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Church Repairs (VAT)

Mr. Hurst: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of churches which will benefit from the reduced rate of VAT on church repairs; and if he will make a statement. [158764]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government are introducing a new grant scheme for listed buildings used as places of worship.

Accurate information on numbers of potential beneficiaries is not available.

Child Poverty

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out the calculations on which the Government's claim that around 1 million children may have been lifted out of poverty since 1997 is based. [158694]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 14 March 2001, Official Report, column 609W, and to the answer given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on 19 May 2000, Official Report, column 296W.

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Todd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 10 April 2001, Official Report, column 526W, on Working Families Tax Credit, if he will waive the requirement that reviews are six months apart for those affected by foot and mouth disease. [158575]

Dawn Primarolo: Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) is designed to provide medium to longer-term support for working families. Awards are based on the family's normal weekly income and last for 26 weeks. These basic rules keep the system simple and provide families with the security of a guaranteed and regular source of income for a substantial period. They are the basis of the current system, which provides much valued support to 1.17 million working families.

Landfill Tax

Mr. Beith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many registered environmental bodies (a) have and (b) have not made landfill tax grants in respect of the conservation of buildings, including places of worship. [R] [158408]

24 Apr 2001 : Column: 230W

Mr. Timms: The regulator of the Landfill Tax Environmental Bodies Credit Scheme, ENTRUST, records details reported by the enrolled environmental bodies (EBs) of the expenditure against the various objects of the scheme. Object E covers restoring and repairing buildings which are for religious worship, or of architectural or historical interest. 270 EBs have reported spending contributions on object E projects and 2,164 EBs have not.

Village Halls (Climate Change Levy)

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the application of (a) VAT and (b) the climate change levy on activities in village halls. [158464]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 23 April 2001]: The activities of a village hall are generally business and are subject to the normal VAT rules. Climate change levy is not charged on the domestic use of energy or non-business use by charities.


Pay and Personnel Agency

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what performance targets have been set for the Pay and Personnel Agency for 2001-02. [158795]

Dr. Moonie: The chief executive of the Pay and Personnel Agency (PPA) is responsible for providing pay and personnel information services for the Ministry of Defence as defined in the agency framework document. During 2001-02 the PPA will be set the following challenging key performance targets.

Defence Estate

Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made towards meetings its targets for the disposal of surplus property from the Defence Estate. [158796]

24 Apr 2001 : Column: 231W

Dr. Moonie: In the financial year 2000-01 the Ministry of Defence achieved receipts amounting to £209 million from the disposal of surplus land. Although less than the record £287 million achieved in 1999-2000, this is a significant contribution to the achievement of the target set in the Strategic Defence Review of property disposals amounting to £700 million by 2002, and to the wider target set in Spending Review 2000 of disposals of over £600 million of assets by March 2004.

Joint Strike Fighter

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will enumerate the items on which the £600 million to be expended on UK specific requirements for the Joint Strike Fighter are to be spent. [157734]

Mr. Hoon: The items on which the £600 million is to be spent are: procurement of weapons and their supply to the US Engineering and Manufacturing Development Prime Contractor for test purposes in support of design activities for the integration of the UK weapons currently identified as initial fit requirements; ensuring JSF is fully operable in the UK and NATO Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence environments; compliance with UK aircraft and weapons safety, environmental and acceptance processes, and integration design activities and supply of weapons for test purposes for post-initial fit UK weapons.


Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which major mechanical faults have been reported on Royal Navy warships in each of the past three years; and which Royal Navy vessels have been involved in (a) collisions with other vessels and (b) groundings in each of the past three years. [157743]

Mr. Spellar: Details of those defects relating specifically to major mechanical faults in each of the past three years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Royal Navy vessels involved in collisions with other vessels, and those vessels involved in groundings, in each of the past three years are shown in the table. There were no reported groundings during 1999.

HMS GuernsyHMS Raider
HMS GrimsbyHMS Sandown
RFA Fort Victoria/RFA Sir BedivereHMS Grafton
LCVP (HMS Ocean)HMS Triumph
HMS ManchesterHMS Victorious
HMS Puncher
HMS Endurance
HMS Chidingford/HMS Nottingham
HMS Ranger
HMS Cardiff
HMS Bristol
HMS Pembroke
HMS Tracker
HMS Shetland
HMS ManchesterRFA Black Rover
HMS CornwallRFA Sir Galahad
HMS Exploit

24 Apr 2001 : Column: 232W

Missile Defence Systems

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence further to his answer of 3 April 2001, Official Report, columns 110-11W, on missile defence systems, if he will publish a report on the progress of the Technology Readiness and Risk Assessment Programme. [158075]

Mr. Hoon: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Mr. Taylor) on 6 April 2001, Official Report, column 293W.

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence further to his answer of 3 April 2001, Official Report, column 111W, on national missile defence, for what reason it is premature to decide to acquire a ballistic missile defence for UK territory or forces deployed overseas. [158076]

Mr. Hoon: Our current judgment that it would be premature to decide on acquiring a ballistic missile defence capability for either UK territory or forces deployed overseas is based on our assessment of the threat, the rapidity with which relevant defensive technologies are changing, and the need to evaluate further the potential role of missile defences as one element of a broad-ranging defence response to missile proliferation.

Type 45 Destroyer

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if the Type 45 destroyers will be provided with (a) Phalanx and (b) another close-in range defensive capability; and if he will make a statement; [157731]

Dr. Moonie: The Type 45 destroyer is primarily intended to provide effective area air defence against aircraft and missiles and will be equipped with the world-beating Principal Anti-Air Missile System. This will provide the Royal Navy with a significant increase in capability from the outset when it comes into service in 2007. In accordance with Smart acquisition practice, the Type 45 has been designed so that its capability can be upgraded throughout its life to take advantage of changes in defence requirements and technological advances.

In addition to its primary role, the Type 45 will have an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability. Details of this capability were provided in answer to an earlier

24 Apr 2001 : Column: 233W

question raised by the hon. Member on 30 January 2001, Official Report, column 98W. It includes sonar, Lynx HMA Mk 8 helicopter carrying Stingray anti-submarine torpedoes, Ship Surface Torpedo Defence System (SSTD) towed and expendable acoustic decoys and, in the longer term, enhanced SSTD countermeasures. Should additional ASW armament be required to that provided by the Stingray torpedoes carried by the Lynx helicopter, the Type 45 design allows for the later fitting of a double-tubed Magazine Torpedo Launch System.

The Type 45's anti-surface ship capability will be provided by the Sea Skua missile, fitted to its Lynx helicopter, together with the ship's medium range gunnery system, the 4.5" Mk 8 Mod 1 Gun, and two 30 mm Guns. The Type 45 design also allows for the fitting of a Surface to Surface Guided Weapon.

To provide a close range defensive capability, it is planned to fit Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems to each Type 45. Should the requirement for the Type 45 class to have a land attack capability arise, provision has also been made in Type 45 designs either for fitting a Vertical Launch System for missiles, or for a larger calibre gun to be used.

Through our close collaboration with the United States, we naturally look to see what lessons can be drawn from their equipment procurement and operating experience, including that of ships such as the USS Winston Churchill and its systems.

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