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Military Forces (Northern Ireland)

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the overall strength in September (a) 1998 and (b) 1999 was of military forces in Northern Ireland, broken down into the numbers attached to the (i) RAF, (ii) Royal Navy (iii) RIR, (iv) RIR part-time and (v) others. [101866]

Mr. Spellar: Pursuant to the reply I gave on 15 December 1999, Official Report, columns 217-18W, it may be helpful to make it clear that, excluding those forces referred to in the footnotes as being based outside Northern Ireland, the strength figures for military forces deployed to the Province are as follows:

Strength 1998 Strength 1999
Army (General Service)9,5578,843
Royal Air Force1,1521,150
Royal Navy321182
The Royal Irish Regiment (Home Service Full-time)2,6272,536
The Royal Irish Regiment (Home Service Part-time)1,9611,841

Smart Trajectory Artillery Round

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated cost of the Smart Trajectory Artillery Round. [103059]

20 Dec 1999 : Column: 364W

Mr. Kilfoyle: 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 Sir John Chisholm to Mr. Mike Hancock, dated 20 December 1999:

    The STAR programme is an industry led programme. The team is led by Thomson-Thorn Missiles & Electronics; the other members are BAe Systems Royal Ordnance, Rockwell Collins and DERA. The programme started in 1997 and the first phase, technology demonstration, was completed towards the end of 1999. The purpose of the programme is to develop a product that would satisfy a perceived MOD requirement.

    The cost of the STAR fuze is a commercial decision to be taken by the industry team after consideration of the likely full development costs and the size of the potential market for this type of product.

    I hope this explains the situation.

HMS Tireless

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Spearfish Mod warshot heavyweight torpedoes are being installed on HMS Tireless. [103058]

Mr. Spellar: HMS Tireless has been converted to carry the Spearfish Heavyweight torpedo. The exact number embarked at any time is determined by the operational requirement.

Jaguar Aircraft

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Jaguar aircraft have been delivered to India (a) this year and (b) in the last three years. [103055]

Mr. Kilfoyle: None. Since 1979, Jaguar aircraft have been produced under licence in India.

Common Defence

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will state the date and reference of the presentation to Parliament of the latest document he has signed with the French Republic in respect of common defence. [103133]

Mr. Hoon: A declaration on strengthening Europe's military capabilities was issued at the UK-French Summit on 25 November. This declaration can be found in the House of Commons Library as deposited paper DEP99/1908.

Commanding Officers (Territorial Units)

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many commanding officers of territorial units were (a) regular officers and (b) territorial officers on (i) 1 January, (ii) 1 April, (iii) 1 July and (iv) 1 October. [103401]

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

20 Dec 1999 : Column: 365W

EU Rapid Reaction Force

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on Britain's contribution towards the Rapid Reaction Force which was agreed in principle at the Helsinki Conference. [103226]

Mr. Hoon: The recent Helsinki European Council agreed that EU member states, co-operating voluntarily, must be able, by 2003, to deploy within 60 days and sustain for at least one year, military forces of up to 50,000 to 60,000 persons capable of the full range of Petersberg tasks. In particular this will mean developing the capabilities of Europe's existing national forces as the pool from which such a deployment could be drawn for any specific operation. We are not creating a European Army or a standing European Rapid Reaction Force.

The Council also agreed that this headline goal should be elaborated and a method established for defining national contributions. This will be addressed in the coming months.

Departmental Spending Plans

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what variations he has made to the spending plans for his Department announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review in July 1998. [102900]

Mr. Hoon: There have been no variations made to the spending plans announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review in July 1998 other than a small number of minor technical adjustments.


2 Marsham Street

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 13 December 1999, Official Report, column 9W, on 2 Marsham Street, how much longer he expects these costs to be maintained in order to protect the empty office blocks at 2 Marsham Street. [102989]

Mr. Straw: The next opportunity to review the appropriate level of expenditure will be early summer 2000, following the decision expected to be taken by then on the Private Finance Initiative competition for my Department's central London accommodation strategy. If the competition confirms that redevelopment of the site for the Home Office offers the best solution, it will be transferred to the successful private sector partner for demolition in accordance with the then agreed programme.


Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what representations he has received on making the provision of lifeguards a statutory responsibility for local authorities; [102560]

20 Dec 1999 : Column: 366W

Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is not aware of any representations on this matter, and there are no current proposals for legislation.

Alcohol Abuse

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much his Department spent on alcohol rehabilitation programmes and alcohol abuse prevention programmes in each of the last three years. [102551]

Mr. Charles Clarke: This information is not available. The Home Office has no funding specifically allocated for alcohol rehabilitation programmes or alcohol abuse prevention programmes. The Prison Service addresses alcohol problems within programmes at individual establishments, but does not monitor separately expenditure that is specifically on alcohol-related work.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of arrests made by each police force in England and Wales where alcohol abuse was a factor in each of the last three years. [102554]

Mr. Charles Clarke: This information is not available. A 1998 Home Office research study, "Drugs and crime: the results of research on drug testing and interviewing arrestees" by Trevor Bennett, found that the proportion of arrestees testing positive for alcohol varied over its five test sites, from 8 per cent. to 42 per cent.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people in each of the last three years who would otherwise have qualified as refugees have been excluded from protection and refused asylum on the grounds that they have committed acts sufficiently serious to render them as not deserving of protection under the 1951 UN convention relating to the status of refugees. [102778]

Mrs. Roche: I regret that this information could be obtained only by examination of individual case records and is, therefore, available only at disproportionate cost.

Young Prisoners

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many 15 and 16-year-olds are currently held on remand in prison; in which prisons; and what plans he has to end the practice of remanding 15 and 16-year-olds in adult prisons. [102792]

Mr. Boateng: On 31 October, the latest date for which these figures are available, there were 31 15-year-olds and 130 16-year-olds on remand in prison. The table shows where they were held.

Aged 15Aged 16
Glen Parva519
Lancaster Farms--3

20 Dec 1999 : Column: 367W

Following a building programme which provided 170 additional places in local authority secure units, in June this year we introduced court ordered secure remands to local authorities for 12 to 16-year-old girls, 12 to 14-year-old boys and 15 and 16-year-old boys who were vulnerable and for whom a place was available.

We are now strengthening bail support, through £35 million Youth Justice Board grants and a statutory duty from April on local authorities to operate appropriate bail support schemes. The Prison Service is investing more than £50 million in creating a distinct juvenile estate which will be able to hold young people on remand where they would be reasonably near to courts. The Youth Justice Board will take over the purchasing and commissioning of secure juvenile accommodation from April, to ensure effective use of available places and to plan for future needs. How far we can reduce remands to prisons in the short-term depends on the total numbers remanded and on overall demands on available accommodation. In the light of proposals from the Board, we will make clear in the New Year what we expect to achieve by when in removing young people on remand from prison accommodation.

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