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Cluster Bombs

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what dates for the procurement of (a) Brimstone and (b) Maverick guided munitions have been set. [145464]

Dr. Moonie: The Brimstone development and production contract was let to GEC-Marconi Rada and Defence Systems (now Alenia Marconi Systems) in November 1996 and the system is due to enter service in October 2002.

A contract was signed with Raytheon Corporation on 12 September 2000 for an off-the-shelf purchase of Maverick anti-armour missiles as a result of key lessons learned from the Kosovo campaign. Missiles are currently being delivered, and we expect to have these in service by the middle of February, once the necessary ground and aircrew training has been completed.

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what effect the procurement of (a) Brimstone and (b) Maverick guided munitions will have on the armed services' requirement to employ cluster bombs. [145465]

Dr. Moonie: The introduction into service of the Brimstone and Maverick weapon systems will give us an enhanced capability against single targets, particularly those which are heavily armoured. Cluster bombs will retain a utility against a concentration of lighter armoured vehicles and area targets such as surface-to-air missile sites and logistics storage depots. Brimstone, Maverick and cluster bombs are complementary systems and in any future conflict the weapon considered to be most appropriate to the circumstances would be employed.

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Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans he has for further procurements of cluster bombs, indicating the (a) type, (b) cost and (c) manufacturer involved; [145466]

Dr. Moonie: There are currently no plans to procure any further cluster bombs.

Stockholdings of munitions are held at an authorised War Reserve stock figure. Details of the precise numbers of weapons held in stock could provide a potential adversary with information that could undermine our defence capabilities. This information is therefore withheld in accordance with Exemption 1 (Defence, Security and International Relations) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what extensive awareness training has been given by British armed services to local populations with regard to cluster bomb deployments; and what has been the cost of these training programmes. [145469]

Mr. Spellar: In common with other military and civilian organisations, British Service personnel do not give specific awareness training on cluster munitions. The British Army has given, and continues to give, training to the local populations of Bosnia and Kosovo which deals with the recognition and avoidance of all types of unexploded ordnance. This training is carried out at no charge to the local population.


Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he intends to publish the legislation for the DERA PPP described in his Department's performance report 1999-2000. [145402]

Mr. Hoon: I refer the hon. Member to the announcement I made in the House on 24 July 2000, Official Report, columns 777-79, about our intention to proceed with the implementation of the Core Competence model for the DERA public-private partnership. Under Core Competence, around three-quarters of the current DERA organisation will be turned into a company, referred to as NewDERA. For strategic reasons, the remainder will be retained within the Ministry of Defence to carry out functions that could not appropriately be transferred to the private sector.

The necessary legislation to amend the existing DERA Trading Fund Order to remove those operations which will form the basis of the new company was laid before Parliament on 17 January 2001. Copies of the draft Defence Science and Technology Laboratory Trading Fund Order 2001 are available from the House of Commons Vote Office.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the vesting date will be for NewDERA plc; who the directors of the company are; and if he will place in the Library the articles of association of the company. [145403]

Mr. Hoon: I can advise the hon. Member that, subject to the approval of the amended Trading Fund Order laid before Parliament on 17 January 2001, the vesting day for

23 Jan 2001 : Column: 541W

NewDERA will be 1 July 2001. The chief executive of the new company will be Sir John Chisholm who is the chief executive of the current DERA organisation. In December 2000 it was announced that Sir John Egan will become the chairman of the new company. The other members of the Board will be chosen in due course. A copy of the articles of association will be placed in the House at the point of vesting.

Crown Censures

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will indicate (a) the circumstances of the death or injury on each occasion a Crown censure has been issued in the last 10 years and (b) the remedial action and compensation awarded in each case. [146462]

Dr. Moonie: I will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.



Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter of 23 December from the hon. Member for North-East Derbyshire requesting that he meet a delegation from the Derbyshire Fire Authority. [146096]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I wrote to my hon. Friend on 18 January.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he received on the level of Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority awards; and if he will make a statement. [146764]

Mr. Charles Clarke: In 1999 we mounted a public consultation exercise seeking views on ways in which the tariff-based criminal injuries compensation scheme might be improved for the benefit of victims of violent crime. Thirty-three respondents made some comment about the level of awards, either generally or in the context of awards for particular offences or injuries. Since the public consultation exercise we have had correspondence from 33 Members of Parliament about levels of awards, mostly related to individual cases.

We hope to be in a position to announce soon what improvements we shall be inviting the Westminster Parliament and the Scottish Executive to make to the scheme in the light of the consultation exercise and subsequent developments.

Murders (East Sussex)

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many murders were committed in East Sussex (a) in each of the last 25 years and (b) in each month of the last year for which figures are available. [146700]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The available information relates to currently recorded offences of homicide (murder, manslaughter and infanticide) in the Sussex police force area. Data from the homicide database are available from 1977.

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The information from 1977 to 1999 and for financial year 1999-2000 is shown in the table.

YearCurrently recorded homicides

The currently recorded figure includes all homicides because when an offence is recorded by the police, it is not generally known whether an offence of murder, manslaughter or infanticide has been committed.

The monthly data cover the period April 1999 to March 2000 for the Sussex police force area and are shown in the table.

Month recorded by the policeCurrently recorded homicides
April 19991
May 19990
June 19990
July 19992
August 19993
September 19993
October 19990
November 19991
December 19993
January 20000
February 20002
March 20002

Press Officers

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many press officers there were in his Department in each year since 1992. [146694]

Mr. Straw: Detailed staff profiles for the period prior to 1997 are not held centrally and, as I informed the House on 23 March 2000, Official Report, column 677W, the cost of providing this information would be disproportionate as it would require the Home Office pay branch to conduct a detailed search of all staff records for the periods in question. Payroll records would not, in any event, provide accurate press officer staffing levels which throughout the period in question were enhanced by attachments and secondments and would not necessarily have been reflected in payroll information.

23 Jan 2001 : Column: 543W

For numbers of press officers employed at the Home Office since May 1997, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) on 17 March 2000, Official Report, column 380W, which detailed staff numbers as of 1 January for the years 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000.

For the current number and projected number, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) on 15 January 2001, Official Report, column 106W.

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