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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 9 November 2001


Bribery and Corruption

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the incorporation into UK legislation of the OECD convention on bribery and corruption. [12909]

Mr. Blunkett: I have been asked to reply.

The United Kingdom ratified the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) convention in December 1998 and a review of its legislation was published by the OECD in 2000. The Government's White Paper "Raising Standards and Upholding Integrity: the Prevention of Corruption", issued in June 2000 (Cm 4759), took account of that review and made two major proposals which reflect OECD recommendations:

International corruption contributes to the conditions which breed terrorism. I am, therefore, with the support of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development, including these measures in the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill, which will be introduced shortly.

Computer Crime

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many cases of computer (a) hacking, (b) fraud and (c) theft her Department recorded in (i) 2000 and (ii) 2001; and on how many occasions in those years computer systems have been illegally accessed by computer hackers (A) within and (B) outside her Department. [13135]

Clare Short: There were no reported cases of either computer hacking or computer fraud in DFID during 2000 to 2001.

In 2000, four cases of laptop computers being stolen from DFID premises or personnel were reported, and in 2001 five laptop computers were reported stolen. The total value of the loss amounts to about £9,900.

DFID is not aware of any occasions during the last two years of computer systems being accessed illegally by hackers from either inside or outside of the organisation.

Departmental Expenditure

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the total expenditure was on (a) advertising, (b) polling, (c) focus groups, (d) design consultants, (e) caterers, (f) production of departmental

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publications and (g) photographs/photographers by her Department for each year since 1995 in (i) cash and (ii) real terms; what was (A) the annual percentage increase in spending on each category and (B) spending on each category as a percentage of the total departmental running costs; and if she will make a statement. [6930]

Clare Short: Expenditure in relation to publications, opinion polling and photography in the years in question is as follows:


Publications(1)Opinion pollingPhotography

(1) Including design costs

We do not hold a separate advertising budget. However the bulk of our advertising is in relation to recruitment, on which we spend around £1 million to £1.2 million per year.

It would involve disproportionate effort to calculate the total cost of catering services in the years in question since these are not charged to a single budget.The majority of the expenditure set out in the table is charged to programme budgets, and so it is not possible to make a meaningful calculation of its share of our running cost budget.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her policy on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights. [12903]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the statement my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry made on 7 November 2001, Official Report, columns 256–68, covering the UK's position on the fourth ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation in Doha, which covered our policy on trade-related aspectsof intellectual property.



Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of (a) military and (b) civilian casualties as a result of coalition forces bombing in Afghanistan. [11436]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 30 October 2001]: It is impossible to know for certain how many casualties, either military or civilian, there have been as a result of coalition action in Afghanistan. The Taliban's claims of casualties cannot be taken at face value.

Military action inevitably carries risks, but as I have made clear in the House, our targeting and weapons selection processes are rigorous. Every effort is made to avoid civilian casualties.

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HMS Ocean

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason HMS Ocean has been recalled to the UK; if it is being sent to Devonport for repair; what the (a) nature and (b) cost is of the repair; and to what extent the repair is (i) planned maintenance and (ii) a consequence of failure while on its last operation. [13127]

Mr. Ingram: HMS Ocean is returning to the UK as part of the drawdown of forces following completion of Exercise Saif Sareea 2.

Due to current operational circumstances, the docking period planned for January next year has been deferred. HMS Ocean will, instead, return to Devonport for a shorter assisted maintenance period (AMP), during which some maintenance and defect rectification work will be carried out. The only repair work arising from failure during her last operation will be to some aviation fuel pumps. At this time it is estimated that the AMP will cost in the region of £0.8 million to £1 million.

Army Radios

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the failure rate was of Clansman radios on Challenger II main battle tanks during exercise Saif Sareea 2 in Oman; [13118]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 7 November 2001]: The limitations of the Clansman radio are well known, hence the current action on procuring a replacement. Information on failure rates of individual radios employed during Exercise Saif Sareea 2 is not available. But indications are that Clansman performed somewhat better than we might have expected during Saif Sareea 2, despite the harsh environmental conditions experienced during the exercise.

Sea Harrier Ferry

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Sea Harrier ferry will leave Yeovilton; what discussions he has had with the RAF Association about the move; what the overall cost of the move will be; and how many Sea Harrier pilots resigned their commissions in (a) 2001, (b), 2000, (c) 1999, (d) 1998, (e), 1997 and (f) 1996. [13422]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 8 November 2001]: Following the strategic defence review, the Sea Harrier force is scheduled to relocate to RAF Cottesmore and RAF Wittering in the second half of 2003. The Ministry of Defence has had no discussions with the RAF Association about the move. The cost of the move is estimated to be approximately £21.5 million. The number of Sea Harrier pilots who have taken premature voluntary retirement (PVR) are set out in the table:

YearPremature Voluntary Retirement (PVR)

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NBC Defence

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what types of vehicles are used by the armed forces in connection with NBC defence; and of these, how many are operational. [13283]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 8 November 2001]: There are three types of vehicles currently in use by the armed forces that have a specific NBC defence role. The current vehicle holdings are as follows:

Vehicle typeVehicles held
FUCHS NBC survey vehicle11
Prototype biological detection system (PBDS)9
Multi-purpose decontamination system (MPDS)17

There are other, mainly armoured, vehicles that have a defensive NBC capability. Soldiers can operate within these vehicles in a "collective protection" environment thus avoiding exposure to external biological or chemical threats for a set period of time.

I am withholding the information relating to operational availability under exemption 1 of the code of practice on access to government information.

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