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Armed Forces (Special Payments)

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to review the payments made to British armed forces service men and women who are engaged in theatres of operation; what assessments he has made of payments made to members of armed forces from other countries engaged similarly; and if he will make a statement. [12458]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 5 November 2001]: All payments made to service personnel are regularly reviewed, the majority of them by the independent Armed Forces Pay Review Body. These include basic pay; the X-factor, which takes account of the unique demands and circumstances of service life over a whole career; and allowances to compensate for particular disadvantages such as prolonged separation from home life. In addition a recent review of welfare support to service personnel on operations led to the introduction earlier this year of a new comprehensive operational welfare package. Where personnel receive this package, an overseas cost of living allowance is not usually payable.

A comparison of operational conditions of service in a wide range of NATO and non-NATO countries was undertaken by the UK last year. This showed that payments to UK service personnel over the course of a military career bear favourable comparison with those of any of our allies. While some countries pay their personnel more when deployed on operations, this is more than offset by lower levels of remuneration at other times.

Chinook ZD576

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many members of the maintenance team responsible for servicing RAF Chinook ZD576 at Aldergrove on 1 and 2 June 1994 had completed a full Chinook MK2 trade course and held the appropriate Trade Qualification Annotation prior to 2 June 1994; [13033]

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

Ballistic Missiles

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what arms control measures he proposes to take to tackle the potential threat from ballistic missiles; and if he will make a statement; [11324]

Mr. Hoon: We currently assess that as of today there is no significant ballistic missile threat to the UK. We do, however, continue to monitor developments closely. We also remain concerned by the potential ballistic missile threat to our armed forces when deployed to certain parts of the world. We believe it is important to tackle the potential threat from weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery with a comprehensive strategy that encompasses diplomacy, non-proliferation, export control, counter-proliferation, conflict prevention, deterrence and defensive measures. We will continue to work closely with our allies, partners and friends in all of these areas.

Beyond our wide-ranging arms control efforts to tackle the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, we have been working closely to establish a set of international norms dealing specifically with ballistic missiles. As a first step, a draft International Code of Conduct (ICOC) on ballistic missiles, based on an original text prepared by the UK, has been developed by members of the Missile Technology Control Regime. This draft will now be negotiated through an open multilateral process with a view to eventual signature during 2002. We hope that it will form the basis of a new international consensus against the destabilising spread of ballistic missiles, and we strongly support efforts to gain wide adherence to it.

We have a range of capabilities for passive defence of deployed forces against weapons of mass destruction delivered by ballistic missiles. Detection, identification, warning and reporting of possible attacks, physical protection, hazard management and medical countermeasures are all key elements of our force posture. We continue to believe it is premature to decide on acquiring a specific active ballistic missile defence capability, either for defence of the UK or deployed forces. This is based on our assessment of the threat, the rapidity with which 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. We will continue to support NATO work in this area, as well as our own national work and bilateral dialogue with the US. Our future options remain open.

Military Personnel (Overseas)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK military personnel are serving overseas, broken down by (a) unit and (b) country in which they are serving. [12080]

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Mr. Ingram: The following table shows the number of UK regular forces serving overseas as at 1 September 2001 broken down by service. To break down the figures to unit level could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Overseas total4,55133,1165,43543,102
Continental Europe44117,4232,00619,870
Other Europe4902,9861063,582
Near and Middle East3962,5868193,801
Far East1823923280


DASA (Tri-Service)

Italy (A400M)

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what Italy's financial contribution was to the A400M consortium; [12224]

Dr. Moonie: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence last met the Italian Minister of Defence on 12 October when he was informed that Italy had reached the decision not to continue, at present, with the A400M programme. However, I understand that this is being reviewed and I expect the situation to become clearer in the near future.

Italy had been expected to procure 16 of these aircraft out of a total initial order of 212 aircraft and their financial contribution would have been commensurate with this. It would not be appropriate to release financial details while commercial negotiations are still under way.

Water Supplies

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with DEFRA and the water companies about the protection of water supplies from chemical and biological attack. [12338]

Mr. Ingram: All aspects of the UK's resilience to terrorist attack are being reviewed following the events of 11 September. The Ministry of Defence and DEFRA are both involved in that work, and there are well-established arrangements for military assistance to the civil authorities when required. Government responsibilities in relation to the water companies are a matter for DEFRA.

Overseas Accommodation

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what improvements are being made to overseas accommodation for armed forces personnel and their families. [13008]

Dr. Moonie: In accordance with the Department's aim to improve the condition of living accommodation in overseas locations, there is an extensive programme of works projects currently under way. I will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

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Gibraltar (Accommodation)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what improvements are being made to accommodation for armed forces personnel and their families in Gibraltar. [13009]

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

Territorial Army

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria he uses to determine whether Territorial Army units are fit for role. [13024]

Dr. Moonie: The term "fit for role" is applied to individual members of the Territorial Army (TA) and not to units. TA units are required to achieve a level of collective performance that depends on the role and specified readiness of the unit. Readiness is defined as the time within which a unit can be made ready to deploy for operations from its normal peacetime location. The performance of TA units is measured in the same way as regular Army units, through the measurement of fighting power, which assesses units against a number of criteria, such as manning and equipment levels and the amount of training conducted.

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what standards Territorial Army service personnel must meet in order to obtain the annual bounty. [13025]

Dr. Moonie: In order to obtain the annual bounty, the standard requirement is for Territorial Army (TA) personnel to pass a set number of Individual Training Directives (Army); attend unit annual camp (15 days); and attend a specified number of out of camp training days. This requirement is 12 days for independent TA and four days for specialist TA.

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