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Typhoon Aircraft

Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what air interception capability will exist for Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft upon the exhaustion of the aircraft's air to air missile armament. [121676]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 May 2000]: None. However, it is unlikely that a cannon would be of use in such a scenario as the risk would remain that aircraft could be engaged by missiles from well outside the gun's range.

Property Procurement

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much was spent by each service and Ministry of Defence agency on new buildings and land in each of the past three years; [121597]

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Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 May 2000]: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Eurofighter

Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if the Mauser 27mm cannon specified for the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft will be installed in aircraft of Tranche 1 of the production programme for the Royal Air Force; [121683]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 May 2000]: The Mauser 27mm cannon will be installed in Tranche 1 Eurofighter aircraft for the royal Air Force. However, we are not planning to procure stocks of spares or ammunition following our decision not to use the gun, or to fit it to subsequent tranches of aircraft.

Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what instruction he gave to the Defence Sales organisation of his Department on the inclusion of Mauser 27mm cannon in Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for sale to the Greek Air Force. [121679]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 May 2000]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State of Defence has given no instructions to officials concerning the weapons configuration for Eurofighter sales to the Greek Air Force. This is a matter for the Greek Government and Eurofighter GmbH with which they are negotiating the sale.

I welcome the benefits to the UK Defence Industry that the proposed sale will bring and my Department will continue to support that sale through the Defence Export Services Organisation, providing advice and assistance where we are able.

Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment was made of the cost effectiveness of Mauser 27mm cannon armament for the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft of the Royal Air Force in (a) airspace policing in peacetime and (b) ground attack missions. [121678]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 May 2000]: We have assessed that the minimal operational utility of the Mauser cannon on Eurofighter in any role is outweighed by its support, fatigue and training cost implications, particularly given the capability of the advanced short- range air-to-air missiles with which the aircraft will be armed.

Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the benefits of commonality of armament and interoperability for the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft in the four nation production programme. [121682]

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Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 May 2000]: Potential benefits in commonality and interoperability between the four partner nations are a fundamental consideration when taking decisions on the Eurofighter programme.

Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what combat advantages will be derived for Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft from the elimination of the Mauser 27mm cannon not possessed by the equivalent gun equipped aircraft in service with the Italian, German and Spanish air forces. [121684]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 May 2000]: The advantages in deleting the Mauser cannon from our Eurofighter aircraft derive from avoiding the support, fatigue and cost implications which we would otherwise have to bear. These implications more than outweigh the minimal combat value in retaining the gun, particularly given the advanced short-range air-to-air missiles with which Eurofighter will be armed.

Iraq

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if RAF aircraft have used cluster bombs against targets in the (a) southern and (b) northern Iraq no-fly zones. [122230]

Mr. Hoon: No.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Millennium Summit

Ms Kingham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what preparations her Department is making for the UN Millennium Summit in September. [121517]

Clare Short: The Millennium Summit will be an important opportunity for the world's leaders to put the International Development Targets for poverty elimination at the top of the international agenda. The emphasis on poverty elimination in the Secretary General's Millennium Report provides a good starting-point for discussion of this issue at the Summit. My officials will discuss with the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in London whether there are opportunities around the Millennium Report and Summit to raise awareness in the UK of the poverty elimination agenda and the UN's role. My Department, with the FCO, is providing funding for representatives from the least developed countries to attend the Millennium Forum, which will bring together the views of civil society world-wide as a contribution to the Summit.

Zambia

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she estimates Zambia will reach its (a) decision point and (b) completion point in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. [121779]

Clare Short: I hope that Zambia will reach its Decision Point under the revised Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative within the next nine months. We are disappointed that only five countries have, so far, come forward under the revised Initiative, and are pleased that, as we advocated, the World bank and IMF have agreed to

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set up a joint committee to oversee the implementation of HIPC. In order to reach its Decision Point and begin to receive debt relief, there are also actions that Zambia has to undertake. The Government have already begun work on developing their interim poverty reduction strategy, which I welcome. They also need to agree quickly and implement a programme of economic reform with the IMF.

In revising the HIPC Initiative last year, it was agreed that Completion Points would be "floating", that is, the requirement would be for countries to fulfil agreed conditions, rather than reaching Completion after three years. It is too early to say, at this stage, when Zambia will reach its Completion Point. I continue to emphasise that, in our view, the main condition for a country to complete the HIPC process should be the production of a high quality poverty strategy, based on sound analysis and extensive consultation.

Anti-drugs Measures

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will have discussions with mycologists at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh before endorsing a programme submitted by the UN International Drug Control Programme for field trials of fusarium oxysporum as a weapon against coca growing in Columbia and Peru. [121080]

Clare Short: My Department has not been asked either to endorse or fund the UNDCP's research into the use of fusarium oxysporum as a control agent against coca crops in Colombia. My officials have, however, discussed the planned research with mycologists widely in the UK, including at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. I understand that UNDCP are working closely with the UN Environmental Programme to ensure that all precautions are taken and that risks are eliminated.

SCOTLAND

Police Forces

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many police forces in Scotland have the Crown as part of their (a) crest and (b) cap badge. [121463]

Dr. Reid: The crest of the Scottish police service incorporates the Crown. The eight Scottish police forces have a common cap badge incorporating a representation of the Scottish police service crest. Two of the eight forces (Lothian and Borders Police and Fife Constabulary) have individual crests in the form of a coat of arms granted by the Lord Lyon. Both of these also incorporate the Crown.


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