HC Deb 09 February 2004 vol 417 c1325W
Mr. Keetch

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision has been made for personnel to send gifts back to the United Kingdom; what weight limits and costs are involved; and if he will make a statement. [144471]

Mr. Ingram

[holding answer 17 December 2003]British Armed Forces personnel deployed overseas, with the exception of those in the Gulf, may send parcels home up to a maximum weight of 30 kilograms at a concessionary rate equivalent to United Kingdom second class post. Personnel in the Gulf can currently send parcels of up to two kilograms per item to the UK also at concessionary rates.

Glenda Jackson

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy was in March 2003 on whether use by Iraq of battlefield chemical and biological weapons would generate the very serious consequences to which he referred in debate on 26 March 2003,Official Report, column 302. [154325]

Mr. Hoon

The Government's policy is to reserve the right to respond appropriately to any use of such weapons. This was also the policy in March 2003.

Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost has been to public funds of the British contingent in the Iraq Survey Group; what the projected future costs are; and if he will make a statement. [154282]

Mr. Hoon

The Ministry of Defence identifies the costs of Operations in terms of the net additional costs it has incurred. The costs that the Department would have incurred regardless of the operation taking place, such as wages and salaries, are not included. Savings on activities that have not occurred because of the operation—training exercises for example—are taken into account in arriving at the net figures.

The net additional costs incurred by United Kingdom personnel attached to the Iraq Survey Group cannot be differentiated from the total net additional cost of UK personnel deployed to the Gulf region. For example, stock accounting records will identify the recipient of stock as entitled UK military personnel, not whether they are engaged in peacekeeping work or in the search for WMD. Therefore, it is not possible to identify costs related solely to the UK's Iraq Survey Group personnel.