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Age of service

THE MINIMUM age for active combat duty for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines will be raised from 16 to 17 to bring them into line with the Army and RAF, Doug Henderson, a Defence minister, announced. Recruitment and training at 16 will continue.

pounds 700m fraud

MORE THAN pounds 700m in housing benefit was claimed fraudulently in 1997/98, the Secretary of State for Social Security, Alistair Darling, revealed yesterday.