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Surveillance Towers (Northern Ireland)

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total annual cost of staffing and maintaining surveillance towers (a) at the hilltop sites in the South Armagh area, (b) the two towers in Derry and (c) the three posts mounted on blocks of flats in Belfast. [64204]

Mr. Doug Henderson: I refer my hon. Friend to the written answer given by my right hon. Friend the then Minister for the Armed Forces on 6 November 1997, Official Report, column 320.

Scotland Act 1998 (Schedule 5)

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the offices or agencies under his control which will be subject to L.2 of Head L in Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998; how many people are currently employed in these offices; and what equal opportunities practices are adopted in these offices. [63804]

Mr. Doug Henderson: There were some 23,200 Service and civilian personnel based at 116 locations in Scotland, as at 1 April 1998 (the most recent date for which figures are available). All of these personnel will continue to be subject to the appropriate UK legislation. For the 10,000 civilian personnel this involves compliance with the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, listed in Head L2 of Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act, as well as Departmental policies against unfair discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, age and religious belief. In order for the Armed Forces to maintain combat effectiveness they are granted an exemption from the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, in Section 85(4) of the Act, and from the employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Current policy is also that homosexuals are not allowed to serve in the Armed Forces; this issue will be reviewed in the lifetime of this Parliament. Aside from these specific exceptions the Armed Forces are committed to equality of opportunity irrespective of gender, religion, ethnic or social background and vigorous policies are in place to ensure that this is achieved.

Service Women (Pregnancy)

Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what total expenditure his Department has incurred to date in the payment of claims for compensation by service women required to leave the armed forces on grounds of pregnancy. [64010]

Mr. Doug Henderson: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 10 December 1998, Official Report, column 257 to the hon. Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne).

Louise Jensen

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost to his Department of the defence of the British soldiers convicted of causing the death of a Danish tour guide in Cyprus. [63343]

15 Dec 1998 : Column: 446

Mr. Doug Henderson: The costs of the defence and subsequent appeal of the soldiers convicted of causing the death of the Danish tour guide were met by the Army Legal Aid scheme, and have been £260K to date. This figure does not include the cost of the appeals process which has only recently concluded.

The Army Legal Aid scheme provides legal assistance to Army personnel similar to that available in this country to ensure that they are not placed at a disadvantage when tried overseas in a civil criminal court; the scheme is funded by my Department.

Polo Ponies

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many polo ponies the British Army owns; and in which countries they are based. [63990]

Mr. Doug Henderson: The British Army does not own polo ponies. All military horses maintained by the Army fulfil either ceremonial duties or work in the Army School of Equitation.

Ethnic Monitoring

Mr. McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to include Irish as a category in his Department's ethnic monitoring of staff recruitment. [63878]

Mr. Spellar: My Department's ethnic monitoring of Service and civilian recruitment is based solely on an applicant's ethnicity. The nine ethnic origin categories monitored by my Department are those used in the 1991 census which did not include an Irish category. They will be reviewed in the light of any suggested changes for the 2001 Population Census.

Hunting

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the cost since 1 May 1997 of supplying military police to protect huntsmen on MOD land from potential activity by anti-hunt protesters. [63638]

Mr. Spellar: Military Police are not involved with hunts, so no costs have been incurred from protecting huntsmen.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the occasions since 1 May 1997 when authorisation has been given for MOD land to be used for hunting; and if he will indicate those occasions when hunting occurred on land designated as a site of special scientific interest, giving for each occasion the location of the SSSI. [63637]

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

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what charges have been made and to which hunts for the use of MOD land since 1 May 1997. [63634]

15 Dec 1998 : Column: 447

Mr. Spellar: The table shows charges which have been paid since 1 May 1997 allowing hunting with hounds to take place over the Defence Estate.

15 Dec 1998 : Column: 448

The following charges have been paid since 1 May 1997 allowing hunting with hounds to take place over the Defence estate:

15 Dec 1998 : Column: 447

HuntCharges since 1 May 1997 (£) Comments
Tanatside Hunt158.75
North Shropshire Hunt179.37
Surrey Union Hunt398.13
Blankney Hunt208.75
Essex and Suffolk Hunt405.75
Thorney Island Hunt39.38The previous Commanding Officer used to invite the Hunt onto the Island for one day a year--this has now ceased
East Kent Hunt172.75
South Pembrokeshire Hunt39.60
Sennybridge Hunt160.89
Brecon and Talybont Hunt160.89
Irfon and Tywi Hunt160.89
Taunton Vale Foxhounds80.00There is a reciprocal agreement in place whereby land is licenced to the MOD
West of Yore Hunt170.18
Bedale Hunt170.18
Zetland Hunt170.18
Wensleydale Hunt36.43
Ullswater Foxhounds152.37
Lunesdale Foxhounds57.12
Border Hunt175.12
West Percy Hunt175.12
Avon Vale Hunt375.00
Tedworth Hunt125.00
Royal Artillery Hunt225.00
South and West Wiltshire Hunt225.00
Bewcastle Hunt177.22Licence to pass over MOD land only
Tynedale Hunt233.62Licence to pass over MOD land only

15 Dec 1998 : Column: 447

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the occasions since 1 May 1997 when his Departments' buildings have been used for purposes connected with hunting. [63633]

Mr. Spellar: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the MOD units which have hunt kennels on their land, indicating in each case the rent charged for the use of these kennels. [63635]

Mr. Spellar: The MOD units which have hunt kennels on their land are as follows:






An encroachment is granted for authorised sporting, recreational and welfare activities in accordance with guidelines in the Joint Services Publication 362 Defence Lands Handbook, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which MOD units permit their personnel to hunt during normal working hours, with particular reference to the Wednesday afternoon sports period. [63636]

15 Dec 1998 : Column: 448

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

Scotland Act 1998 (Schedule 5)

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) total expenditure and (b) expenditure by programme by his Department in Scotland on areas covered by the exception under E.3 of Head E in Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998. [63803]

Mr. Doug Henderson: This information is not held and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. I thus regret I am unable to answer under Exemption 9 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.


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