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Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department's priorities are in Rwanda for the financial year 2000-01. [122691]

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Clare Short: Last week I made my third visit to Rwanda and saw for myself the progress being made by the Government and the people to overcome the legacy of genocide. I also saw evidence of the severe challenges which Rwanda must overcome if the Government's objectives for poverty elimination, peace and reconciliation are to be achieved. My Department's main priority in Rwanda for 2000-01 is to work with Government in a collaborative effort to meet these challenges.

We will support Government's own efforts to develop the poverty reduction strategies needed to secure HIPC debt relief. We will provide flexible recurrent budget support to facilitate increased social sector spending, particularly on education and will expand our capacity building support to help Government strengthen its social sector planning and delivery mechanisms. We will be supporting Government's efforts to improve skills at all levels and will be helping Government take full advantage of new opportunities in the field of information and communications technology.

We plan to hold development talks with Government later this year to discuss the detail of future UK support and to develop further the positive dialogue already established on a range of economic, social and political challenges facing Government.

India (Dalit Community)

Mr. McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance is provided by her Department for the Dalit community in India. [120299]

Clare Short: The Indian constitution provides dalits (scheduled castes) with a range of guarantees of equality and affirmative action. Yet, while policies and a wide range of government schemes exist to provide them with services, patchy implementation and discriminatory social attitudes continue to retard progress. DFID is working with government to improve services and to demonstrate and replicate systems to promote access for scheduled castes and other marginalised groups.

For example, DFID supports the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP), which is designed to increase access to quality primary education for all, with special measures to reach scheduled castes and other marginalised groups such as scheduled tribes.

We also support efforts to empower individuals and groups from scheduled castes and other marginalised communities. DFID's Poorest Areas Civil Society Programme aims to support civil society initiatives which empower poor people in the poorest districts to realise their rights. Scheduled castes will be a major target group for this programme which will support initiatives in five areas: self-governance; women's empowerment; policy advocacy; social cohesion; and self help to meet basic needs.

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Opinion Research

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Solicitor-General how much his Department spent on opinion research in the financial year 1999-2000. [123251]

The Solicitor-General: Nothing was spent on opinion research, by which is understood opinion research for marketing purposes, in the financial year 1999-2000.

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Solicitor-General if he will list opinion research projects undertaken on behalf of his Department in the financial year 1999-2000 itemising (a) focus group research, (b) quantitative surveys and (c) other market research surveys and in each case stating when and where the results were published. [123252]

The Solicitor-General: No opinion research projects were undertaken by my Department during the financial year 1999-2000.


Naval Vessels

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the planned service life of (a) HMS London, (b) HMS Beaver, (c) HMS Boxer and (d) HMS Brave; and what was the forecast date for withdrawal from Royal Navy service, prior to the decision in the Strategic Defence Review to dispose of them. [121704]

Mr. Spellar: The planned service for each ship was 18 years. The additional information is given in the table.

ShipPre-SDR date for withdrawal
HMS London28 February 2005
HMS Beaver31 December 2002
HMS Boxer31 January 2002
HMS Brave29 February 2004

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what have been the running costs of each of the Royal Navy's Type 42 destroyers for each of the past five years. [121706]

Mr. Spellar: The running costs of each of the Royal Naval's Type 42 destroyers for each of the past five years are contained in the following table. This includes repair and maintenance, manpower, fuel and other costs such as port and harbour dues. Year-on-year variations are largely attributable to refit periods.

£ million

HMS Birmingham32.2816.9217.3813.3810.39
HMS Cardiff19.8641.2028.8613.2017.87
HMS Newcastle32.6031.6018.5713.9013.73
HMS Glasgow14.7029.4726.3613.6112.65
HMS Exeter19.4615.7240.8312.7614.48
HMS Southampton16.5320.3717.9139.0918.79
HMS Nottingham18.7017.2419.0813.0832.74
HMS Liverpool16.9220.7514.5914.7914.63
HMS Manchester17.9919.4014.5812.2212.69
HMS Gloucester19.3319.4013.8921.4915.77
HMS Edinburgh35.2719.2922.5013.0012.28
HMS York20.4819.7917.5011.7821.88

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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence under what terms and conditions staff from the DERA workforce will be transferred to a new organisation after the split of DERA; if the conditions of service for those who remain will stay the same; and if he will make a statement. [122380]

Mr. Hoon: Staff transferring to the NewDERA organisation would have their terms and conditions protected under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) regulations. This means that staff transferring to the private NewDERA organisation would transfer with their existing terms and conditions. The Cabinet Office "Statement of Practice on Staff Transfers in the Public Sector" covers the conditions of service for staff remaining in the Ministry of Defence. The principle is that these staff should be treated no less favourably than if TUPE regulations had been applied to them. These matters are part of the consultation process on DERA PPP which is currently underway and which is scheduled to be completed on 9 June 2000.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will list the name, size and location of DERA-owned sites within the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement; [122378]

Mr. Hoon: This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from John Chisholm to Mr. Mike Hancock, dated 22 May 2000:

I am replying to your parliamentary questions about the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) estate as responsibility for operational matters such as these fall to me as the Chief Executive of the agency.
I attach at annex a list showing the name, size and location of DERA owned sites within the United Kingdom. These sites where the freehold of either all or part of the land has been vested to DERA. You ask what plans there are to sell part of this land before the privatisation of the agency. As you know, the future of DERA is currently the subject of a consultation document. MOD's proposals envisage that around three quarters of DERA would be turned into a company (for planning purposes this is referred to as NewDERA) which would be floated on the stockmarket as soon as its potential is judged to be suitably developed. This could be during 2001, though the precise timing has yet to be determined and will be influenced by the results of the consultation process.
In parallel to this process, as part of our normal strategic planning, the estate, as you would expect, is kept under continuous review. This process is expected to continue regardless of any privatisation considerations. As the precise transaction point for NewDERA has yet to be decided, I cannot say whether any currently planned land sales would take place before or after any flotation. We have, however, been planning to sell off the Chertsey and Bromley

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(Aquila) sites since 1997; these announcements were first made public in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review. The timing of these disposals will depend on progress with respect to the relocation of our staff and our negotiations with the local authorities. In addition, two smaller sites (West Drayton and Farnborough Queen's site) are to be closed in May and September, respectively, of this year. Whilst they are likely to be sold, no firm dates have been fixed for this disposal. Thus, the total number of sites that potentially could be sold prior to any proposed flotation of DERA is four.
I hope the above explains the situation.

List of DERA owned sites

Cody Site150Farnborough, Hants
Queen's Gate Site2Farnborough, Hants
Engine Test Facilities230Pyestock, Hants
Communication Station75Cobbet Hill, Guildford, Surrey
Boscombe Down Airfield585Boscombe Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire
Chemical and Biological Defence (CBD)2,620Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire
DERA Fort Halstead135Sevenoaks, Kent
DERA Chertsey120Chertsey, Surrey
The Maultway100Bagshot, Surrey
Aquila10Bromley, Kent
DERA Bedford70Clapham, Bedford
Christchurch(2)3Christchurch, Dorset
DERA Portsdown13Portsdown, Hants
DERA Bincleaves3Weymouth, Dorset
DERA Fraser1Eastney, Portsmouth, Hants
DERA Funtington16Chichester, West Sussex
DERA Haslar(2)30Gosport, Hants
DERA West Drayton2West Drayton, Middx
DERA Malvern30Malvern, Worcs
Hutton Moor6North Somerset
DERA Aberporth170Aberport Ceredigion
DERA Pershore130Pershore, Worcs
Kyle of Lochalsh2Highland
Loch Fyne1Argyll and Bute
Loch Goil3Argyll
Clyde Barons Point1Argyll and Bute
Clyde Rosneath3Rosneath
Drunmore Harbour pier0.3Dumfries and Galloway
DERA Eskmeals(2)1,600Cumbria
DERA Pendine2,240Carmarthenshire
Portpatrick0.1Dumfries and Galloway
Portland Bill10Weymouth
Portland Grove Point0.1Weymouth
Rona Ranges60Kyle of Lochalsh, Ross-shire
DERA Shoeburyness17,270Southend-on-Sea, Essex
Potton Island400Essex
Foulness Island70Essex
West Freugh1,850Dumfries and Galloway
DERA Hurn260East Dorset
Llanbedr465Llanbedr, Gwynedd

(1) Approximate hectares

(2) These sites are a mixture of freehold and leased land


Sizes are approximate and have been rounded

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the extent to which the part-privatisation of DERA will lead to (a) compulsory and (b) voluntary redundancies; and if he will make a statement; [122978]

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Mr. Hoon: It has never been an objective of the Public Private Partnership for DERA to reduce staff numbers and indeed the opportunities provided by this process to develop new markets for DERA's products should have a positive effect on job prospects.

Staff numbers within DERA have varied in response to customer requirements and changes in the funding available for defence research. There has been such rebalancing in DERA over the last seven to eight years. This process is independent of PPP and would be expected to continue. As a general rule we would seek to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible. However, this would be subject to the need to ensure that the organisation can continue to meet the requirements placed by the Ministry of Defence and other customers.

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