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Principle Anti-air Missile Systems

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many medium-range Principle anti-air missile systems the United Kingdom has developed in the last three years. [103033]

Mr. Kilfoyle: One.

Troop Movements

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK troops will be transferred from East Timor to (a) Brunei and (b) the UK at the end of December. [103060]

Mr. Hoon: All UK troops, with the exception of two UN Monitoring Observers, returned from East Timor before the end of December. A total of 284 troops were transferred from East Timor, with 46 returning to the UK

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and 238 returning to Brunei. The withdrawal started on 8 December, following confirmation from the INTERFET Commander, Major-General Cosgrove, that their tasks were complete. The final contingent of Gurkhas arrived back in Brunei on 10 December and UK-based troops arrived home on 17 December.

Asymmetric Warfare

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received on the United Kingdom's asymmetric warfare; and if he will make a statement. [103032]

Mr. Spellar: My Department continually monitors and assesses threats to UK interests, whether they are conventional in nature or "asymmetric". The analysis influences our defence policy and planning to ensure that British defence capability is well placed to respond to the threats and opportunities we face now and may face in the future. The subject of asymmetric warfare is so broad as to appear frequently in representations and debates on defence and security policy.

DERA (PPP Proposals)

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a list of the organisations and individuals who responded to the consultation document on the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency public private partnership proposals published by his Department in May. [103183]

Mr. Kilfoyle: I have today placed in the Library of the House a list showing all the non-Governmental organisations that have provided written responses to the DERA PPP consultation document. Some responses, for example from trade associations, represented a consolidated view from a number of organisations consulted as part of their own consultation process. Similarly, a number of organisations and individuals responded orally through participation in consultation events. For reasons of confidentiality, the list does not include the names of individuals who responded on a personal basis, either to the Ministry of Defence or through their Member of Parliament.

Gulf Veterans

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what meetings officials from the Gulf Veterans' Illnesses Unit were held with officials of the United States Department of Veteran Affairs between January and December 1998; (a) on what dates and (b) where each meeting took place; and for which section of the United States Department of Veteran Affairs the officials who attended each meeting worked. [103149]

Mr. Spellar: During 1998, officials from my Department's Gulf Veterans Illnesses Unit visited Washington DC on the following occasions: 16-18 February; 14-20 June; 26 September-3 October and 23-26 November. They would have met officials representing the US Department of Veterans Affairs on these occasions. In the time available, it has not proved possible to trace records of the meetings to establish in which sections of the Department of Veterans Affairs these officials worked. I will write to the hon. Gentleman if this information can be found.

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In addition to the above, a member of the Gulf Veterans Illness Unit (GVIU) based in Washington DC maintains continuous dialogue with United States Department of Veterans Affairs colleagues.

Ministerial Meetings

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times Ministers in his Department met members and officials on the United States Government between 2 May 1997 and 1 January 1998; on what dates and at which locations; and which (a) Ministers and (b) US counterparts and officials attended each meeting. [103181]

Mr. Kilfoyle: Between 2 May 1997 and 1 January 1998, MOD Ministers met US Government members and officials on the following occasions:

For the Armed Forces
4 July 1997The right hon. John Dalton, Secretary US Navy--in UK
15 October 1997Dr. John Hamre, Under Secretary--in US
16 October 1997The hon. Togo West, Secretary of the Army--in US
Defence Procurement
1 July 1997Joe Reeder, US Secretary of State of the Navy--in UK
6 October 1997The hon. John Dalton, Secretary of the Navy--in US
6 October 1997Dr. John Hamre, Deputy Secretary of Defense--in US
8 October 1997The hon. William Cohen, Secretary of Defense--in US

Full records of the officials present at these meetings are not kept.

Departmental Productivity

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he is taking to increase the productivity and reduce the running costs of his Department. [103847]

Mr. Spellar: Delivering efficient and modern public services is a key part of the Government's agenda for improving productivity. Greater efficiency is being sought within the public sector to ensure that the most effective results are obtained from available resources. The Ministry of Defence's (MOD) Public Service Agreement (PSA) sets out the objectives, key targets and resources for the MOD and the Armed Forces, and includes a range of measures to ensure that the budget allocated to defence purchases the maximum capability for the Armed Forces and fulfils the plans set out in the Strategic Defence Review.

The key measures from the PSA that will help raise the Department's productivity are shown below:

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    The Department is committed to slimming down its central headquarters organisation, which has already reduced by 30 per cent. since 1990; and to reducing the planned number of office buildings to be occupied to two (from 24 in 1990).

    The Department is developing a strategy for better management and utilisation of the overall defence estate, including the realisation of gross receipts of more than £700 million from the sale of surplus property.

    MOD will regularly and systematically review all services and activities not directly associated with front line forces over a five year period in line with Government policy, "Better Quality Services". The Department will pursue private sector involvement in MOD business, where it provides best value for money, through Public/Private Partnership initiatives.

The MOD is on track to meet the targets described above. The Defence White Paper 1999 (Cm 4446) and the Ministry of Defence Performance Report 1998-99 (Cm 4520), which were published on 20 December 1999, describe the progress that has been made in implementing the Strategic Defence Review and against the targets set in the MOD's PSA.

Departmental Employees (Early Retirement)

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many employees of his Department took early retirement packages and at what total cost, in the financial year 1996-97. [103362]

Mr. Kilfoyle: Early departure packages are available for staff over 50 years of age (classed as retirement) and under 50 years of age (classed as severance). The total number of early leavers, including voluntary and compulsory redundancies, caused by reductions and geographical relocations (but excluding Trading Fund Agencies) were 1,712 in Financial Year 1996-97. The total is broken down by category in the table.

Retirement categoryCategory sub-totalTotal
Approved early retirement--109
Actuarially reduced retirement--11
Compulsory early retirement/Severance:
CER on Structural grounds30--
CER on Redundancy grounds595--
CES on Structural grounds14--
CES on Redundancy grounds443--
CER/CES total--1,082
Flexible early retirement/severance:
FER on Structural grounds73--
FER on Limited Postability6--
FES on Structural grounds1--
FES on Limited Postability5--
FER/FES total--85
Voluntary redundancy
Voluntary Redundancy (CER terms)214--
Voluntary Redundancy (CES terms)211--
Voluntary Redundancy total--425

Financial Year 1996-97 represented the final round of the Department's "Options for Change" review and most of the early leavers left as a consequence of the review. The total cost to the Ministry of Defence in Financial Year 1996-97 was £61.181 million. This represents the cost of the initial and annual compensation, and any lump sum payments for retirements that took place in that year. The annual compensation payment for staff over 50 years of age at the point of leaving continues to be met by the MOD until individuals reach the minimum retirement age of 60 years.

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