Previous Section Index Home Page

Sri Lanka

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the military assistance he has given to the Sri Lankan Government during the last two years. [108014]

Mr. Spellar: During the period 1 January 1998 to 31 January 2000 personnel from my Department have provided the following military assistance to the Sri Lankan Government:

    Advice to the Sri Lankan Joint Operations Bureau on the concept and organisation of Joint Forces and Joint Service formations.

    Training and advice to the Sri Lankan Army Medical Corps on battlefield life saving measures.

    Advice to the Sri Lankan military on explosives ordnance disposal.

    Advice and engineering training on the C130 transport aircraft for 15 ground engineers and technicians from the Sri Lankan Air Force.

Additionally, nine Sri Lankan military personnel have attended MOD-run professional courses in the UK. Courses attended are: The Royal Navy Young Officers Course, The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Commissioning Course, The All Arms Drill Instructors Course, The RAF's Basic Instructional Techniques Course and The Royal College of Defence Studies Course.

MOD funded the explosives ordnance disposal advice and part funded Sri Lankan attendance on the 1999 RCDS course. All other military assistance was funded either by the Sri Lankans or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Territorial Army

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list by arm or corps (a) the intervals between

2 Feb 2000 : Column: 587W

emergency operational tours as at 1 July 1999 and (b) the proportionate manpower cuts taken by each arm or corps in the latest reorganisation of the Territorial Army. [107412]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 1 February 2000]: The average theoretical operational tour interval as at 1 July 1999 for those Arms and Corps for which figures are readily available are set out in the table. These figures reflect the high level of operational commitments that was being experienced at the time: this level of commitment has reduced significantly since then with the reductions in force levels in the Balkans. Figures for the other arms/corps are not routinely calculated.

Arm/CorpsTour interval (months)
Royal Armoured Corps12
Royal Artillery18
Royal Engineers7
Royal Signals6

The following table shows the proportionate TA manpower reduction for the same arms/corps:

Arm/CorpsManpower reduction (Percentage)
Royal Armoured Corps49
Royal Artillery25
Royal Engineers51
Royal Signals(1)--

(1) No reduction

RAF Future Procurement

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to make a decision on the future strategic transport aircraft and tactical transport aircraft for the RAF. [104402]

Dr. Moonie: We hope to be in a position to make a decision on our Short Term Strategic Airlift programmes early this year.

Staff Bonuses

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department, its agencies and associated public bodies spent in total on extra bonuses above usual payments for staff working over the new year period; what were the (a) maximum and (b) minimum bonuses paid; how many people received the (i) maximum and (ii) minimum bonuses paid; and if he will make a statement. [104484]

Dr. Moonie: In addition to the normal bank holiday rates of double time, MOD civilian staff below the Senior Civil Service were entitled to claim an additional plain time rate for hours worked in a limited period either side of midnight on 31 December 1999, and also receive a lump sum payment of £100. It is too early to know how many staff will claim such payments or what the total cost will be but the numbers involved will only be a very small proportion of the Department's employees.

2 Feb 2000 : Column: 588W

Departmental Land (Access Rights)

Mr. Michael J. Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what rights of access currently exist for walkers on his Department's land. [105498]

Dr. Moonie: There is a presumption of access to MOD land wherever this is consistent with military activities, the health and safety of the public, environmental and conservation considerations, and the interests of our tenants. There have been leaflets and publications available for some years, most notably the booklet "Walks on MOD Lands", giving information about access opportunities on the Defence Estate. A copy of this booklet will be placed in the Library of the House. My Department is working to improve both public access and the provision of information. The booklet is currently under review and a revision will be published later in the year. Work is also being undertaken to develop an access website.

C-130J Transport Aircraft

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations he has received on the trials of the C-130J transport aircraft; and if he will make a statement. [106156]

Dr. Moonie: I am not aware of any such representations.

BBC World Service

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the votes and subheads for the funds which cover his Department's financial contribution to BBC World Service monitoring; and if he will make a statement on their purpose. [106863]

Dr. Moonie: BBC Monitoring provides a valued information service to Government. Rapid reporting of open source information from around the world is an important aspect of the work of the MOD and other parts of Government. The MOD contribution is 40 per cent. of BBC's Monitoring funding, and is included within the expenditure shown within Class VI, Vote 1, Part II, Section J of the MOD's Supply Estimates 1999-2000, a copy of which is in the Library.

Departmental Savings

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence above what level a saving from an individual efficiency measure must be reported to his Department by budget-holders. [107414]

Mr. Spellar: The normal delegations of financial authority to budget holders set reporting levels for expenditure not savings. There is no specific financial level of savings for which current individual efficiency measures must be reported to MOD HQ. Individual measures are reported if the budget holder considers them significant, in line with their delegated authority.

With the introduction of Resource Accounting and Budgeting in the MOD, Top Level Budget holders will in the future be required to report individual efficiency measures reducing expenditure by more than £0.5 million in any year compared to the previous year.

2 Feb 2000 : Column: 589W

Adventure Training

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the decision no longer to employ full-time civilian adventure training instructors for the Army in Germany following the 1998 Review of Adventure Training was scored as an efficiency savings measure for budget purposes. [107410]

Mr. Spellar: The arrangements for Adventurous Training in Germany have recently been restructured. The training has been more closely focused on military requirements and the number of individuals trained reduced. The facilities are now paid for entirely from public funds, rather than from a mix of public and non-public funds as previously. No efficiency savings have been scored as a result of these changes.

Horizon Programme

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what were the lessons learned which will be built into the Smart Procurement Initiative from the outcome of the Horizon Programme; and if he will make a statement. [107042]

Dr. Moonie: I am pleased to say that the principal "lessons learned" from the outcome of the Horizon programme covering procurement strategy, risk reduction, communication with industry at an early stage of the project, and affordability have already been built into the Smart Procurement Initiative, thus ensuring that they will be applied in all future circumstances. Other lessons included work share arrangements. The involvement of trans-national companies and OCCAR are likely to be helpful in dealing with work share issues. These types of issues will be taken into account as Smart Procurement Implementation progresses.

Land Mines

Mr. Martin Bell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which Governments and private companies were involved in the sale of land mines formerly held by UK armed forces; and if he will make a statement. [107272]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 28 January 2000]: All UK operational stocks of anti-personnel mines (APMs) as defined under the Ottawa Convention were destroyed by 19 October 1999 as the Convention required. None of these stocks were sold, either to Governments, or to private companies. Details of historical holdings of APMs by UK armed forces would not be available without disproportionate cost.

Next Section Index Home Page