TROOPS have not been affected by the lifting of the ban on gays serving in the armed forces.

A report by the Ministry of Defence has revealed no effect on the morale or effectiveness of troops, including those at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, since the ban was lifted just over a year ago.

A survey, six months after the Government acted on a European Court of Human Rights decision that the ban was illegal, found that the decision to remove it had been "a solid achievement".

Since the ban was lifted in February, there had been no reported difficulties of note concerning homophobic behaviour, the report's authors found.

The report suggests that the change of policy had been helped to succeed by "a mature and pragmatic approach".

It was published on the Internet by a military policy researcher at the University of California, who is examining the effects of the inclusion of homosexuals in the armed forces.

It concludes that, in contrast to predictions, the policy has had no discernible impact on recruitment.

Legal bills and compensation payouts to gays discharged from the armed forces have so far cost the taxpayer more than half-a-million pounds.