HC Deb 04 March 2004 vol 418 cc1065-7W
Mr. Keetch

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints against UK troops in Iraq have been upheld; what action has been taken; and if he will make a statement. [142178]

Mr. Ingram

[holding answer 9 December 2003]: Complaints against UK troops in Iraq are dealt with by local commanders in accordance with established disciplinary procedures. The vast majority of complaints are of a minor nature and are, as a result generally not recorded centrally.

Mr. Barnes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning the death in British Army custody in September 2003 of Baha Mousa in Basra; what action has been taken or is pending against the soldiers involved; whether compensation has been(a) offered to and (b) accepted by his family; and whether he will accept an independent inquiry into the circumstances of Mr. Mousa's death. [147706]

Mr. Ingram

The death of Baha Mousa is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Royal Military Police who, in exercising their constabulary powers, are fully independent of the Army chain of command. It would be inappropriate to comment until their investigation is complete.

The UK has not admitted liability for Baha Mousa's death but a payment has been accepted by Mr. Mousa's family.

Mr. Swayne

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent to repair and reconstruct civilian infrastructure by UK forces within the first 100 days of the end of high intensity fighting in Iraq. [150220]

Mr. Ingram

In collecting the costs incurred by UK forces, we do not separately identify those incurred on repair and reconstruction of civilian infrastructure. However, it is estimated that, in 2003–04, some £9.9 million will be spent on quick impact projects, which enhance the security of UK forces. Such projects include the refurbishment of schools and health clinics, renovation of police stations, supplying oxygen to hospitals, and the repairing and re-supplying of water and sewerage works. This is separate from the cost of reconstruction, on which the Department for International Development is leading.

Mr. Evans

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what budget his Department has allocated for entertaining troops in Iraq. [158223]

Mr. Ingram

There is no specific budget set aside for the entertainment of troops in operational locations. Instead, an assessment, based on the number of troops deployed on the operation, is made to determine how many events should be provided.

Just over £0.5 million has been approved to be spent on entertainers visiting troops in Iraq in 2003–04. No costs were incurred in 2002–03. In addition to this cost, entertainers may be provided with some limited non-cash assistance, such as transport, accommodation or food, should this be possible given operational pressures. The Services Sound and Vision Corporation incur an additional cost, extending their normal peacetime service to the United Kingdom forces stationed overseas, to those deployed operationally in Iraq. For 2003–04, the additional cost for that activity is estimated at around £4 million.

It might be helpful to put these figures in the context of the overall net additional cost of military operations in Iraq which, for 2003–04. is forecast at around £1,500 million.

Sir John Stanley

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the Permanent Secretary in his Department was first informed as to which Iraqi weapons the 45 minute claim in the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction dossier applied. [158773]

Mr. Hoon

The Permanent Secretary first became aware of the intelligence which indicated that chemical and biological munitions could be with Iraqi military units and ready for firing within 45 minutes in early September 2002. He became aware that the intelligence referred to battlefield weapons soon after the publication of the Government's dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

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