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Thermobaric Weapons

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department sponsors (a) research into and (b) the development of thermobaric weapons; and if he will make a statement on his policy on thermobaric weapons. [146071]

Dr. Moonie: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 16 January 2001, Official Report, column 144W, to the hon. Member for Lewes (Mr. Baker).

Smart Procurement

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the oral answer given by the Under-Secretary of State to the hon. Member for New Forest, East, on 15 January 2001, Official Report, column 17, on smart procurement, if he will list the problems which would be caused to the Eurofighter Typhoon by its being fitted with a cannon. [146379]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 27 November 2000, Official Report, column 420W, to the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow).

22 Jan 2001 : Column: 423W

Research and Development and Procurement Expenditure

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total expenditure is on (a) research and development and (b) procurement for each of the armed services; and what proportion of each budget for each service is spent in Scotland in the current financial year. [146178]

Mr. Spellar: The forecast total expenditure on research and development for 2000-01 is £438.5 million. Separate figures for equipment procurement for each of the armed services are not held centrally, however, the forecast total for 2000-01 is £5,256 million. Concerning Scotland, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) on the same subject on 16 January 2001, Official Report, column 147W.

Employment Statistics

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how his Department calculates the number of people employed in defence and defence-related industries in the regions of the UK; what multiplier is used; and how many people are so employed in (a) each region of England and Wales and (b) Scotland. [146177]

Mr. Spellar: Defence Analytical Services Agency (DASA) publish "UK Defence Statistics 2000", which contain estimates of UK regional employment directly resultant from the Ministry of Defence equipment expenditure. The method used to provide national and regional employment estimates requires the combination of two elements. First, a breakdown of MOD equipment expenditure with UK industry (using the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)) and second, a multiplier which measures sales per employee for each of the industries receiving defence spending (derived from the ONS Business Enquiry and the Labour Market Survey). Dividing the first by the second gives an estimate of those employed directly on defence contracts. The methodology does not therefore include indirect employment.

The provisional figures for the number of people employed by defence industries in 1998-99 are listed in the DASA publication, "UK Defence Statistics 2000", a copy of which is held in the House of Commons Library.

Statistics of this type are updated on a regular basis and posted on the DASA website: http://www.dasa.mod.uk/ products/ukds/2000/index.html.

Porton Down

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason the open-days at Porton Down were ended; and what plans he has to resume them. [145352]

Dr. Moonie: Prior to 1980, there were two Ministry of Defence establishments at Porton Down--The Microbiological Research Establishment which held a week of open days during 1968 and the Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment which undertook a similar exercise the following year. The formal openings of these establishments were only ever intended as one-off events and there are no plans for a repeat. However, the successor to these two establishments, the Chemical and

22 Jan 2001 : Column: 424W

Biological Defence Sector of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, hosts numerous visitors throughout the year from the local, research and media communities.

E-bomb

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has to develop an e-bomb to disable computers; what research he is sponsoring into such a weapon; and if he will make a statement. [146072]

Dr. Moonie: It is our policy to keep abreast of technology in this and many other areas. I am withholding further information under exemption 1a of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Maritime War Graves

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's policy is towards the policing and protection of maritime war graves within (a) British and (b) international waters. [146081]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 18 January 2001]: The Ministry of Defence police will investigate allegations of misappropriation of wreck material from naval wrecks whenever notified that an offence has been committed, either in British or international waters.

HMS Sheffield

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence where the West Indies Guard ship is currently situated. [146050]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 18 January 2001]: The Atlantic Patrol Task (North) duty ship HMS Sheffield (formerly known as West Indies Guard ship), is scheduled to deploy for the Caribbean in early February. She is currently alongside in Portsmouth on 14 days' notice for operations within the Caribbean area of responsibility.

Iraq

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Turkey about the use of the Incirlik airbase in South-eastern Anatolia for allied sorties into Iraq. [145232]

Mr. Hoon: We remain in regular contact with the Turkish Government on a range of issues including our use of the Incirlik airbase. We greatly value the continued Turkish co-operation and support for the coalition's humanitarian patrols of the Iraqi no-fly zones.

Defence Evaluation and Research Agency

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the value of DERA's assets is; and what proportion of them is held in Scotland. [146176]

Dr. Moonie: The value of DERA's fixed assets for the financial year 1999-2000 is £580.1 million. Some four per cent. of these assets are held in Scotland.

Departmental Properties

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list properties owned by his Department which are awaiting disposal. [146174]

22 Jan 2001 : Column: 425W

Dr. Moonie: This information is not held centrally. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as the details have been collated and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

TREASURY

Children's Tax Credit

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 10 January 2001, Official Report, column 568W, on the Children's Tax Credit, if he will provide corresponding estimates on the basis that the rate of the credit in April is £10 per week. [146319]

Dawn Primarolo: On the basis of the Children's Tax Credit (CTC) at £10 per week, the estimated full year yield from reducing the annual threshold at which CTC begins to be tapered away for 2001-02 is given in the following table.

£ million

Reduction to CTC threshold Estimated full year yield
£1,00039
£2,00070
£3,000100
£4,000140
£5,000190

Tobacco Smuggling

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the estimated loss was to the Treasury of the smuggling of tobacco products for each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement. [146106]

Dawn Primarolo: HMCE published estimates for revenue (excise duty and VAT) lost to the Exchequer through tobacco smuggling for the period 1996-99 in the "Tackling Tobacco Smuggling" document published on 22 March 2000. There are no estimates prior to 1996. The tobacco assessment for 2000 is in the process of being prepared and will be published in due course.

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what further measures he proposes to combat tobacco smuggling from countries (a) within and (b) outside the EU; and if he will make a statement. [146105]

Dawn Primarolo: On 22 March 2000 I announced the 'Tackling Tobacco Smuggling' strategy and a £209 million investment to implement it. The strategy is designed to reverse the growth in tobacco smuggling into the UK within three years and reduce it below current levels in the longer term.

A copy of the strategy document can be found in the Library of the House.

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of (a) cigarettes and (b) other tobacco products sold in the United Kingdom he estimates are smuggled into the United Kingdom from countries (i) within and (ii) outside the EU; and if he will make a statement. [146104]

22 Jan 2001 : Column: 426W

Dawn Primarolo: The Government's "Tackling Tobacco Smuggling" strategy, published on 22 March 2000, provides a breakdown of revenue loss by the methods by which cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco are smuggled into the United Kingdom.

The Government's strategy aims to put cigarette smuggling, regardless of where it is sourced, into decline.


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