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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 21 March 1997

DEFENCE

Armed Forces (Equipment)

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) tanks, (b) artillery pieces, (c) RAF fighter aircraft, (d) frigates and destroyers and (e) infantry were in the possession of United Kingdom armed forces in (i) 1979, (ii) 1990 and (iii) 1997. [14067]

Mr. Soames [holding answer 4 February 1997]: Since 1979, the circumstances in which we envisage British armed forces being deployed have changed dramatically. In particular, with the end of the cold war, and the dissolution of the Warsaw pact, we have been able to reduce the size of the front line while spending a higher proportion of the defence budget on new equipment for

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the services to enhance significantly their military capabilities. Each of the three services has taken delivery of new, advanced equipment including the Challenger 2 tank, AS90 howitzer, the Duke class type 23 frigate and advanced air-to-air missiles. In addition, orders have been placed for military equipment including the Apache attack helicopter and amphibious ships which will further enhance the fighting capability and mobility of the armed forces. The Government are, of course, also committed to the procurement of the Eurofighter 2000 aircraft.

Our forces are robustly configured to face the challenges of the post-cold war world and are the envy of their counterparts around the globe. The Government's forward procurement programme illustrates our commitment to ensuring that this remains the case.

The figures requested by the hon. Gentleman, which are set out in the table, should be considered in this context.

Details of Army equipment holdings are not available in the form requested or across the period concerned. The overall unit establishments for Regular armoured and field artillery regiments have therefore been given to indicate their required front-line strength in the designated years. The figures exclude equipment held by training and research establishments, in store as the war maintenance reserve or awaiting disposal.

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United Kingdom holdings of tanks, artillery, fighters, frigate and destroyers and infantry numbers, 1979 to 1997(1)

YearTanks(2)Artillery pieces(3)Fighters(4)Frigates and destroyersInfantry(5)
19796402821266945,600
1990699(6)2981574846,900
19973882401003531,900

(1) Figures are for 1 April except for 1997, where they reflect the situation at 1 January.

(2) Figures are for main battle tanks only and exclude armoured reconnaissance vehicles and armoured vehicles royal engineers.

(3) Figures are for field artillery pieces only and exclude air defence artillery, anti-tank guided weapon systems and, in 1979 and 1990, Lance sub-strategic nuclear missile launchers.

(4) Defined as those aircraft established in the air defence role, as indicated by statements on the Defence Estimates.

(5) Figures include British and Gurkha soldiers but exclude Royal Marines, and troops of the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Royal Irish Regiment (Home Service) battalions. Figures include soldier trainees.

(6) Includes the unit establishments for both M107 self-propelled guns and MLRS which was replacing them.


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Public Bodies

Dr. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which of the executive non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department have a statutory base; if he will list those bodies which (a) admit members of the public to all board and committee meetings and (b) hold open meetings for the public; and if in each case this is under a statutory requirement. [21450]

Mr. Soames: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Dr. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those of his Department's advisory non-departmental public bodies which the Government are required to (a) consult prior to legislative proposals and (b) publish their response to advice from. [21734]

Mr. Soames: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Dr. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which of the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department (a) hold public meetings,

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(b) conduct public consultation exercises, (c) conduct consultation exercises with outside commercial interests, (d) publish a register of members' interests, (e) publish agendas for meetings and (f) publish the minutes of meetings; and whether in each case this is under a statutory requirement. [21683]

Mr. Soames: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Dr. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which of the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department (a) have a statutory base, (b) publish their advice to Government, (c) publish an annual report and (d) lay an annual report before Parliament; and if he will indicate in each instance whether this is (i) under a statutory requirement or (ii) voluntary. [21690]

Mr. Soames: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

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Advisory Bodies (London)

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the non-elected bodies responsible to his Department which are responsible for providing advice or services in London, indicating in each case the (i) overall budget and (ii) estimated running costs for each year from 1996-97 to 1999-2000. [21378]

Mr. Soames: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Organophosphates

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will update his answer of 11 July 1994, Official Report, column 436, on the use of organophosphate insecticides in Operation Granby, in light of the memorandum submitted by his Department to the Defence Select Committee on 26 February. [21593]

Mr. Soames: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Gulf War Syndrome

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library the briefing material prepared by his Department in support of the appearance by the then Minister for the Armed Forces, the right hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley), on BBC2's "Newsnight" programme on 5 July 1993 in respect of Gulf War illness. [18378]

Mr. Soames: No. The briefing material has been withheld under the terms of the internal discussion and advice exemption in part 2 of the code of practice on access to Government information.

OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION

Crown Agents

Mr. Robert Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the transfer of Crown Agents to the Crown Agents Foundation has now been completed. [21789]

Dr. Liam Fox: Vesting of Crown Agents under the provisions of the Crown Agents Act 1996 into The Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Administrations Ltd. and the transfer of ownership of that company to the Crown Agents Foundation took place today.

Global Environment Facility

Mr. Robert Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has received copies of the second annual report of the Global Environment Facility; and if he will arrange for a copy to be placed in the Library. [21788]

Dr. Liam Fox: Copies of the second annual report of the Global Environment Facility have recently been received. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

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Aid Donors

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the 20 largest overseas aid donors in descending order, indicating the total amount of aid given by each donor country.[21494]

Dr. Liam Fox: In 1995, total flows of official assistance from 21 members of the OECD's development assistance committee to developing and other countries on parts I and II of the DAC list were as follows, in descending order:

DonorUS$ million
1. Japan14,739
2. Germany12,038
3. France9,191
4. USA8,647
5. UK3,563
6. Netherlands3,531
7. Canada2,317
8. Italy1,909
9. Denmark1,904
10. Sweden1,809
11. Spain1,348
12. Norway1,244
13. Australia1,198
14. Switzerland1,186
15. Belgium1,123
16. Austria1,080
17. Finland464
18. Portugal293
19. Ireland155
20. New Zealand123
21. Luxembourg65

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list in descending order the 20 largest overseas aid donors on a per capita basis indicating the amount of aid per capita given by each donor country. [21495]

Dr. Fox: In per capita terms, the 21 members of the OECD's development assistance committee provided the following levels of official assistance to developing and other countries on parts I and II of the DAC list in 1995:

DonorTotal assistance per capita (US$ millions)
1. Denmark363
2. Norway285
3. Netherlands228
4. Sweden205
5. Switzerland168
6. Luxembourg167
7. France158
8. Germany147
9. Austria134
10. Japan117
11. Belgium112
12. Finland91
13. Canada78
14. Australia66
15. UK61
16. Ireland43
17. New Zealand34
18. Spain34
19. Italy33
20. USA33
21. Portugal29

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