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Commonwealth Task Force

Volume 459: debated on Thursday 3 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the Commonwealth task force. (134503)

[holding answer 30 April 2007]: The Army’s Foreign and Commonwealth task force was set up in 2004 and works to identify concerns and to implement practical and achievable measures to ameliorate them. Since its inception, the task force has seen adjustments to Tri-Service or Army policy and guidance, including changes in other Government Department regulations.

Notable developments have included:

Reviewing services allowances and ensuring priority allowances take account of country of origin implications;

Promulgating guidance on in-service UK naturalisation opportunities; and

Providing a Commonwealth soldiers and families information website.

The task force met most recently on 26 April 2007. There are a number of ongoing issues; dialogue continues with other Government Departments where appropriate, while work within MOD control includes providing improved guidance for non-British soldiers during initial training and improving the flow of communications through the chain of command to both soldiers and their accompanying families.