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5 October--Morpeth, Northumberland

12 October--Halesworth, Suffolk

18 October --Malton, North Yorkshire

RAF Presentation Team plus official from MOD Low Flying Presentation Team.

On numerous occasions in the past the Directors of Public Relations (RAF) have additionally lectured to public audiences in various parts of the country but no records are held detailing those occasions.

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when flow control was first introduced in the United Kingdom low flying system.

Mr. Neubert : Unidirectional traffic flows have been in use since before introduction of the current low flying system in 1979.

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the maximum number of aircraft permitted to operate at any one time within low flying area 17 (a) during daylight hours and (b) at night ; and whether any alteration to these figures has been instituted in the last 10 years.

Mr. Neubert : It is not our practice to release such detailed information relating to the United Kingdom low flying system.

Air Force Act 1955

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the occasions since 1971 on which proceedings have been instituted against Royal Air Force personnel under sections (a) 49(b) 51 and (c) 52 of the Air Force Act 1955 ; and what were the outcome of the proceedings in each case.

Mr. Neubert : The table provides the details of Royal Air Force personnel who have been convicted by court martial under the sections mentioned.

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Section                            |Year                              |Number of cases                   |Rank                              |Sentence                                                             


Section 49                         |1972                              |1                                 |Flight Lieutenant                 |Dismissed the Service                                                

Section 49                         |1974                              |1                                 |Aircraftman                       |Dismissed the Service                                                

Section 49                         |1983                              |2                                 |Flight Lieutenant (tried together)|Both awarded Severe Reprimands                                       

Section 51 and 52                  |1985                              |1 (charged under both sections)   |Flight Lieutenant                 |£300 fine and Severe Reprimand                                       

Records are not kept centrally of any cases where disciplinary action is commenced but not proceeded with.

Air Misses

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what was the total number of air misses involving military aircraft in United Kingdom airspace in each year since 1979 ; and how many of these were assessed as having (a) definite risk of collision, (b) possible risk of collision and (c) no risk of collision ;

(2) if the Civil Aviation Authority's new policy of publishing details of air misses in United Kingdom airspace applies to those involving military aircraft ; and what consultations took place between his Department and the Civil Aviation Authority before the decision on the new information policy.

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Mr. Neubert : In his statement on 3 March, columns 654-56 of the Official Report my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport set out the special reasons for making public the findings of the joint airmiss working group in relation to airmiss reports involving commercial air transport aircraft in United Kingdom airspace. This policy was introduced after discussions with the Ministry of Defence and applies to all such instances, including those where military aircraft are involved. In order to preserve the confidentiality of the airmiss investigation system, however, I will not publish any detailed information relating to other airmiss reports involving military aircraft. The relevant statistics on airmiss reports involving military aircraft in United Kingdom airspace are as follows :

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                             |1979   |1980   |1981   |1982   |1983   |1984   |1985   |1986   |1987   |1988           


Category<1> A                |4      |8      |10     |15     |7      |12     |11     |15     |16     |n.a.           

Category<1> B                |49     |41     |49     |38     |36     |37     |33     |36     |36     |n.a.           


Total risk bearing (A and B) |53     |49     |59     |53     |43     |49     |44     |51     |52     |n.a.           

Category<1> C                |75     |89     |84     |61     |61     |57     |46     |69     |58     |n.a.           

Risk not assessable          |2      |2      |2      |4      |1      |1      |2      |0      |1      |n.a.           


Total                        |130    |140    |145    |118    |105    |107    |92     |120    |111    |133            

<1>A. Definite risk.                                                                                                 

B. Possible risk.                                                                                                    

C. No risk.                                                                                                          

Note: A breakdown of the 1988 total is not yet available.                                                            

Aircraft Accidents

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what access his Department has to the reports of aircraft accident inquiries relating to foreign military aircraft accidents in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Neubert : Arrangements exist whereby appropriate information on foreign aircraft accidents in the United Kingdom can be made available to the Ministry of Defence, particularly where there are flight safety implications for our services.

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if details of the circumstances and causes of accidents to foreign military aircraft occurring in the United Kingdom are recorded on the aircraft accident data computer in the Royal Air Force inspectorate of flight safety.

Mr. Neubert : No.


Mr. Thorne : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to be able to adopt a common syllabus for all British forces education service schools so that when parents move on military posting children should be able to continue their education with the least disruption.

Mr. Neubert : Currently, at the secondary level, service children's education authority schools largely follow the syllabi of the Southern examining group. Moreover, all service children's schools will introduce the national curriculum in accordance with the provisions of the Education Report Act 1988, and the timetable specified by the Secretary of State for Education and Science.


Sir Ian Gilmour : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the nature of the trials carried out on the medium mobility DROPS vehicles delivered in October 1988 ; and if he will make a statement on the results in respect of their duration and mileage in road-running and in cross- country applications, and as to the conclusions drawn therefrom.

Mr. Sainsbury : Two vehicles were delivered to Germany in October 1988 to take part in user trials, which lasted for two months. In the course of the trials, they took part in a major Army exercise, Iron Hammer, and overall convered distances in excess of 7,500 km each. The majority of the running was under realistic exercise conditions with about 10 per cent. cross-country, 10 per cent. off-road and the remainder on German roads and highways. The vehicles performed very satisfactorily, as expected, and confirmed their ability to meet the operational requirement for DROPS.

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Sir Ian Gilmour : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the military implications of the reduction in the performance objectives for the medium mobility DROPS.

Mr. Sainsbury : No ; the Leyland-DAF medium mobility load carriers meet the operational requirement for DROPS.

Sir Ian Gilmour : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what payments have been made to Leyland-DAF, additional to contract sums, to enable improvements to be made to DROPS vehicles.

Mr. Sainsbury : Individual payments to contractors are commercial-in -confidence, but as forecast in my reply to my right hon. Friend on 22 January 1988 column 903 the modification costs were not substantial and were within the approved programme limits.

Sir Ian Gilmour : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assurances have been given to Leyland-DAF with respect to the ordering of long lead-time items for DROPS vehicles.

Mr. Sainsbury : None.

Director of Projects

Sir Ian Gilmour : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the posting of the director of projects.

Mr. Sainsbury : I presume that my right hon. Friend is referring to the director of projects formerly concerned with DROPS. His move was a routine career posting, the timing of which was related to the availability of a successor.


Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the agencies, companies and institutions in Britain which have benefited from the strategic defence initiative research programmes under arrangements directly under the supervision of the Ministry of Defence, directly contracted to the United States of America, or subcontracted to the United States of America via third parties.

Mr. Sainsbury : The British agencies, companies and institutions which have been awarded contracts by the Ministry of Defence, which were initiated through United States-funded SDI contractual arrangements made on a Government to Government basis, are as follows :

1. Aerobee Defence Technology

2. Admiral Computing

3. Barr and Stroud

4. British Aerospace

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6. CAP Scientific

7. Cranfield Institute of Technology

8. Culham Laboratory


10. Ferranti

11. Fluid Gravity

12. GEC-Marconi

13. Hunting Engineering

14. Logica


16. Optical Coatings Ltd

17. Plessey

18. PA Defence Services

19. Philips Components

20. Racal

21. Rolls-Royce

22. Royal Ordnance

23. Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

24. Scicon

25. Shorts

26. Software Sciences

27. Thorn EMI

28. Theta Analysis

The detail associated with SDI research contracts placed on United Kingdom entities by United States Government agencies or companies is a matter for the parties concerned.


Mr. Ashdown : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his practice to answer parliamentary questions asking for information on the details and value of individual contracts with outside firms.

Mr. Sainsbury : No. However, information regarding the overall level of MOD business with a particular contractor is made available.

Aldermaston and Burghfield (Programme Audit)

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his reply of 18 January, Official Report, column 199, what was the nature of the information that was discussed at the eight meetings between his officials and the British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. team carrying out the programme audit at Aldermaston and Burghfield.

Mr. Sainsbury : MOD management information on the scope and overall objectives of the capital construction programme and the status at that time of the four major projects under review.

Royal Ordnance (Site Sales)

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the outline planning applications submitted by Royal Ordnance in respect of its Waltham Abbey and Enfield, North sites had been determined before the sale of Royal Ordnance to British Aerospace.

Mr. Sainsbury : No. The applications were submitted in January 1987 and had not been determined when the sale took place in April 1987. The applications were rejected in June 1987. One is now the subject of an appeal.

Accountants and Cost Estimators

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many qualified accountants and technical cost estimators, whose principal tasks are to assist and advise

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in the pricing and post-costing of non- competitive contracts, are employed by his Department ; and what is their average salary.

Mr. Sainsbury : The Procurement Executive employs 122 qualified accountants and 513 technical cost officers to assist in the pricing and post costing of non-competitive contracts. The main working grades within each group are on national salary scales with maxima of £18,245 and £14,558 respectively. The majority of these staff are located outside the London area ; however those based in the inner London weighting area receive an additional £1,750.

Soldiers (Family Compensation)

Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement of the size of the offers of compensation to families of the six soldiers killed in Lisburn ; and what means are available to him to ensure that compensation goes beyond the concept of financial loss arising from death.

Mr. Ian Stewart : I have been asked to reply on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.

Under the criminal injuries legislation in Northern Ireland, a soldier's family will be compensated for any financial loss or expenses resulting from his death. Compensation is paid as a tax-free lump sum representing the value of past and capitalised future loss and is assessed broadly on the basis of common law practice. The general objective of the statutory scheme is to ensure that the victim or, if he has died, his dependants, do not suffer financial hardship. It is not and could not be designed to put an arbitrary assessment on the value of a life lost to bereaved members of the dead person's family. Such a loss is beyond price.

Nevertheless, in recognition of the immediate problems which may be faced upon bereavement by the closest members of the family, amending legislation (which came into force on 1 July 1988) provides for the payment of a bereavement award of £3,500 but, as in common law, it is payable only to the spouse of a victim or the parents of an unmarried minor. These same principles are followed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board in Great Britain, but exceptionally in Northern Ireland there is no upper limit on financial loss compensation where the death was caused by a terrorist act.

Offers of compensation have been made to the parents of the three single soldiers killed at Lisburn and to the widow of a fourth who was married. Compensation will be assessed in the two remaining cases when outstanding information on the widow's financial loss is received. In the case of the single soldiers, the offers were based on the financial contributions each made to his parents and the length of time the contributions might reasonably have been expected to continue ; this is the common law practice. The offer made to the widow of the married soldier took account of the deceased's earnings and his promotion prospects, projected to the normal date of retirement. Any applicant who is dissatisfied with the amount of compensation determined has a statutory right of appeal to the courts.

In addition to statutory compensation, payments are made by the Government under the armed forces pensions scheme and the war pensions scheme. Under the former, financial support in the form of a pension and a tax-free lump sum is provided for widows and dependent children

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and in the case of a single soldier whose death is attributable to service a tax-free lump sum is paid to his estate. The minimum lump sum paid to the estate of an unmarried soldier below the rank of corporal is £8,792 and the estates of single corporals and sergeants receive at least £11,336 and £12,498 respectively.

The widow of a soldier whose death is attributable to service is entitled, for a period of six months, to a short-term pension under the armed forces pensions scheme based on her husband's daily rate of pay, and thereafter to an attributable family pension for herself and any children. A tax-free lump sum is also payable. The annual pension for the widow of a soldier below the rank of corporal amounts to £3, 312 plus £879 per child and for the widows of corporals and sergeants to £4,457 plus £1,134 per child and £4,980 plus £1,250 per child respectively. For the same ranks the minimum lump sum entitlements are £13,188, £17,004 and £18,747.

Under the latter the widow of a soldier with a rank up to and including sergeant would, if under 40 and without dependent children, be entitled to an average pension of £12.40 per week. Otherwise she would be entitled to an average weekly pension of £53.55 and £12 for each dependant child. Allowances for age (for widows over age 65), rent and the education of dependant children may also be paid.


Families (Benefits)

Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish figures showing the number of (i) family income supplement claimants in 1987 and (ii) family credit claimants at the latest date available broken down into one and two earner families.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : At April 1987, the latest date for which information is available, 209,000 families with one earner and 11,000 families with two earners were in receipt of family income supplement. Equivalent information for family credit is not available.

Social Fund

Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish in the Official Report, the text of his Department's circular reference RD LO 113.88 on the social fund.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The document to which the hon. Member refers is, in fact, an internal management communication which is not normally intended to be in the public domain. Its purpose is to give information to local office managers.

The text of the document is as follows :

"You will be aware that the take up of Community Care Grants (CCGs) nationally has been lower than anticipated. Both statistical information and a significant level of feedback from regions and local offices indicate a variety of reasons for this but three in particular stand out. They are :

a lack of co-operation from statutory and voluntary agencies ; instances of rigid interpretation of the guidance which itself gives an impression of rigidity by its phraseology ;

insufficient publicity.

I am now writing to seek your co-operation and help in taking action to encourage take up of CCGs. Clearly the situation varies from office to office and it is for you to decide

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what action needs to be taken locally. The information and guidance in the following paragraphs is designed to assist you in that task. Despite the widely publicised controversy which has surrounded the Social Fund it is evident that many statutory and voluntary agencies remain unclear as to the potential of the CCG scheme for helping their clients. It is also the case that attitudes towards the Social Fund within Social Services and Social Work Departments are changing or show signs of doing so.

With these points in mind your local liaison arrangements should be reviewed to see where existing contacts might be strengthened or expanded or links established with new groups or those who have rejected previous approaches. Liaison must be an ongoing exercise. The scope for launching further initiatives aimed specifically at other organisations should also be explored. These could include the Home Help Service, Health Visitors, Age Concern, Housing Associations involved in resettlement work as well as other agencies which represent people in Community Care Priority Groups. Such initiatives might include talks by LINOs , SFOs or local management. Alternatively, approaches might include letters outlining the Social Fund to the range of local organisations. Visitiing officers should also be aware of the potential help available from the Social Fund. Recent HEO SF seminars have emphasised the need for flexibility in interpreting guidance rather than rigid adherence to it as a set of rules. Clearly a consistent approach to decision making is required but within the parameters of that consistency, flexibility in the interpretation should be applied to individual cases where this is justified on the particular circumstances. Work is currently under way to clarify the guidance in Part 6 of the SFM and an amendment is likely to be published early in 1989 which will reflect the required approach.

The revision of Part 6 will also provide further guidance on the intention behind Direction 4(a)(ii) that a CCG may be awarded to help prevent people going into institutional care rather than simply an immediate threat of entering care. This is in line with the principal aim of the CCG scheme of helping applicants to enable them to live as independent a life as possible in the community. I would be grateful if you could ensure that SFOs and HEOs are made aware of this clarification to the guidance.

You will wish to know that HQ are currently examining the adequacy of present publicity arrangements and considering what additional measures might be taken to advertise the availability of CCGs and so encourage take- up.'

Local Information Officers.

Social Fund Officers.

Higher Executive Officer.

Social Fund Manual.

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