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Military Hospitals

95. Mr. Evennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what liaison arrangements exist in respect of military hospitals.

Mr. Freeman : Liaison is maintained at varying levels. First, between the local GPs and civilian and military hospitals, and between the military hospitals and area health authorities. Higher level liaison takes place between the Defence medical services and the regional health authorities and the Department of Health.

Defence Budget

96. Miss Emma Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on any changes he proposes in the defence budget.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : As last year, substantial increases to previous plans for defence expenditure were announced in the autumn statement. These increases mean that the defence budget will now be growing by about a billion pounds a year for the next three years.

Reserve and Volunteer Forces

98. Mr. Conway : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of whether the efficiency and effectiveness of the regular reserve and volunteer forces have improved since 1979.

Mr. Freeman : I can assure the hon. Member that both the regular reserve and volunteer forces are today at a considerably higher standard of efficiency and effectiveness than they were in 1979. Numbers of personnel, their equipment, training and administration have all shown a significant improvement.


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Seaborne Nuclear Defence

99. Mr. Sumberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to review Britain's seaborne nuclear defence capability in light of the intermediate nuclear forces treaty.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : None. The modernisation of the United Kingdom's strategic nuclear deterrent with Trident is proceeding on schedule. We are also continuing to study options for the updating of our sub-strategic deterrent forces in light of the fact that the weapons which currently provide this capability are likely to reach the end of their service life towards the end of the century.

Conventional Forces

101. Mr. Leigh : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the balance of conventional forces in Europe.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : As announced by my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary on 25 November, at column 38, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has recently published an assessment of the strengths of the conventional armed forces in Europe belonging to the countries of NATO and the Warsaw pact. A copy of the assessment, entitled "Conventional Forces in Europe : the Facts", will be placed in the Library of the House. The data provided confirms the major superiorities enjoyed by the Warsaw pact in those weapon systems such as tanks and artillery which are relevant to an offensive capability ; the elimination of these asymmetries, through reductions, will be a major Alliance aim in the forthcoming arms control negotiations on conventional forces in the Atlantic to Urals area. We hope that the publication of the assessment will encourage the Warsaw pact to be equally open about information on conventional force levels.

BAe 146

102. Mr. Bellingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on purchases of the BAe 146.

Mr. Sainsbury : Two BAe 146s were purchased for the Queen's Flight in 1986.

Nuclear Weapons (Upgrading)

104. Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his policy of upgrading nuclear weapons includes increasing the number of warheads per missile.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I have nothing to add to paragraphs 1 and 2 of Defence open Government document 87/01 "Trident and the Alternatives", a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.

Surplus Land

106. Mr. Chapman : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will report progress on disposing of land surplus to his Department's requirements.

Mr. Freeman : The Ministry of Defence continues to keep its estate under review to identify and dispose of land which is surplus to Defence requirements. At present we are concentrating in particular on the disposal of high


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value land where this is conductive to efficiency and operational needs and we have a number of high value disposals underway in areas such as north-west London. Receipts from land and property sales in financial years 1987-88 totalled £77 million and the current estimate for receipts in 1988-89 is £148 million.

Nuclear Weapons (Production)

112. Ms. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to ensure that the production of material for nuclear weapons is being carried out safely ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sainsbury : Nuclear materials for defence purposes are procured commercially ; and it is the responsibility of the individual contractor to meet the high standards of safety required by the relevant legislation and monitored by the appropriate regulatory bodies.

British Army of the Rhine

115. Mrs. Roe : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent measures have been taken to strengthen the air mobility capability of the British Army of the Rhine.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : Following the successful conclusion of airmobility trials involving 6 Brigade in Germany, 24 Brigade converted to the airmobile role in April of this year. In addition to the Royal Air Force Puma and Chinook helicopters, which continue to be provided in support of airmobility, a new Army Air Corps Regiment, consisting of anti- tank and utility Lynx and Gazelle helicopters, will be formed as part of 24 Brigade. This represents a significant improvement in the airmobility capability of 1(BR) Corps.

Defence Computer Systems

117. Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans to strengthen the security of sensitive defence computer systems.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling).

Devonport Dockyard

119. Mr. Robert Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has any plans to increase his Department's allocation of naval work to Her Majesty's dockyard, Devonport ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sainsbury : The programme of MOD work allocated to Devonport Royal dockyard is kept under regular review and changes to future load are advised periodically to the commercial managers. In addition DML may bid for work in the unallocated programme.

Short-range Nuclear Weapons

121. Mr. Anthony Coombs : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he anticipates next meeting the Defence Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany to discuss the deployment of short-range nuclear weapons within Europe.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Defence, next expects to meet his


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colleague, the Federal German Defence Minister, at the Eurogroup and Defence Planning Committee ministerial meetings which are due to take place in Brussels between 30 November and 2 December. The two Ministers are likely to discuss a wide range of defence and security matters of mutual interest.

Tanks and Helicopters

122. Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the likely level of investment in (a) tanks and (b) Army helicopters over the next five years.

Mr. Sainsbury : It is not the practice of this or previous Administrations to provide details of future levels of investment in equipment. However, both the helicopter and the tank have an essential role on the modern and future battlefield, and expenditure on both will be substantial.

Gurkha Regiment

126. Mr. Patrick Thompson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received about the future of the Gurkha regiment.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : No formal representations have been received, although a number of letters have been received from members of the public.

Plessey (Takeover)

129. Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the implications for procurement in defence electronics of the proposed GEC takeover of Plessey.

Mr. Sainsbury : We are considering the defence implications of the GEC/Siemens bid for Plessey.

German Minister of Defence

130. Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he last met his counterpart in the Federal Republic of Germany ; and what issues were discussed.

Mr. Sainsbury : My right hon. Friend last met Dr. Scholz at the meeting of the WEU Defence and Foreign Ministers on 14 November, but their most recent bilateral meeting was on 4 October when a range of subjects of mutual interest were discussed.

East-West Talks

Mr. Leigh : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of East-West talks in respect of conventional forces in Europe.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : Talks are continuing in Vienna on mandates for two sets of conventional arms control negotiations : one on conventional stability in Europe, the other on confidence and security-building measures, building from those agreed in the Stockholm document of 1986. It is hoped that both negotiations can begin in the near future. In the meantime, the existing mutual and balanced force reduction talks, concerning forces in Central Europe, are also continuing in Vienna.

Territorial Army (Recruiting)

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what he is doing to improve recruiting within the Territorial Army.


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Mr. Freeman : We are conscious that the demographic trends show that the population in the age group from which we draw most recruits to the TA is decreasing. We have, therefore, in addition to our advertising, introduced a number of measures such as relaxation of age limits, reduction of commitment in particular problem specialisations and both pay and bounties have been increased. We are also hopeful that our current advertising campaign aimed at employers, although not aimed at recruiting, will have some useful benefits in this direction.

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many new recruits have been enlisted in each of the services in each of the last five years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman : The information is shown below :


Service |83-84  |84-85  |85-86  |86-87  |87-88          

--------------------------------------------------------

RN/RM   |5,232  |5,536  |5,369  |6,569  |6,172          

Army    |22,348 |22,278 |20,268 |19,918 |21,041         

RAF     |9,411  |6,907  |7,014  |7,562  |6,613          

Mine-hunting Trials

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans to resume hovercraft mine-hunting trials.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I have nothing to add to the answer I gave the hon. Gentleman on 10 November at column 302.

HMS Endurance

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to be in a position to place an order for the replacement of HMS Endurance.

Mr. Sainsbury : There is no need to take a decision yet on the replacement of HMS Endurance. She underwent an extensive refit in 1986 which will give her an economic life extending into the mid-90s. Our plans beyond then will be kept under review in the light of developments in the Antarctic.

Westland Helicopters

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his discussions with Westland plc on the procurement of helicopters.

Mr. Sainsbury : As is the normal practice with all defence contractors, the Department maintains close contact with Westland on the MOD projects on which the company is working.

British-French Co-ordination

Mr. Adley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement of his policy on British-French defence co-ordination.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : We already enjoy an extensive defence relationship with France and, as reported in paragraph 117 of the 1988 "Statement on the Defence Estimates" (Cm. 344-I), we are discussing a number of ideas for even closer bilateral co-operation.


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Maritime Defence

Mr. Ian Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the contribution of the Royal Navy to the maritime defence of the Atlantic Alliance.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I refer my hon. Friend to paragraph 302 of volume 1 of the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1988" (Cm. 344-I).

Nuclear Submarines

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the anticipated cost of the decommissioning of British nuclear submarines.

Mr. Sainsbury : No decision has yet been taken on the method of disposing of decommissioned nuclear submarines ; therefore no costs have yet been assessed.

Defence Contracts (North-west)

Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the progress of defence contracts currently being undertaken in the north-west.

Mr. Sainsbury : There are a large number of defence contractors based in the north-west, and a still greater number of projects being undertaken there. It is, therefore, not possible to provide the information requested without disproportionate effort. However, some 10 per cent. of defence expenditure is made in the region.

Teachers

Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what percentage of teachers employed on British bases in Germany are locally entered teachers ; and what have been the comparable figures each year since 1982 ;

(2) what percentage of teachers employed on British bases in Germany are locally entered teachers.

Mr. Sainsbury : Approximately 25 per cent. of teachers working in the service children's schools in Germany at present are locally entered teachers. In previous years, the annual percentages were as follows :


          |Per cent.          

------------------------------

1982      |24                 

1983      |25                 

1984      |22                 

1985      |21                 

1986      |22                 

1987      |25                 

Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many locally entered teachers were scale 1 teachers, scale 2 teachers, scale 3 teachers and scale 4 teachers in 1982 ; and what have been the figures each year to the latest available date ;


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(2) if he will publish in the Official Report a table setting out the pay of locally entered teachers and United Kingdom-based main scale for each year from 1982 to the latest available date.

Mr. Sainsbury : The information requested on all locally entered teachers around the world is not held centrally and can only be obtained at disproportionate costs.

Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if locally entered teachers are entitled to paid leave for participation in trade union activities ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sainsbury : There are no formal union recognition arrangements covering locally entered teachers. The question of granting accredited representatives paid leave for participation in trade union activities does not, therefore, arise.

Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to review the pay and conditions of locally entered teachers employed in Germany ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sainsbury : The pay of all locally entered staff in Germany is currently under review. Conditions of employment are regularly reviewed.

Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received concerning the pay and conditions of locally entered teachers employed in Germany ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sainsbury : There has been a small number of representations to local management about the level of locally entered teacher pay awards in Germany.

Sherwood Forest

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what acreage of Sherwood forest has been used by his Department for each of the years since 1979 ; whether he has any plans to reduce this acreage ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman [holding answer 28 November 1988] : The Ministry of Defence has used the following acreages of land in Sherwood forest for Army training purposes since 1979 :


          |Acres      

----------------------

1979-1981 |720        

1982-1987 |669        

1988      |602        

Included within the 602 acres is a 28-acre pine forest in Budby south forest which the Army has agreed no longer to use for training. We plan to lease a further 482 acres of land in the Sherwood forest area for training purposes ; we expect negotiations to be concluded shortly.


 

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