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Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Ministry of Defence staff and contractors currently employed at the proof and experimental establishment, Pendine, he expects will be offered work at other establishments if and when work is transferred from Pendine.

Mr. Aitken : It is too early to give an accurate assessment of how many Ministry of Defence staff at PEE Pendine would be offered work elsewhere in the Department. Recruitment of ex-contractor's staff by contractors at other establishments would be a matter for them.

Low Flying

Mr. Beith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what increase in low-flying activity he expects to arise from the increases in training announced as part of "Front Line First" and from the relocation of RAF personnel from Germany to the United Kingdom ; and whether he will ensure that any increase in low-flying is not borne by areas which currently experience intensive levels of low flying.

Mr. Hanley : It is too early to say whether the overall increase in aircrew flying training hours, and the changes to the organisation of RAF Germany, will lead to an increase in the amount of low flying carried out in the United Kingdom. We will, however, continue to spread low flying activity within the United Kingdom as widely as possible.

Front Line First"

Mr. Cyril D. Townsend : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is the planned level of defence expenditure for each of the next three years following the publication of "Front Line First" ; (2) what percentage of gross national product will be spent on defence in each of the next three years taking into account "Front Line First".

Mr. Hanley : Planned levels of defence expenditure for 1994-95 to 1996-97 announced last December and set out in the "Statement of the Defence Estimates 1994", Cm 2550 are unchanged as a consequence of "Front Line First". Spending in each year as a percentage of forecast gross domestic product is expected to be as follows :


          |Per cent.          ------------------------------1994-95   |3.4                1995-96   |3.1                1996-97   |2.9                

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Music Training

Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will state the costs of training military bandsmen in each service on a comparable basis which is consistent in its treatment of (a) music training and (b) military training and sets out under appropriate accounting headings the direct and indirect costs and in addition separates out excess security costs arising from military establishments with surplus capacity.

Mr. Hanley : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel) on 20 June 1994, Official Report, column 64 .

Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the capital and repair costs incurred at (a) the RAF music training school at Uxbridge, (b) Kneller hall and (c) Royal Marines school of music at Deal in each year since 1986 ; and if he will show separately rebuilding and security costs incurred as a result of the IRA bombing of Deal.

Mr. Hanley : Central records are not available which give the information requested in the form available, or over the period requested in all cases. Where readily available, the information is as follows :


Year              |Maintenance|New works                                |£          |£                      ------------------------------------------------------RMSM Deal                                             1986-87           |1,079,605  |34,604                 1987-88           |864,127    |36,487                 1988-89           |90,831     |224,231                1989-90           |1,090,000  |50,000                 1990-91           |1,694.000  |260,000                1991-92           |1,631,000  |126,500                1992-93           |1,277,000  |61,000                 1993-94           |982,000    |163,000                                                                      Expenditure as a result of bomb incident:             Security works £784,697. Building works £193,852.                                                           RMSM Kneller Hall                                     1989-92                       |2,008,000              1992-93           |230,000                            1993-94           |156,000                                                                                                     Maintenance and new works          RAFSM Uxbridge      £                                 1990-91            14,476                             1991-92            19,785                             1992-93            17,676                             1993-94            20,088                             

Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the current market value for the freehold sites at (a) the RAF music school, Uxbridge, (b) the Army music school at Kneller hall, Twickenham and (c) the Royal Marines school of music at Deal on the basis of an arm's-length sale of land and buildings in their present state and condition.

Mr. Hanley : The information requested is commercial in confidence.

Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the financial and accounting reports produced by the defence costs study dealing with military music and the Royal Marines school of music at Deal.


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Mr. Hanley : The reports prepared by the defence costs study teams are internal working documents. It is not our normal practice to publish such documents. Relevant financial information on the proposal to transfer Royal Marines music training from Deal will, however, be included in a consultative document to be issued in due course.

Small Businesses

Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the achievements of (a) his policies and (b) his Department in helping small businesses over the last 12 months as against the previous 12 months ; if he will publish the performance indicators by which his Department monitors those achievements and the statistical results of such monitoring ; and if he will set out his targets to help small businesses in the next year.

Mr. Aitken : The Government continue to place a high priority on helping small businesses through improvements to the business climate, through deregulation and through specific programmes of support and assistance.

Measures operated by my Department to assist small businesses include :

1. The services of the New Suppliers Service (NSS) which meets and corresponds regularly with several thousand suppliers each year, a very large proportion of which are small firms, offering advice on ways in which they can bring their goods and services to the attention of our buyers. The NSS also supports the Training and Enterprise Councils which provide business counselling and support small businesses.

2. We continue to promote the many opportunities which exist to sell to my Department by publicising contracts in various publications including the Defence Contracts Bulletin, which is a particularly useful source of sub- contract opportunities. 3. Businesses of various sizes have been successful in tendering competitively for the provision of contracted-out services for the Department.

4. My Department is systematically reviewing its contracting processes to ensure that all administrative procedures are still required and to reduce any unnecessary burdens on businesses. When considering new contracting policies and procedures, we take particular account of the implications for businesses of all sizes.

Challenger Tanks

Mr. Riddick : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he intends to place an order for further Challenger 2 tanks.

Mr. Aitken : An order was placed with Vickers plc for a further 259 Challenger 2 main battle tanks on 14 July.

Service Redundancies

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel he expects to make redundant by the end of 1994.

Mr. Hanley : In the financial year 1994-95, 11,095 service personnel are due to leave on redundancy terms. Over 90 per cent. of these personnel are volunteers.

Civilian Employees

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether civilian employees applying for employment with the Ministry of Defence are always security-vetted by the Royal Ulster Constabulary prior to taking up employment.

Mr. Aitken : It is not our practice to discuss in detail the ways in which security vetting is carried out.


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Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of whether all employees working in Fort Whiterock or Northern Howard Street Mill bases from 1988 to the present were security vetted.

Mr. Aitken : All civilian staff employed in Northern Ireland by my Department are vetted to the appropriate security level.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Sir Richard Body : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes (a) he has recently made or (b) he proposes to make in the funds available to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Mr. Hanley : My Department will continue to honour to the full its obligation to fund the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in maintaining the war graves and memorials of British and other Commonwealth war dead to the very high standard they deserve.

Rio Declaration

Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to his answer of 6 July, Official Report , column 198 , if he will identify the specific training activities for members of the armed forces which are undertaken in connection with treaty obligations under the terms of the Rio declaration in relation to providing protection for the environment in time of armed conflict ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) what assessment he has made of the likely willingness of potential future military opponents to abide by the terms of the Rio declaration and to protect the environment in time of armed conflict ; and if he will make a statement ;

(3) what assessment he has made of the impact upon the United Kingdom's military effectiveness of treaty obligations under the terms of the Rio declaration to protect the environment in time of armed conflict ; and if he will make a statement ;

(4) pursuant to his answer of 6 July, Official Report , column 198 , what specific guidance is given by his Department to the armed forces on the interpretation of treaty obligations under the terms of the Rio declaration to protect the environment in time of armed conflict ;

(5) if he will list those weapons and defence systems the use of which he has identified as being contrary to treaty obligations under the terms of the Rio declaration to protect the environment in time of armed conflict ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hanley : The Rio declaration is a statement of principles, balancing environmental concerns with the need for economic development. The declaration is not an international treaty which places specific obligations on signatory states. Principle 24 of the declaration states :

"Warfare is inherently destructive of sustainable development. States shall therefore respect international law providing protection for the environment in times of armed conflict and cooperate in its further development, as necessary".

Accordingly, chapter 39 of agenda 21 identifies the UN General Assembly and its sixth committee as the appropriate forums for the development of international law to protect the environment in times of armed conflict. The United Kingdom is participating in the work of the sixth committee, which is being undertaken in conjunction


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with the International Committee of the Red Cross. This work has not yet reached the stage which would enable specific guidance to be issued to the armed forces.

Wrens

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Wrens have served at sea on Royal Naval vessels since the introduction of this policy by his Department.

Mr. Hanley : Between the introduction of sea service for female personnel on 1 September 1990 and mid-July 1994, 1,673 have served at sea in royal naval vessels. This figure consists of 265 female RN officers, 1,365 female RN ratings and 43 female ratings from the Queen Alexandra RN Nursing Service.

Salisbury Plain and Otterburn

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of alternatives to the use of AS90s and multiple launch rocket systems on Salisbury plain and Otterburn; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hanley [holding answer 15 July 1994 : My Department keeps possible alternative training areas under review. Apart from Salisbury plain and Otterburn, however, there are no training areas in the United Kingdom able to accommodate AS90 and MLRS. As far as overseas locations are concerned we will of course consider any viable alternatives while taking account of the financial and political implications of such training.

The only existing overseas training area which could accommodate the training needs of AS90 and MLRS is the British Army Training Unit at Suffield, Canada (BATUS). This facility is already utilised extensively by the British Army for battle group training. Climatic conditions and the emphasis placed by the Canadian authorities on their own increased in- country training requirements may not allow additional British training to take place.

Research Agency

Mr. Hawkins : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what targets he has set for the Defence Research Agency in 1994-95.

Mr. Aitken : The targets recently set for the Defence Research Agency in 1994-95 and subsequent years are as follows :

a. To meet profit and cash targets consistent with a 6 per cent. ROCE.

b. To maintain overall utilisation at a level of 51 per cent. c. To reduce the total overhead expressed as a percentage of total variable costs from 15 per cent. at 1 April 1994 to 12per cent. at 31 March 1995.

d. To market test 4 per cent. of DRA's turnover ; to achieve secondary competition amounting to 3 per cent. of turnover ; and to achieve competition in subcontracts amounting to 6per cent. of turnover.

e. To maintain achievement on time of customers' milestones at the 1993-94 level of 85 per cent.

f. From December 1993 survey baseline to achieve 2 per cent. improvement in overall performance by December 1994 and a 4 per cent. increase in the quality and project management measures.

g. To have met by the 31 March 1995 all 1994-95 rationalisation project milestones as specified in BP94 and to have achieved a running cost reduction of £70 million per annum.

h. To achieve a non-MOD income of £64 million in 1994-95. i. To achieve formal quality certification to ISO9000 for one sector by 31 December 1994.


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Analytical Services Agency

Mr. Nigel Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what performance targets have been set for the Defence Analytical Services Agency for 1994-95.

Mr. Hanley : The following key targets have been set for the chief executive of the Defence Analytical Services Agency for this financial year and beyond. These reflect the continuing need to secure economies in defence spending and an increased capability to meet the Department's evolving needs. They build on progress already made by the agency in meeting its targets in 1992-93 and 1993-94. The revised targets are as follows :

Delivery of customer services

a. About three quarters of the Agency's business is suitable for coverage by Service Level Agreements with Customers, which set out targets and standards for the level of service, timeliness and quality of work. For this part of the business Key Targets are : 1. To increase the coverage to 100 per cent. for Service Level Agreements in the areas suitable.

2. To meet at least 95 per cent. of the timeliness and quality targets set in the established Service Level Agreements.

b. For the remaining parts of the business (for which Service Level Agreements are not appropriate) to meet at least 95 per cent. of the timeliness and quality targets in each Project Agreement. c. For all parts of the business, to achieve, in the annual Customer Satisfaction Survey, at least 90 per cent of customers expressing themselves satisfied or better with the timeliness, quality of work and helpfulness of staff.

Efficiency and use of resources

The agency will be expected, by using improved information technology, to increase efficiency in the production of regular satistical reports by 5 per cent. The chief executive will also be responsible for the development and implementation of a system for identifying the full cost of each of DASA's outputs.

Decoy System

Mr. Hawkins : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his plans to upgrade the existing decoy system fitted to Royal Navy frigates and destroyers.

Mr. Aitken : I am pleased to announce that, following a competition, we have recently placed a contract worth around £80 million with GEC- Marconi Defence Systems Ltd. covering the development and initial production of an offboard active decoy and a ship fitted control system for the Royal Navy.

The offboard active decoy, known as DLH, will upgrade the existing SEAGNAT decoy system. It will be fitted to all frigates and destroyers as well as major auxiliaries as a soft kill device forming an integral part of the Royal Navy's layered defence in anti-air warfare by providing a means of decoying radar homing anti-ship missiles through the use of electronic protection measures. The work is expected to last six years and maintain approximately 100 jobs at GEC-Marconi initially at Stanmore, and then around 250 jobs at the company's Portsmouth site as the project moves into the production phase, as well as sustaining a similar additional number of jobs within their sub-contractors.

This order is good news for the Royal Navy and for GEC-Marconi.


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Naval Aircraft Repair Organisation

Mr. Nigel Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Naval Aircraft Repair Organisation Defence Agency has reported its performance in financial year 1993-94 ; and what targets have been agreed for it in financial year 1994-95.

Mr. Hanley : In respect of financial year 1993-94, copies of the Naval Aircraft Repair Organisation Defence Agency's annual report and accounts have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

In respect of financial year 1994-95, the Director General Aircraft (Navy), acting as the owner of the agency on behalf of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence under the terms of the agency's framework document, has been set the following targets for the coming financial year :

Quantity : To complete 100 per cent. of the funded task as detailed in the DGA(N) Tri-Service Schedule of Identified Repair Work.

Cost and The target achieved to be maintained orProductivity : improved.

Quality : To improve quality by reducing the NARO index by 2. Timeliness : To complete more than 95 per cent. of contracts on time.

Efficiency : To improve the NARO efficiency index to 65.

Mr. Page : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has begun his review of the Naval Aircraft Repair Organisation Defence Agency.

Mr. Hanley : A review of the agency status of the Naval Aircraft Repair Organisation has now started. As a defence agency the performance of the NARO will be evaluated and NARO activities will be subject to the normal prior options tests set out in the 1993 "Next Steps Review", Cm 2430.

Comments from interested parties should be sent by 23 September 1994 to Rear-Admiral Roger Moylan-Jones, Director General Aircraft (Navy), Ministry of Defence, Room 114, Quay House, The Ambury, Bath, BA1 2YP.

Gulf Trust

Mr. Quentin Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements have been made for the winding up of the Gulf trust.

Mr. Hanley : The trust deed governing the Gulf trust expires on 31 July. As originally envisaged, the united services trustee, which is the trustee of the trust, will pass the remaining money, including the accrued interest, to the three service benevolent funds--the King George's Fund for Sailors, the Army Benevolent Fund and the RAF Benevolent Fund. It is the three service benevolent funds which have been dealing with individual applications for assistance from the Gulf trust from eligible personnel. The provisional amounts being passed to each of the benevolent funds are set out ; these may change marginally to take account of payments out and interest accruing between 11 July 1994 and the date the Gulf trust is formally wound up. The money will be held separately for the exclusive use of those eligible to benefit from the Gulf trust for as long as is necessary to ensure, so far as reasonably practical, that all accepted claims are fully provided for. This will be for a minimum of 10 years. Provision is also being made for portions of the money to be transferred between the benevolent funds, if necessary,


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for the benefit of personnel covered by the Gulf trust. These arrangements are designed to ensure that the objectives of the Gulf trust continue to be met and in particular fulfil the stated intention of meeting needs arising from the conflict over the long term.


                               |£                  ---------------------------------------------------King George's Fund for Sailors |153,108            Army Benevolent Fund           |2,238,318          RAF Benevolent Fund            |427,017            

Criminal Justice

Mrs. Anne Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the average length of time which elapses between the committal of an offence and a court martial hearing in the military criminal justice system.

Mr. Hanley : The average length of time between the date an offence was committed--or it was discovered, or investigation of it started, where appropriate--and the date of the court martial hearing, across all three services, is about six months.

Mrs. Anne Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what proportion of the Army legal aid scheme budget was spent on the employment of civilian lawyers in 1991, 1992 and 1993 ;

(2) in what proportion of cases soldiers and NCOs use civilian rather than Army advocates when facing district courts martial ; (3) how many soldiers were retained and for how long, despite the expiry of their time in the Army, awaiting the conclusion of a district court martial proceeding in 1991, 1992 and 1993.

Mr. Hanley : The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Chinook Helicopters

Lady Olga Maitland : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what evidence he has taken from pilots of Chinook helicopters regarding their experiences with the computerised control box, the FADEC.

Mr. Hanley : As part of normal flight safety procedures, all Chinook helicopters are required to submit reports on any unusual occurrence experienced with the aircraft systems and this includes the full authority digital engine control--FADEC--system.

Lady Olga Maitland : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions there has been an engine cut out while a Chinook helicopter in flight was using the computerised control box, the FADEC.

Mr. Hanley : There have been no incidents of an engine cut-out in flight on RAF Chinook helicopters using the full authority digital engine control--FADEC--system.

Nuclear Disarmament

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 11 July, Official Report , column 437 , if he will set out the reasons for his departmental conclusion that the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament report's proposals do not represent a realistic approach to disarmament.


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Mr. Hanley : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence's speech to the Centre for Defence Studies on 16 November 1993 set out the reasons for the approach to disarmament adopted by Her Majesty's Government. A copy of this has been placed in the Library of the House.

Porton Down

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what communications he has had with Mr. Mick Roche in regard to claims for compensation for former soldiers who have been involved in experiments on chemical and biological warfare protection as scientific guinea pigs at the chemical and biological defence establishment at Porton Down.

Mr. Hanley : My Department is aware of a number of letters from a Mr. T. M. Roche about participation in trials at Porton Down, but we know of no specific compensation claims from either him or other individuals on the matter.

Naval Equipment Programme

Mr. Trotter : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future naval equipment programme following the decisions taken in the defence costs study

Mr. Aitken : As my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State made clear in his statement to the House on 14 July, the defence costs study "Front Line First" has enabled us to make a number of significant enhancements to our front-line naval capability. During the course of the statement, an order was announced for a further batch of seven Sandown class single role minehunters, and an invitation to tender for the design and build of a second batch of the highly successful Trafalgar class of nuclear-powered submarines. We shall also shortly issue an intiation to tender for two new assault ships to replace HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid. In addition, we plan to issue an invitation to tender for a further batch of type 23 frigates during the coming year. The Government will assess the case thereafter on the basis of price and operational need. The purchase of additional anti-submarine and gunnery targets was also announced, and this will allow more realistic training for ships and naval aircraft deployed away from usual target facilities.

We announced that we will be examining the case for acquiring conventionally armed Tomahawk land attack missiles for the Navy, and we will be seeking information from the Government of the United States of America and from industry.

Other major projects in the future naval equipment programme, such as Trident, the common new generation frigate--Project Horizon--and the EH101 Merlin helicopter, continue to make good progress.

This is a substantial programme of investment in new equipment, and the decision announced on 14 July represent a major boost to British industry, as well as providing vital enhancements to the Royal Navy.


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