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Mr. Soames: As at 30 September my Department owned 74,686 dwellings in the following categories:

Service married quarters--70,851

Former married quarters in the process of sale--2,744

Civilian houses--581

Former civilian houses in the process of sale--510

Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many former wives of service personnel have been evicted from Ministry of Defence properties in each year since 1989.

Mr. Soames: All former wives of service personnel are allowed to remain in their married quarter for at least 93


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days and are not normally evicted unless alternative accommodation is available to them. Figures for evictions are not held in a uniform format by the services. The figures give the number of actual evictions in respect of the Army, but for the Navy and RAF represent the number of warrants issued for the repossession of a married quarter. In most cases no eviction results, because alternative accommodation becomes available.



        |1989-90|1990-91|1991-92|1992-93|1993-94|1994-95        


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


Navy    |13     |19     |12     |33     |28     |<1>23          


                                                                


        |1989   |1990   |1991   |1992   |1993   |1994           


RAF     |23     |8      |47     |19     |44     |<1>17          


                                                                


        |1989   |1990   |1991   |1992   |1993   |1994           


Army    |6      |9      |12     |14     |5      |<1>11          


Note:                                                           


<1> To date.                                                    


Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost of providing maintenance and security on the vacant dwellings owned by his Department for each year since 1990.

Mr. Soames: The cost of providing maintenance and security for surplus dwellings in the process of being sold was as follows: Financial year

1993 94--£231,000

1994 95--to date--£124,000


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Figures for previous years are not available. Security for empty dwellings which are not surplus to requirements is provided by the Ministry of Defence police and military patrols and costs are therefore not separately identifiable.

Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many dwellings owned by his Department have been sold to (a) local authorities and (b) housing associations since 1992.

Mr. Soames: The following numbers of dwellings have been sold to local authorities and housing associations since 1992:



Financial year       |Local authorities   |Housing associations                     


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


1992-93              |24                  |235                                      


1993-94              |27                  |97                                       


1994-95-to date      |Nil                 |237                                      


In addition, 120 flats at Rowner were sold to Barratts (Builders) in 1993 94. These will form part of a scheme involving a housing association.

Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many vacant dwellings are owned by his Department in each parliamentary constituency in Devon and Cornwall.

Mr. Soames: As at 30 September, my Department owned the following vacant dwellings in each parliamentary constituency in Devon and Cornwall:


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                                                           |Former married                                    


                         |Service married                  |quarters in the                                   


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


North Devon              |43              |0               |0               |43                               


Exeter                   |7               |0               |0               |7                                


Honiton                  |0               |0               |0               |0                                


Plymouth Devonport       |215             |5               |16              |236                              


Plymouth Drake           |8               |0               |0               |8                                


Plymouth Sutton          |58              |0               |0               |58                               


Torridge and West Devon  |11              |0               |0               |11                               


Falmouth and Camborne    |0               |0               |0               |0                                


North Cornwall           |158             |0               |2               |160                              


St. Ives                 |88              |0               |0               |88                               


South-east Cornwall      |13              |0               |0               |13                               


A large number of the vacant service married quarters were undergoing or awaiting major maintenance, held for future deployments, or formed part of the management margin needed to ensure that accommodation is available for entitled service families.

Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many dwellings owned by his Department are currently unoccupied.

Mr. Soames: As at 30 September my Department owned 11,995 vacant dwellings in the following categories:

Service married quarters -- 9,715

Former married quarters in the process of sale -- 2,014

Civilian houses -- 209

Former civilian houses in the process of sale -- 57

The majority of the vacant service married quarters were undergoing or awaiting major maintenance, held for future deployments, or formed part of the management margin needed to ensure that accommodation is available for entitled service families. Of the vacant civilian houses, 68 were leased properties awaiting return to Dumbarton


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district council, 91 were houses recently taken over from the United States air force awaiting occupation by Ministry of Defence police staff and the remainder were mainly properties in secure areas which could not be sold for security or safeguarding reasons.

HMS Sirius

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure was made by his Department on the refit of HMS Sirius; and when this work was carried out.

Mr. Freeman: The last refit of HMS Sirius was undertaken between October 1989 and May 1991 at a total cost of about £25 million.

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has for using HMS Sirius for missile target practice; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: Following her decommissioning in 1993, HMS Sirius was marketed extensively as an operational vessel to foreign navies. No such purchaser has, however,


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been found, and we are currently considering the best alternative route for her disposal, including her possible use as a target for weapon development. No decisions have, however, been taken.

Ships (Target Practice)

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which ships his Department has used for target practice during the past five years.


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Mr. Soames: Three decommissioned warships were used as targets and sunk in live firing exercises between 1990 and 1994. It is common practice for navies to test weapon effectiveness on surplus vessels which have had all reusable spares and equipment removed. Testing the effectiveness of a weapon against a realistic target is of particular value in the course of weapon development, which is an extremely expensive process. Such use of targets also provides valuable training.


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