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Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average track mileage completed was for (a) Warrior variants, (b) Challenger 1, (c) Challenger 2, (d) Saxon variants, (f) AVF 430 variants, (g) Sabre, (h) Striker, (i) Scimitar, (j) Spartan, (k) Sultan, (l) Samaritan and (m) Samson in 1999-2000; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Spellar: The annual track mileage completed for each vehicle type is given in the table. Given the disposition of the vehicle fleet, the mix of operational and training deployments, average figures would be unrepresentative for the fleets as a whole.
|Serial||Vehicle||Annual usage (miles)|
(1) CVR(T) variants include Sabre, Striker, Scimitar, Spartan, Sultan, Samaritan and Samson
Track mileage usage is collated centrally, based on records submitted by each unit and can serve only as an indicator of trends rather than a detailed comparator. Individual vehicle usage may vary considerably depending on operating environments. Annual allocations are used as a planning tool only and a shortfall or excess in the actual total usage is not uncommon. The one significant usage shortfall in the above figures concerns the CVR(T). This was due, in the main, to the high level of operational activity experience in 1999-2000 which resulted in less routing training activity.
Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what planned level of defence medical staff is required to support the European Rapid Reaction Force if deployed at a capacity of 60,000; if defence medical staff deployed to support the ERRF will be (a) pooled and (b) operate in national field hospitals; how many medical staff have been pledged, and by which European countries, to date; how many defence medical staff, and in which specialties, have been pledged by the UK to date; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: There is no such entity as a standing European Rapid Reaction Force. In the maximum scale operation envisaged at Helsinki--a corps-level deployment of up to 60,000 ground troops--the UK component could
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be around 12,500 strong. Maritime and air deployments of up to 18 warships and 72 combat aircraft could be made in addition. The appropriate scaling of medical staff and facilities to support such a deployment will be dependent on the operational circumstances at the time.
Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effect on the Blackpool, South constituency of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. 
Dr. Moonie: My Department has only a small presence in the Blackpool, South constituency. Blackpool, South constituents have gained significantly from defence establishments and defence industry in the surrounding area, and the associated benefits that they bring to the local economy and employment. In particular, the Government's commitment to the Eurofighter programme has sustained many thousands of jobs in the area--especially at BAE Systems at Warton--and will continue to do so for years to come during production.
Other visits during the year included visits by UK officers to various Turkish armed forces training establishments, ship visits to Turkey (associated with the Argonaut Deployment and NATO exercise Destined Glory) and a platoon exchange. There have also been visits to UK forces deployed on Operation Northern Watch.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what categories of submissions from civil servants to Ministers, other than those relating to (a) intelligence and (b) personnel matters, are not circulated to special advisers; 
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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what access criteria he uses for determining whether (a) remote and (b) rural areas are adequately served by petroleum distributors; and how these criteria are employed. 
Mrs. Liddell: The distribution of petroleum products is a commercial matter for individual companies. Local planning authorities can encourage the provision of developments such as petrol stations through the local plan, but it is for private developers to bring such proposals forward.
Mrs. Liddell: Under UK competition law, it is the responsibility of the Director General of Fair Trading (DGFT) to investigate allegations of anti-competitive behaviour and possible abuses of market power. The DGFT can act if pricing levels are the result of anti-competitive behaviour but he has no powers to act in relation to prices as such. On 21 November, the Director General of Fair Trading (DGFT) announced the findings of his inquiry into wholesale petrol and diesel prices. He said that a combination of high world oil prices and public pressure on UK retail prices had resulted in a squeeze on diesel and petrol margins in recent weeks, rather than anti-competitive behaviour on the part of the major oil companies.
The DGFT said the Office of Fair Trading will continue to monitor the UK motor fuels market very closely and will not hesitate to take action if it finds that firms in the industry are deliberately damaging competition.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of motor fuels was marketed by (a) each of the major suppliers, (b) hyper and supermarket chains and (c) independent retailers in each year from 1996. 
Mrs. Liddell: My Department collects and collates data from the individual companies that supply petroleum products into the UK market. However, this information is provided under strict commercial confidentiality constraints, and as such, data on individual company market shares cannot be published.
Mrs. Liddell: The Institute of Petroleum's "UK Retail Marketing Survey" (last published in March 2000) shows the total number of UK petrol retail outlets for each of the past 10 calendar years as follows:
|Calendar year||Petrol retail outlets|
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Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the implementation of the UK Operating Aid Scheme will result in an electricity generating company benefiting from a reduction in the price it pays for coal under contracts struck prior to 1 January. 
Mrs. Liddell: I am not aware of any steps that have been taken that will result in an electricity generating company benefiting from a reduction in the price it pays for coal under contracts struck prior to 1 January 2000.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what criteria were used in the selection of members of the Import Parity Price Panel under the UK Coal Operating Aid Scheme; which members of the Panel have been involved in assisting companies applying for aid; and which members have a continuing association with companies that have applied for aid. 
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