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Written Answers to Questions
Tuesday 20 March 2001
Type 45 Destroyer
Mr. Quentin Davies:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if the price of the DFM contract for the first three type 45 destroyers awarded to BAE Systems assumes (a) the involvement of BAE Systems Marine and Vosper Thornycroft in developing a single design definition for the type 45 destroyer and (b) that the first and third ships will be assembled by BAE Systems Marine and the second ship by Vosper Thornycroft; 
(2) if it is his policy that a single design definition for the type 45 destroyer should be developed involving BAE Systems Marine and Vosper Thornycroft and that the first and third ships will be assembled by BAE Systems Marine and the second ship by Vosper Thornycroft; 
(3) if the DFM contract for the first three type 45 destroyers awarded to BAE Systems (a) requires BAE Systems to develop a single design definition for the type 45 destroyer involving BAE Systems Marine and Vosper Thornycroft and (b) requires the first and third ships to be built by BAE Systems Marine and the second by Vosper Thornycroft. 
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 30 January 2001, Official Report, column 99W. I can confirm that the type 45 DFM contract assumes, and is priced on the basis of, the procurement strategy for this Programme announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 11 July 2000, Official Report, columns 701-02. Under this, the first ship would be assembled by BAE Systems Marine with a substantial contribution by Vosper Thornycroft (VT), the second by VT and the third by BAE Systems.
Armed Forces (Sierra Leone)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the components are of the welfare package for forces serving in Sierra Leone. 
The components of the Operational Welfare Package (OWP) for Op Silkman are as follows:
(a) Additional Carry Over of Leave. The right to carry forward annual privilege leave entitlements in excess of the existing 14 days maximum--subject to the proviso that the exigencies of the service may make it impractical for this leave to be taken--is granted for those on tours in excess of six months.
(b) Post Operational Tour Leave (POTL). POTL, which is granted in accordance with single service guidelines.
Family travel concessions
Welfare concessions for families' travel, as follows:
(a) Service Personnel Stationed in the UK. Dependants of married service personnel stationed in the UK but serving in
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theatre for four months or more are entitled to two extra UK leave warrants, to enable families to visit their next of kin, or parents, children at boarding school or close relatives.
(b) Personnel Stationed Overseas (in north west Europe).
(i) Four-month tours. Dependants of married accompanied personnel who serve in theatre for four months or more are entitled to one return journey at public expense to an address in UK for the purpose of visiting NOK or close relatives.
(ii) Six-month tours. Dependants of married accompanied personnel who are serving in theatre for six months or more are entitled to two return journeys at public expense to an address in the UK for the purposes of visiting NOK or close relatives.
(c) Transfer of entitlement. Any or all of these warrants may be transferred to up to two close relatives for reverse travel from the UK.
Rest and Recuperation (R&R)
Personnel in theatre for more than four months are granted one period of R&R. A second period of R&R is authorised for personnel who have an expectation of serving between seven to 10 months inclusive and a third period for those with an expectation of serving more than 11 months.
Twenty minutes of publicly funded telephone calls per week, using welfare telephone facilities provided by Project Welcome.
Forces free aerogrammes (blueys)/concessionary parcel rates
Free "blueys" (aerogrammes) and concessionary parcel rates, authorised in both directions.
Free access to an "e-bluey" system.
Free access to e-mail and internet facilities.
Forces deployed receive free newspapers and access to BFBS TV and radio facilities.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) e-mail terminals, (b) telephones and (c) mail drops per week are available for Her Majesty's forces serving in Sierra Leone. 
The Operational Welfare Package (OWP) for Op Silkman includes internet access, telephones and mail drops. The numbers are as follows:
(a) There are currently four e-mail terminals, with a further eight on order. Access to e-mails and the internet is free.
(b) There are 12 welfare telephones provided under Project Welcome. Service personnel are allowed 20 minutes of publicly funded telephone calls per week.
(c) There is one resupply flight a week that brings in and takes out mail. Free 'blueys' (aerogrammes) and concessionary parcel rates are authorised in both directions.
Mr. Alasdair Morgan:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 13 March 2001, Official Report, column 509W, on nuclear submarines, where his Department plans to situate the land storage facility for redundant nuclear submarines. 
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 14 March 2001, Official Report, columns 601-02W, to the hon. Member for South-East Cornwall (Mr. Breed).
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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence further to his answer of 23 January 2001, Official Report, column 536W, on depleted uranium (a) when he expects to send his letter and (b) what are the reasons for the delay. 
I have replied today to my hon. Friend. The delay in replying was caused by the need to obtain information from sources outside the Ministry of Defence.
Sir Brian Mawhinney:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will give a substantive reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire on behalf of his constituent Mr. Coakes, following preliminary responses on 22 November 2000 and 6 January 2001. 
In my letters, I explained that research into the issues raised was continuing. This has involved research into records dating back 10 years and contacting key personnel in the unit to which Mr. Coakes was attached. Our inquiries are now complete and I hope to write to the right hon. Member within the next week.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) civil servants and (b) other personnel from his Department have attended sessions of the Saville inquiry. 
Sessions of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry have been attended variously by nine Ministry of Defence officials and one Army officer.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many persons, from which divisions and with which specialisms comprise the Bloody Sunday Inquiry Unit in his Department; 
(2) what the composition is of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry Unit in terms of (a) perceived community origin and (b) gender. 
The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Unit is an integral part of the Ministry of Defence and comprises five officials who are dedicated full-time to supporting the work of the Inquiry. They are all administrators; currently three are men and two are women; none of them come from Northern Ireland.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will review the pension provision for officers who were in service before their 21st birthdays but whose service before those dates is not counted for service pension purposes. 
The recently published Ministry of Defence Consultation Document on a new Armed Forces Pension Scheme includes the proposal that pension benefits should begin to accrue from the date of entry to the armed forces for both officers and other ranks. This compares with the current scheme under which benefits accrue from age 21 for officers and age 18 for other ranks. In line with usual practice in public sector pension schemes, these changes would not be retrospective.
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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence under what statutory powers he appoints members of the MOD Police Committee. 
Members of the Ministry of Defence Police Committee are appointed in accordance with the provisions of section 1(5) of the Ministry of Defence Police Act 1987.