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Mr. Archie Hamilton : For credible deterrence, nuclear weapons must be kept effective and up to date. The United Kingdom's free-fall bombs are no exception, and we are continuing to study a number of options for their replacement around the turn of the century.
Mr. Sainsbury : My right hon. Friend's last meeting with Sir Leslie Fletcher at the Ministry of Defence was on 22 February this year. Their discussions at this meeting are treated as confidential, as are all private discussions between the Secretary of State and senior representatives of our contractors.
Mr. Younger : Up to the end of 1987-88, £9 billion more had been spent on the Royal Air Force, in real terms, than would have been spent if spending had remained at the 1978-79 level. This takes into account GDP inflation and excludes expenditure on the Falklands garrison.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Both in money terms and as a percentage of GDP, United Kingdom defence expenditure is substantially above the NATO median. The United Kingdom defence budget is planned to rise over the period to 1991-92 ; taking into account the latest reported budgetary plans of other members of the Alliance, the United Kingdom is likely to remain among the highest-spending nations.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Letters continue to be received from fishermen's organisations and from other interested groups and individuals about a number of incidents in which submarines are alleged to have been involved.
63. Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what weight he gives to declarations of local authorities that their areas are to be regarded as nuclear-free zones in deciding on disposition of naval vessels.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The disposition of naval vessels is a matter which affects national security, and as such it must remain the responsibility of central rather than local Government. A defence policy can be effective only if applied on a national basis.
Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government on seeking arms control agreements in those areas where NATO has a technological lead over the Warsaw Pact.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The principal cause of instability in Europe is the imbalance between the conventional forces of NATO and the much larger conventional forces of the Warsaw Pact. Relative advantages in particular technologies are difficult to assess, subject to change, and
Column 513do not themselves necessarily compensate for such numerical imbalances. NATO's objective is to eliminate imbalances in the most threatening systems in Europe, thus enhancing security at a lower level of forces.
Mr. Tam Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will meet the Minister of Defence of Brazil, General Leonidas, to discuss the feasibility of British military aircraft and their pilots being loaned to Brazil for participation in forest fire fighting in Amazonia.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has no plans to seek a meeting with General Leonidas, who met Ministers for talks at the Ministry of Defence in the course of his visit to the United Kingdom in November 1987. The British armed forces have no aircraft suitable for fighting forest fires.
Mr. John Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the sums spent on maintenance, repairs and improvements to his Department's land and buildings at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, during each of the past 10 years.
Mr. Neubert : The sums spent on maintenance, repairs and improvements by my Department within the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich (the Directorate General of Defence Quality Assurance and MOD lodger units) during the last 10 years were as follows :
|Maintenance and Repair|Improvements Year |£000 |£000 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979-80 |1,125 |188 1980-81 |1,083 |277 1981-82 |1,212 |300 1982-83 |1,552 |357 1983-84 |1,802 |471 1984-85 |2,272 |715 1985-86 |1,785 |1,593 1986-87 |1,846 |1,584 1987-88 |1,749 |2,427 The improvements from 1985-86 include expenditure needed to house DGDQA units moved from Harefield, Middlesex and Garland road, Plumstead.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out the total area of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, already declared surplus to requirements and the area of (a) the Royal Arsenal west and (b) the Royal Arsenal east to be released for redevelopment after the relocation of the Directorate General of Defence Quality Assurance.
Mr. Sainsbury : The total area of Royal Arsenal, Woolwich is approximately 94 acres ; 12 acres in Royal Arsenal west have already been declared surplus to requirements. A further 67 acres in Royal Arsenal west and 15 acres in Royal Arsenal east would be released for redevelopment after the relocation of the Directorate General of Defence Quality Assurance.
Column 514Greenwich about the future redevelopment of that area of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, already declared to be surplus to requirements.
Mr. Neubert : Preliminary discussions with the London borough of Greenwich have now been held on site and we plan to have a further meeting shortly where the discussion will widen to include possible uses of the entire area of potentially surplus land at Royal Arsenal west. This follows the decision announced on 9 March 1989 to move the Director General of Defence Quality Assurance from Woolwich to Teesside, a proposal at present the subject of consultation with the trade unions.
I will keep the hon. Member informed of progress.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is the total estimated cost of transferring the Directorate General of Defence Quality Assurance from Woolwich Arsenal to Stockton on Tees and the individual costs of the major elements in the relocation package ;
(2) what was the total estimated cost of relocating the Directorate General of Defence Quality Assurance at Woolwich Arsenal.
Mr. Sainsbury : Competitive contracts will be let in connection with these proposals and therefore it would not be prudent to disclose departmental estimates of costs. Nevertheless a recent investment appraisal revealed that the net present values after 25 years and of the costs and benefits that vary with the three options studied were :
|£ million --------------------------------------------------------------------- Continuation on two sites at Woolwich and one at Bromley |212 Collocation at Royal Arsenal west, Woolwich |188 Collocation at Teesside |178
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimates he has made of the numbers of (a) mobile and (b) non-mobile staff likely to transfer from Woolwich to Stockton on Tees with the Directorate General of Defence Quality Assurance and the numbers he expects to recruit on Teesside.
Mr. Sainsbury : All staff who wish to transfer with their work would be given the opportunity to do so. Our current impression is that up to about 600 staff, mainly mobile, might transfer from Woolwich and Bromley and other MOD sources and that 900 staff, mainly non-mobile and including 250 apprentices, would be recruited on Teesside.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out the other departments currently located with the Directorate General of Defence Quality Assurance at Woolwich Arsenal, indicating the numbers currently employed at each.
Department |Number of employees ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Naval Publications Store |92 Air Publications and Forms Store |109 RAF Movements Unit (London) |33 RAF Signals Unit |194 Ministry of Defence Police |50 British Library |25 Her Majesty's Customs and Excise |49 National Maritime Museum |4 Civil Service Catering Organisation |12 Property Services Agency |66
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on the design of a new headquarters building and on other preparations for the relocation of the Directorate General of Defence Quality Assurance at Woolwich Arsenal.
Mr. Sainsbury : As I indicated in my answer to the hon. Member on 20 April 1988 at columns 503-4, £300,000 was spent on sketch plans for a new headquarters building at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, for the Quality Assurance Directorate (Ordnance). The identified costs of doing studies on other buildings are £120,000. The departmental costs of the staff carrying out a feasibility study and an investment appraisal on the future location of the Directorate General of Defence Quality Assurance were incurred in the normal course of their work and have not been separately identified.
Ms. Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) past, (b) present and (c) future planned research projects at Bristol university funded wholly or in part by his Department.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will provide details of the location of, ammunition carried, injuries suffered, and damage to vehicles sustained in the collisions and breakdowns of military vehicles carrying explosives that occurred on 13 December 1982, 11 January 1983, 11 December 1983, 3 December 1984, 13 May 1985, 3 December 1986, 22 July 1986 and 27 April 1988, as listed in his answer of 10 May 1988, Official Report, columns 103-4.
Mr. Neubert : None of the collisions or breakdowns listed resulted in injury. Minor damage was, however, sustained by vehicles involved in four of the incidents. Details of the locations are as follows :
Date |Route |Location -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 13 December 1982 |A17 |Lincolnshire 21 June 1983 |A17 |Lincolnshire<1> 11 July 1983 |M4 |Near Junction 13<1> 19 October 1984 |Not known |Range Road, Hampshire 13 May 1985 |Not known |Not known 3 December 1985 |Not known |Cardigan, Dyfed<1> 22 July 1986 |A38 |Haldon Hill, Devon 27 April 1988 |A38 |St. Budeaux, Devon <1> The dates of these incidents were previously incorrectly recorded.
It is not our practice to provide details of ammunition carried. The remainder of the information requested is not available.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will provide details of the locations, type of amunition carried and measures taken to extinguish the fires on lorries loaded wih ammunition listed in his answer of 10 May 1988, Official Report, column 104, that occurred on 24 October 1984, 1 May 1986 and 30 January 1988.
Mr. Neubert : The incident listed on 24 October 1984 occurred near RAF Chilmark in Wiltshire and the incident listed on 1 May 1986 on the M25 20 miles west of Chelmsford. Details of the measures taken to extinguish the fires are not recorded.
For the details of the incident on 30 January 1988, I refer the hon. Member to the answer on 27 April 1988 at column 204. It is not our practice to provide details of ammunition carried.
Mr. Neubert : Women with children may apply to join the armed forces. They will be accepted provided that they can satisfy the normal recruitment criteria and show that adequate provision has been made for the care of their children while on duty.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give for the last five years for which information is available, the cost of advertising campaigns for recruitment into all three branches of the armed forces.
|£ ------------------------------------------ 1984-85 |<1>7,351,000 1985-86 |8,202,000 1986-87 |9,109,000 1987-88 |9,402,400 1988-89 |<2>14,854,200 <1>The figures for 1984-85 includes not only expenditure on the services' recruitment advertising but also expenditure on some civilian recruiting, range firing notices and defence sales advertising. It is not possible, given the passage of time, to identify the service element alone. <2>This figure is an estimate as final figures for 1988-89 have not yet been brought to account. Note: All figures are at outturn prices.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the estimates for the cost in the current year of the advertising campaigns for recruitment into all three branches of the armed services.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans to privatise his Department's research facilities at Aldermaston and Porton Down ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans to turn any other of his Department's research establishments into executive agencies under the Government's next steps initiative.
Mr. Sainsbury : I refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Thompson) on 16 March, column 274, which defined our current plans for executive agencies within the research establishments. In common with other Departments we shall be looking for further opportunities to gain increased efficiency and value for money under the Government's next steps initiative.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department's new standards for safety critical systems, DefStan 0055, will require mandatory adherence to formal methods for written software ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 518applications in defence equipment has yet to be issued for consultation. The extent to which formal methods will be mandatory will be resolved as part of the consultation process.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions are taking place between his Department and the Health and Safety Commission in relation to safety-related software ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sainsbury : In formulating our approach to safety-related software, officials from the MOD have been--and are--involved in discussions with a wide range of agencies, including the Health and Safety Executive which is the operating arm of the Health and Safety Commission.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the recent finding of a live submarine projectile on St. Bees beach ; and what instructions are issued to submarine commanders in respect of practising with live projectiles.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : I understand that the object found on St. Bees beach, Cumbria, was not a submarine projectile but a submarine smoke float. This is a small pyrotechnic device released by a submarine during an exercise which emits smoke upon reaching the surface, thereby indicating the position of the submarine. Live projectiles, such as missiles or torpedoes, are fired by submarines only on the high seas and a notice of intent is always issued beforehand. Such ammunition is never fired if any surface vessel or aircraft is in the area.
|Number --------------------- 1984 |1 1985 |0 1986 |0 1987 |1 1988 |<1>4 <1>Includes 2 yachts.
There have been no incidents so far this year.