from UK industry regarding the US National Missile Defence.

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