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Mr. Hanley : These matters are for the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment--CBDE--under its framework document. I have asked the chief executive of CBDE to write to the hon. Member.

Letters from Graham S. Pearson to Mr. Ken Livingstone, dated 10 March 1994 :

1. Your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence asking if, following the publication of the account of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, Porton Down in its two latest annual reports, the annual budgets of this Establishment for each financial year since 1979 can now be published has been passed to me to reply as Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment.

2. The budgetary figures for the years 1979-80 to 1984-85 are not readily available. The cash outturn for these years from available records are as follows :


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Year      |Outturn            

          |£ million          

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

1979-80   |15.1               

1980-81   |14.4               

1981-82   |14.6               

1982-83   |16.3               

1983-84   |16.7               

1984-85   |16.7               

These figures are at 1992-93 price levels.

3. In the years 1985-86 to 1990-91 the annual gross cash budgets for CBDE were as follows :


!

Year       |Gross cash           

           |budget               

           |£ million            

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

1985-86    |17.9                 

1986-87    |21.1                 

1987-88    |21.7                 

1988-89    |22.0                 

1989-90    |22.3                 

1990-91    |25.4                 

The figures for 1990-91 include works and property management costs as MOD untied from PSA on 1 April 1990. These figures are also at 1992-93 price levels.

4. CBDE became a Defence Agency on 1 April 1991 under the Next Steps programme and our annual published accounts are in accruals format to a Treasury Accounts Direction. From 1 April 1991, some expenditure previously controlled centrally was disaggregated to CBDE. The figures provided above are not directly comparable with those in the published Annual Reports because of the changes in the accounting and financial procedures.

1. Your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence asking when the new Defence Microbiology laboratory at the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, Porton Down will be in use ; what it will be used for ; why it is necessary and how much its construction will cost has been passed to me to reply as Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment. 2. The new Defence Microbiology laboratory is intended to be available for use in 1998. It will be used to handle dangerous pathogens under safe conditions in high containment facilities. The building will be used to carry out work into protective measures against biological warfare agents including detection and medical countermeasures. The new building is necessary to replace existing buildings which will have reached the end of their life within the next ten years.

3. Currently, the building is at the design stage. As the construction will be subject to competitive tender, it is not possible to provide details of the estimated cost at this time. 1. Your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence asking what is the purpose of the two new facilities under construction mentioned on page 25 of the 1992-93 annual report of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, why are they necessary, what is their cost and which buildings they are replacing has been passed to me to reply as Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment.

2. One facility will provide a laboratory in which equipment and volunteers can be exposed to steady low level concentrations of test materials ; these may be simulants or actual agents. This laboratory which cost approximately £3M replaces four existing buildings which have reached the end of their life.

3. The second facility is a laboratory in which toxic materials can be prepared as required for the programme to access the potential hazard to the UK Armed Forces and to investigate improved protective measures. This facility will be the UK's


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Single Small Scale Facility allowed under the Chemical Weapons Convention. It cost approximately £4.3M and replaces three existing buildings which have reached the end of their life. In both cases, a new facility is a more cost effective solution than refurbishment of the old buildings which are over 40 years old.

1. Your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence asking what is the subject matter of the substantial contract which is currently being carried out by the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment for another Government Department mentioned in the published 1992-93 accounts, what is the value of this contract, what is its duration and when it started has been passed to me to reply as Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment.

2. This contract is being carried out on behalf of the Home Office and is concerned with the protection of the public against the possible effects of chem RAF Personnel Management Centre

Mr. Nigel Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many tenders were received for the refurbishment of offices for the Air Officer Commanding the RAF personnel management centre, Innsworth ; and whether the lowest tender received was accepted ;

(2) what is the estimated total cost of the refurbishment of offices for the Air Officer Commanding the RAF personnel management centre, Innsworth ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hanley : The construction and refurbishment work in hand at RAF Innsworth is related to the reorganisation of the RAF command structure and the establishment of the new RAF personnel and training command which will operate from the site from 1 April 1994. The estimated cost of the new office accommodation for the personnel and training command headquarters as a whole, including furniture and fittings, is about £12,000,000.

This major new build project was fully completed and the winning contractor, Mowlems, was selected from four competitive tenders, of which it was the lowest. In addition to the new build, some refurbishment of the RAF personnel management centre office block, which will form part of the new personnel and training command, is currently taking place at an estimated cost of some £90,000. This work is being carried out by Taylor Woodrow as part of a wider contract to undertake ad hoc works and maintenance for a fixed three-year period--this contract was also selected by competitive tender. No specific expenditure has been made on the personal offices of the air officer commanding the personnel management centre.

Fox Armoured Cars

Mr. Trotter : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the Army's current holding of Fox armoured cars and of each category of the CVR (T) ; and what changes are planned in the fleets of these vehicles.

Mr. Hanley : Current holdings and planned changes in the fleets of Fox armoured cars and the combat vehicle reconnaissance (tracked)--CVR (T)- -are listed in the table :


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Type                                                 |Quantity                                            |Planned changes                                                                                          

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

CVR (Wheeled) Fox                                    |356                                                 |It is planned that all vehicles will be taken out of                                                     

                                                                                                          | service by early 1995                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

CVR(T) Scorpion                                      |262                                                 |104 will be converted to CVR(T) Sabre using                                                              

                                                                                                          | turrets from Fox vehicles. A further 31 will                                                            

                                                                                                          | remain in service at the British Army                                                                   

                                                                                                          | Training Unit, Suffield (BATUS) in Canada.                                                              

                                                                                                          | It is planned that the remainder will be taken                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

the end of 1994                                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

CVR(T) Sabre                                         |2                                                   |Total will be 106 after conversion of 104 Fox and                                                        

                                                                                                          | 104 Scorpion                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

CVR(T) Samson                                        |90                                                  |Due to reduce to approximately 55                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

CVR(T) Striker                                       |89                                                  |Due to reduce to approximately 58                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

CVR(T) Sultan                                        |283                                                 |Due to reduce to approximately 141                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

CVR(T) Spartan                                       |658                                                 |Due to reduce to approximately 627                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

CVR(T) Samaritan                                     |50                                                  |No changes planned                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

CVR(T) Scimitar                                      |314                                                 |No changes planned                                                                                       

Dinner (Tower of London)

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the purpose of the Army Board dinner for 35 hosted by the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley), in the Tower of London in February ; who was invited ; what was the cost ; and to what vote the cost was charged.

Mr. Hanley : The purpose of the Army board dinner held in the Tower of London was to honour those guests present for their outstanding support to the Army.

In addition to myself, the following attended :

The Duke of Wellington, KG

Major General Lord Michael Fitzalan-Howard

Lord Westbury

Lord Chalfont

Lieutenant General The Honourable Sir William Rous

General Sir Peter Inge

General Sir Michael Wilkes

General Sir John Learmont

General Sir John Wilsey

General Sir Charles Guthrie

Vice Admiral Sir Barry Wilson

Lieutenant General Sir Jeremy Blacker

Colonel Sir Ralph Carr-Ellison

Sir John Chilcot

Sir Donald Spiers

Sir David Gillmore

Sir Colin McColl

Sir Neil Thorne

Sir Piers Bengough

Sir Michael Burton

Sir Michael Alexander

Judge Rant

Major General Michael Walker

Colonel Philip Creasey

Mr. Moray Stewart

Dr. Alan Borg

Dr. Brian Holden-Reed

Dr. David Chandler

The Very Reverend Eric Evans

Mr. Tony Hall

Mr. John Chisholm

Mrs. Stella Rimington

Mr. Gordon Hourston

Mr. Kenneth Rose

Mr. Murdo Maclean


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The cost was £1,573.91 including VAT and was charged to the chief of the Defence Staff's entertainment allowance, which is included in class 1, vote 1, subhead item I11.

Wild Boars (Catterick)

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the cost to date of his Department's attempts to trap two wild boars at Catterick barracks, Yorkshire ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hanley : In April 1993, some 30 boars escaped from a farm at Easby near Richmond in north Yorkshire. With a view to preventing damage to MOD property, my Department has been liaising with the local authority in an attempt to capture the boars. All but two have now been recaptured.

The cost so far to my Department has been around £3,500 ; covering the cost of repairs to sports fields, use of equipment and the land warden's time. It is our intention to claim this from the farmer's insurance company in due course.

RAF

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of each type of aircraft were in service with the RAF at (a) 1 January 1984 and (b) 1 January 1994.

Mr. Hanley : We do not hold records of the information requested as at 1 January 1984. Details of the types of numbers of RAF aircraft--those in squadron service, operational conversion units, and support and training units, excluding in-use-reserves--as at March 1984 and March 1994 are :


                |1984  |1994         

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

Andover         |13    |8            

BAe146          |2     |3            

Buccaneer       |32    |<1>12        

Bulldog         |107   |96           

Canberra        |41    |13           

Chinook         |30    |<2>16        

Chipmunk        |61    |51           

Devon           |5     |-            

Dominie         |18    |10           

Gazelle         |23    |25           

Harrier GR3/T4  |80    |9            

Harrier GR5/7   |-     |49           

Hawk            |130   |105          

Hercules        |57    |55           

Hunter          |17    |1            

HS125           |12    |7            

Jaguar GR1A/T2A |129   |47           

Jet Provost     |158   |-            

Jetstream       |9     |9            

Lightning       |42    |-            

Nimrod MR2      |32    |24           

Nimrod R        |3     |3            

Pembroke        |5     |-            

Phantom         |112   |-            

Puma            |35    |35           

Sea King        |13    |16           

Sentry          |-     |6            

Shackleton      |5     |-            

Tornado F3      |-     |<3>102       

Tornado GR1     |102   |126          

Tristar         |2     |8            

Tucano          |-     |105          

VC10            |15    |16           

Victor          |19    |-            

Vulcan B2       |6     |-            

Wessex          |62    |54           

<1> All Bucaneers are due to be      

brought out of service on 31 March   

1994.                                

<2> Chinook numbers are currently    

reduced as a result of the mid-life  

update programme.                    

<3> Restructuring of the Tornado F3  

is due to complete by 1 April this   

year.                                

Territorial Army

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the purpose of the current advertising campaign on television for the Territorial Army ; and what account the campaign has taken of the numbers of regular soldiers being made redundant.

Mr. Hanley : The Territorial Army requires about 20,000 new recruits annually. The recent television advertisements were part of the annual recruiting campaign.

Regular soldiers who are leaving the Army on redundancy terms are given information about the TA and receive an invitation to join. Many soldiers prefer, however, to settle into civilian life before considering such an option.

Service Children

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what were the number of children of service personnel in (a) Humberside, (b) North Yorkshire, (c) South Yorkshire and (d) West Yorkshire whose places at an independent or private school were paid for by his Department in each of the last four years.

Mr. Hanley : Information on the locations of children of service parents claiming boarding school allowance is not collected annually. The most recent figures are for 1992, and are as follows :


                   |Number       

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

(a) Humberside     |47           

(b) NorthYorkshire |697          

(c) SouthYorkshire |Nil          

(d) WestYorkshire  |185          

Air Misses

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will send a copy of the joint air miss working group's report on the air miss between any Army Lynx helicopter and a Royal Air Force Tornado over the north Yorkshire moors on 17 January 1993 to the hon. Member for Don Valley.

Mr. Hanley : A copy of the air miss report into the incident, which occurred on 12 January 1993, is available in the Library of the House.

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will send the hon. Member for Don Valley a copy of the report of the joint air miss working group's report on the air miss between a Royal Air Force Tornado and a Jet Ranger helicopter over Caithness on 8 April 1992.

Mr. Hanley : A copy of the air miss report is available in the Library of the House.

MK95 Lynx Helicopters

Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what means the five MK95 Lynx helicopters were delivered last year to the Portuguese Navy, and at what cost ; what consideration was given to the use of RAF aircraft ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Aitken : Delivery of the five MK95 Lynx helicopters was a matter for the Portuguese Government and Westland Helicopters. RAF aircraft were not involved.

Equipment Damage

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list all instances of damage to armed services equipment by private contractors reported for each year since 1990, together with the cost in each instance and the total cost.

Mr. Aitken : The information could not be provided without incurring disproportionate cost and effort. My Department does not maintain central records of such instances, however MOD contract conditions address such possibilities, and are invoked as necessary.

RAF Maintenance Work

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what requests he or his Department have received from the Treasury or other parts of the Government that maintenance work for the RAF should be moved into the private sector ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hanley : It would not be appropriate to give details of interdepartmental discussions, and I have nothing to add to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Wyre (Mr. Mans) on 15 December 1993, Official Report, column 739 .

Submarines

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent representations he has received concerning the complaints of infringement by Royal Navy submarines and United States submarines of the code of safety in fishing areas ; and if he will make a statement ;


Column 399

(2) what is the average amount of time spent investigating allegations concerning near-collisions between Royal Navy submarines and fishing vessels ; to whom the reports of such investigations are submitted ; who makes the decisions concerning the holding of courts martial where negligence of watch officers and others is concerned ; and if he will make a statement ;

(3) how many incidents involving allegations concerning near-collisions between (a) Royal Navy submarines or (b) United States Navy submarines and United Kingdom fishing vessels over the past seven years have been the subject of formal investigations ; of these, how many led to courts martial ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hanley : I have received no recent formal representations concerning complaints of infringement of Royal Navy submarines and United States Navy submarines of the code of practice in fishing areas.

Since the formal adoption of the code of practice in October 1993, the only incident to have taken place between a Royal Navy submarine and a United Kingdom fishing vessel is that between HMS Valiant and the fishing vessel Audacious on 8 November 1993. A full investigation was immediately put in hand, which has recently been concluded. The findings, which are currently being examined, will be made available shortly to the members of the Department of Transport's fishing industry safety committee sub-group dealing with submarine and fishing vessels matters, which includes representatives of the fishermen's federations.

Reports of investigations are submitted via flag officer submarines to the commander-in-chief fleet. It is for the commander-in-chief fleet to make any decisions regarding courts martial. It is difficult to give an average for the amount of time spent investigating incidents ; this depends on the complexity of each individual case. Investigations into near collisions between United States Navy submarines and United Kingdom fishing vessels during the past seven years are a matter for the appropriate United States authorities. The code of practice governing the conduct of submarines when operating in the vicinity of fishing vessels does, of course, apply to all foreign submarines operating dived within United Kingdom territorial waters.

Malaysia

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence who drew up the list of defence firms which Lady Thatcher promised to supply to Malaysia under the arms deal negotiated between 1985 and 1988 ; what were the criteria for choice ; and which were the companies selected.

Mr. Aitken : There is no such list.

Public Interest Immunity Certificates

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 18 February, Official Report, column 1055, if he will provide whatever information is available of those occasions on which he, or other Ministers in his Department, have signed public interest immunity certificates, and for what reasons.

Mr. Hanley : Since my right hon. and learned Friend became Secretary of State for Defence, he or other Ministers in his Department have signed public interest immunity certificates on seven occasions.


Column 400

In June 1992, my right hon. and learned Friend signed a certificate which set out the national security and personal safety grounds for screening certain members of the armed forces from the public, and for the protection of certain information from disclosure. This certificate was prepared for the hearing of a civil claim. In the event, the hearing was delayed, and he signed a fresh certificate in similar terms in March 1993. He signed certificates for the same purpose in January 1993 in relation to another civil claim, and in April 1993 in relation to the proceedings of an inquest.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Sir A. Hamilton) signed PII certificates in relation to two cases. In January 1993 he signed a certificate for the same purposes as those in the first instance above in relation to the proceedings of an inquest. In February 1993, in relation to criminal proceedings, he signed a certificate setting out the grounds for protecting information, the disclosure of which would be harmful to national security.

In October 1992 my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State signed a certificate relating to a case heard in camera by agreement of the court and the parties. In addition, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Defence Procurement signed in September 1992 certificates in the same terms in connection with the Matrix Churchill case. The certificate signed by the Minister of State was not used.

Belize Defence Force

Sir Nicholas Bonsor : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Knapman), of 23 February, Official Report, column 23, he will list all items of equipment, vehicles, ammunition and stores of over £1,000 value he intends to give to the Belize defence force ; what plans he has to provide (a) helicopter support and (b) aircraft engineering support to the force ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hanley : Of the £338,000 worth of equipment the MOD intends to gift to the Belize defence force the following items have been identified as being of more than £1,000 in value :

Vehicles :

Up to 23 3/4 tonne Land Rovers and a small number of trucks Ammunition :

5.566mm and 7.62mm ammunition

81mm mortar rounds

66mm Heat rockets

We have discussed with the Government of Belize their future requirements for helicopters and associated engineering support. We are currently providing expert assistance to help them identify their precise needs.


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