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Mr. Mike O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the difference in the allowances per service man for catering purposes per day in (a) the Army, (b) the Royal Navy and (c) the Royal Air Force; if he will set out each allowance; and what factors underlie the differences between the amounts.
Mr. Soames: The allowances per day for catering purposes are based on a ration scale costed at current prices and known as the daily messing rate. The ration scale is the same for personnel of all three services.
The scale is costed according to the supply source of food items. Where the source of supply is more expensive due to local conditions the daily messing rate is higher to take account of extra costs. For ships and submarines a slightly different scale is used to take account of their special circumstances.
A general overseas ration scale exists for overseas bases and attachments. This scale has a higher calorific value to take account of conditions such as heat, cold and humidity. The rate applicable to units abroad will also
Column 712depend on prices in the local economy for food stuffs which are bought locally.
Examples of daily messing rates for October 1994 are:
|£ ------------------------------------------------------------ Army, RAF and RN Shore establishments (including Germany and Hong Kong) |1.75 RN ships and submarines |1.86 Falklands |2.03 Cyprus |1.93 Gibraltar |2.07
Where personnel are in special circumstances or performing duties which require extra energy--such as divers or members of mountain rescue teams-- they are entitled to supplementary allowances.
Mr. David Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the investment appraisals in respect of the 16 Deal-based options referred to in paragraph 8 of the consultative document dated 17 October 1994 entitled "Future Location of Royal Marines Training".
Mr. Soames: I have written to the hon. Member and a copy of the letter is being placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what alternative defence uses are being considered for RAF Finningley.
Mr. Soames: No alternative defence uses have yet been identified for RAF Finningley. In accordance with departmental procedures, however, a full inter-service trawl will be undertaken in parallel with the consultation period to identify any possible alternative defence uses, in the event that a decision to close RAF Finningley is taken after formal consultation.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what procedures will be followed if the MOD decides to dispose of the RAF Finningley site.
Mr. Soames: If it is decided to dispose of RAF Finningley, standard departmental procedures would be followed. This would include discussions with the local authority on future use and the appointment of consultants to advise on a disposal strategy and optimum method of sale.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will hold discussions with Doncaster metropolitan borough council and the local regeneration partnership on how RAF Finningley could become a joint military and civilian airfield.
Mr. Soames: The proposal to close RAF Finningley will be subject to full consultation with trade unions and other interested parties. I would be happy to receive details of any substantive proposals regarding future use the site that Doncaster metropolitan borough council may wish to put forward as part of the consultation process.
Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff were involved in the movements in the
Column 713public interest which led to the expenditure recorded in the notes to class I, vote 1 of the Appropriation Accounts 1993 94.
Mr. Soames: Seven staff received special payments following a move in the public interest.
Mr. Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many countries are covered by the £20,315,000 in forgone receipts referred to in the other notes to class I, vote 1 of the Appropriation Accounts 1993 94.
Mr. Soames: Thirty-six countries are covered by the £20,315,000 in forgone receipts referred to in the other notes to class 1 vote 1 of the appropriation accounts 1993 94.
Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he proposes to take to make low flying avoidance areas public.
Mr. Soames: There are no plans to alter my Department's policy of not releasing specific details of flying restrictions in individual areas.
Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress is being made to introduce flight simulators as a substitute for low flying sorties.
Mr. Soames: The use of flight simulators is an integral part of our training programme. However, the performance characteristics of current simulator technology do not provide an acceptable substitute for low flying training. We do, however, continue to monitor closely developments in this area of technology.
Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make all non-United Kingdom air crews included in low flying over the United Kingdom subject to the jurisdiction of the RAF police.
Mr. Soames: All foreign military aircrews operating within the United Kingdom low flying system are subject to the same flying regulations as apply to United Kingdom aircrews. The RAF police are responsible for investigating alleged breaches of the regulations, whether United Kingdom or foreign aircrews were involved. In the event that a breach of regulations is confirmed, jurisdiction, in terms of disciplinary action, rests initially with the commanding officer of the aircrew concerned or, in the case of foreign aircrew, with their relevant national authorities, not with the RAF police.
Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which NATO countries allow low flying training below 250 ft; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: My noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence will write to the hon. Member as this information is not readily available.
Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will introduce an independent system of investigation of public complaints about alleged breaches of low flying regulations by low-flying aircraft over the United Kingdom.
Mr. Soames: No. We are satisfied that the existing system is impartial, effective and best placed to investigate public complaints about alleged breaches of low flying regulations, and therefore see no reason to introduce such a system.
Mr. Home Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the number of observed birds or intensity of bird activity specified in the bird warning movement message for the Aberlady bay area on the morning of 30 September.
Mr. Soames: There was no bird hazard warning issued for the Aberlady bay area on the morning in question.
Mr. Home Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the date, location, aircraft type, altitude and damage category for all bird-strike incidents involving military aircraft in the Forth estuary area since 1990.
Mr. Soames: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Home Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice is given to military aircrew concerning the minimum altitude at which aircraft should cross coastlines in order to reduce the risk of bird- strike.
Mr. Soames: Aircrew are advised that, wherever possible, coastlines should be crossed at a minimum height of 500 ft, but preferably 1,000 ft.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department organises receptions for those expressing an interest in public appointments for the first time; how often they are held; what is the annual cost; and how many people attend.
Mr. Soames: It is not my Department's practice to organise such events. Those who express an interest in public appointments without specifying a particular body are referred to the public appointments unit of the Cabinet Office who have their own arrangements for publishing the requirements and opportunities of such appointments.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions in the past year the spouse of a Minister in his Department has travelled abroad at public expense to accompany a Minister on public duties, and what has been the total cost to public funds; and on how many occasions such travel has been undertaken at own cost.
Mr. Soames: Since the beginning of 1994, Ministers in my Department have been accompanied by their spouses on public duties overseas on five occasions. On each of those occasions the extra cost to the Department would have been either negligible or nil, as the spouses in question travelled on RAF aircraft which were already assigned to the visit, and on four occasions were accommodated in official residences.
On one occasion a Minister and his spouse were accommodated in a hotel but in a room that the Minister would have occupied if he had not been accompanied.
Procedures outlined in "Questions of Procedure for Ministers" were followed in all cases.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the proliferation risks associated with the transport of plutonium from Europe to Japan were
Column 715discussed at the NATO-Japan third security conference in Brussels held on 19 to 20 October.
Mr. Goodlad: I have been asked to reply.
During its recent meeting the third NATO-Japan security conference took careful note of the requirement for maintaining the highest standards of protection for all fissile material.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his European counterparts regarding the provision of European Union aid for rehabilitation and reconstruction in Rwanda.
Mr. Baldry: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed the outcome of the recent EU troika visit to Rwanda with his European colleagues at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 4 October. There was broad agreement on the need for continuing humanitarian aid, for short-term rehabilitation programmes to encourage the return of refugees and for longer-term resumption of development co-operation.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy regarding aid funding for economically unsound projects.
Mr. Baldry: It is our policy to finance projects only after rigorous appraisal against economic, financial, technical, social and environmental criteria.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what test of economic efficiency is applied to projects seeking financial assistance under the aid programme.
Mr. Baldry: Projects should at least match the economic rate of return appropriate to the recipient country. Where no rate of return is calculated, cost-effectiveness is tested by comparing alternative ways of achieving project objectives. The methodology used in economic appraisal is set out in the ODA's publication "Appraisal of Projects in Developing Countries--a Guide for Economists" , a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what requirement for economic efficiency in individual aid projects is included in the Overseas Development Administration's priority objective of promoting economic reform.
Mr. Baldry: Most aid for internationally agreed economic reform programmes has been in the form of balance of payments support. Project aid in support of reform is largely in the form of technical assistance. That is not usually susceptible to appraisal for economic efficiency, but is carefully assessed for cost-effectiveness.
Sir Thomas Arnold: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list all Overseas Development Administration projects in Belize with the costs involved.
Mr. Baldry: A list of current Overseas Development Administration projects in Belize which are costed in excess of £50,000 has been placed in the Libraries of the House. In addition to those projects, the British high commission in Belize has an allocation of £100,000 to finance small projects of a developmental, social or welfare nature.
Project Title |Commitment (£) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Airport Terminal (Construction) |2,800,000 Big Falls Bridge |1,334,116 Northern Highway Project |563,604 Stann Creek Valley Road |7,096,000 Police Radios Project |565,094 Toledo Agricultural Research and Development Appraisal |80,000 Plant Protection Project |787,000 Tropical Forestry Action Plan |120,000 Mountain Pine Ridge Inventory |55,485 Forest Management Project |3,732,000 Land Survey; North Belize |325,527 Rural Physical Planner |117,500 Civil Aviation Authority Chief Fire Officer |120,000 Architectural Advice |150,000 Education Support In-service Project |90,000 World Bank Education Project |1,000,000 Drug Demand Reduction |134,000 |------- Total |19,070,326
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations of the 1992 review of the aid and trade provision.
Mr. Baldry: The new arrangements for the administration of the aid and trade provision referred to in the reply which my hon. Friend the Member for Morecombe and Lunesdale (Sir M. Lennox-Boyd) gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South(Mr. Ottaway) on 17 June 1993, Official Report , column 675-76 , took effect on that date.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance he is providing for the elections in Mozambique.
Mr. Baldry: We have contributed about £2.2 million to the United Nations Development Programme's electoral assistance project, including our share of the EC's contribution. We have also contributed £500,000 to the UN Trust Fund for the Implementation of the Peace Process in Mozambique to help RENAMO transform itself into a political party.
We are providing 30 British observers for the UN and EU international election observers teams. Several United Kingdom parliamentarians are also attending under other auspices.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he intends to take to maintain humanitarian assistance to the Kurdish
Column 717population of northern Iraq, following recent events in the Gulf region.
Mr. Baldry: Saddam's threatening actions near the Kuwaiti border have not affected our plans for aid for northern Iraq. We have committed some £4.7 million this year for medical assistance and village rehabilitation. We shall continue to keep in touch with the Kurdish administration, UN agencies, NGOs and others involved in northern Iraq.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what economic or other aid he plans for the United Kingdom to give to President Aristide of Haiti.
Mr. Baldry: We are ready to consider assistance for police training once security conditions have allowed the UN mission in Haiti to deploy. We have also agreed in principle to the resumption of EU aid. Haiti's national indicative programme for the period 1990 95 will be 120 mecu--£94 million--of which the United Kingdom share will be £15 million. This will be implemented as soon as the EU and Haiti agree priority sectors.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer concerning third world debt.
Mr. Baldry: By long-standing convention, discussions of this nature between Departments are confidential.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the total amount of bilateral aid given by the United Kingdom to Albania in each of the last three years; and if he will list the main projects to have benefited from this aid.
Mr. Baldry: Total United Kingdom bilateral aid to Albania for the last three financial years was:
|£ --------------------------------- 1991-92 |615,000 1992-93 |417,000 1993-94 |<1>921,000 <1> Provisional figure
A large proportion of this was emergency aid, mostly food and medicines: £615,000 in 1991 92; £371,000 in 1992 93; and £501,000 in 1993 94. The remainder, £46,000 in 1992 93 and £420,000 in 1993 94, consists of funds disbursed under the know-how fund, Britain's programme of technical assistance for the countries of central and eastern Europe. The KHF was extended to
Column 718Albania in June 1992. The main projects completed or under way are:
a one year placement for a British agricultural consultant to assist the National Agency for State Farms with the process of privatisation (completed);
a two year project to assist the development of private farmers associations (ongoing);
funding of volunteers from East European Partnership (EEP) to work on a major EU PHARE business advice and training project for regional business centres (ongoing);
a two year training programme for local government finance officers to help implement new local government legislation (ongoing);
placement of a haematologist to assist the Director of the Tirana Blood Bank with the transition to a voluntary system of blood donation (ongoing);
a grant for EEP volunteers to provide training and consultancy advice at the home for Mentally Handicapped Children in Berat (ongoing);
a project to improve the quality and supply of water by Korca water company. The project will also produce a manual of good practice to be used elsewhere in Albania (ongoing);
a project to train Albanian geoscientists in coastal zone management and to help establish a Coastal Geology Unit in Albania (ongoing);
a programme of consultancy and training for the Albanian prison service, provided by Her Majesty's Prison Service (ongoing); a series of visits to and from Albania by members of the Devon Fire Service and Albanian fire officers, culminating in a training course for 14 Albanians in Devon in November 1994 (ongoing); a publishing seminar organised by International Book Development (IBD) Training as part of a larger World Bank programme designed to develop an approach to textbook provision appropriate to Albania (completed).
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give details of multilateral aid packages given to Albania in which the United Kingdom or the European Union has contributed.
Mr. Baldry: Several multilateral agencies to which Britain makes a regular contribution are active in Albania.
The EU's PHARE programme was extended to Albania in 1992. In 1992 and 1993 a total of 53 mecu--£42 million--was disbursed on a number of projects in agriculture, private sector development, health, transport, environment, public administration and higher education. Britain contributes approximately 16 per cent. of the total PHARE budget, which, in 1994, represents about £7 million for Albania. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in which the British Government have an 8.5 per cent. shareholding, has approved loans totalling 34 mecu--£26.5 million--for investment projects in Albania. It has also committed 4.7 mecu --£3.6 million--to technical co-operation projects in telecommunications, finance, energy, the environment and tourism.
Since it began lending to Albania, the International Development Association has approved a total of US$138 million in development credits, of which $87 million remained undisbursed on 30 June 1994. During the IDA 1993 94 financial year, it approved credits for housing, labour market development, social safety net development, water rehabilitation and school rehabilitation. The UK contributed 6.15 per cent. to the latest IDA replenishment--IDA 10--in July 1993. Three UN agencies, UNICEF, the UNDP and WHO, are active in Albania. UNICEF, which received $8.5 million from Britain this financial year, has a $6 million
Column 719programme for Albania covering the years 1993 95. WHO has a $50,000 programme in albania for 1994 95 and the UNDP a $6 million budget for the same period. The UK contributes approximately 5 per cent. of the annual global budget of both agencies.
16. Mr. McAvoy: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next expects to meet Scottish Enterprise officials to discuss future financial allocations and priorities.
Mr. Stewart: As my right hon. Friend said in his earlier reply to the hon. Member for Motherwell, North, (Dr. Reid) he plans to meet the chairman and chief executive of Scottish Enterprise next month.
17. Mr. Michael J. Martin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many assured tenants there are in Scottish Housing Association dwellings.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: As at 31 March 1994, there were over 40,000 assured tenancies representing 60 per cent. of the total housing association stock.
18. Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received about the workings of the commercial property market in Scotland.
Mr. Stewart: My right hon. Friend has received no recent representations about the workings of the commercial property market in Scotland.
19. Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has in respect of homelessness in Scotland.
Mr. McAllion: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received relating to the statutory duty on local authorities to provide permanent accommodation for homeless; and what percentage of these representations favoured retention of this statutory duty.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: We have received nearly 160 responses to our consultation paper. Ninety-seven per cent. of the consultees expressed strong support for the retention of local housing authorities' duty to provide permanent accommodation for unintentionally homeless people in priority need. We are now considering the responses to all of the questions posed and we shall announce our decisions in due course.
20. Mrs. Liddell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next expects to meet the Scottish Council of the Confederation of British Industry to discuss its manufacturing industry study.
Mr. Lang: I and my hon. Friend the Minister for Industry maintain regular contact with the Scottish Council of the CBI on a wide range of issues.