Previous Section Index Home Page

Widows' Pensions

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to review the pension entitlement of those second wives of ex-servicemen who become widows who are not entitled to a pension. [15759]

Mr. Ingram: The Government have no plans to increase the current Armed Forces Pension Scheme provisions for post retirement widows. Following longstanding practice, improvements to the armed forces and other public sector pension schemes do not apply retrospectively.

Airport Security

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what analysis of the threats to UK airports requiring military protection he has made; and if he will make a statement. [16157]

Mr. Ingram: Security at airports is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. The threat of a terrorist attack on UK airports is constantly monitored by the appropriate authorities. There are, in place, a series of robust measures and contingency plans to guard against a range of different threats. These include the provision of military support, should it be required. These plans have been reviewed in the light of events of 11 September.

20 Nov 2001 : Column: 172W

Major Project Report

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to publish the Defence Acquisition 2001 report. [16156]

Dr. Moonie: I assume the hon. Member is referring to the Major Project Report (MPR).

The Ministry of Defence's annual progress report on the acquisition of major defence equipment, the MPR, was submitted to the Committee of Public Accounts in October. The Comptroller and Auditor General plans to publish his report on this year's MPR on 23 November.

Logistic Stockholding Review

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the criteria which have shaped the review of the logistic stockholdings following 11 September. [16161]

Mr. Ingram: Logistic stockholdings are reviewed on a regular basis to take account of experience gained during exercises and operations, and to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, more formal reviews of logistic planning are conducted from time to time in the light of the strategic military and political situation. The most recent review was considered over a 12 month period that ended last month. Though September 11 has not led to any further formal general reviews, in keeping with sound military practice logistic plans and availability have been carefully considered as an integral part of military response planning.

Anti-tank Weapons

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will announce the replacement to the proposed Trigat anti-tank guided weapon programme. [16155]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Grantham and Stamford (Mr. Davies) on 17 July 2001, Official Report, column 148W.

Cyprus (Migrant Birds)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he has taken to prevent the illegal trapping of migrant birds in the sovereign base areas within Cyprus; if he will make more resources available to control this activity; and if he will make a statement. [15731]

Dr. Moonie: The Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) Administration and Police already devote significant resources to the control of illegal trapping of migrant birds. In this autumn's migration season wardens from the Republic of Cyprus's Game Service have joined the SBA Police in a number of large scale patrols, involving up to forty officers, while the SBA Police have carried out smaller anti-poaching patrols on an almost daily basis. Over 500 mist nets, nearly 300 limesticks and many other items of trapping equipment have been seized and will be destroyed. Nine people have been arrested and charged with trapping offences. They now face prosecution in the SBA Court, which can and does impose heavy fines for trapping offences. An extensive publicity campaign has been undertaken by the SBA Police in the Eastern Sovereign Base Area aimed at discouraging local people

20 Nov 2001 : Column: 173W

from engaging in trapping and spelling out the consequences if they are caught. This autumn's anti- trapping campaign has had a significant impact on the level of trapping activity in the Eastern Sovereign Base Area and the SBA Administration will pursue similar campaigns in the future.

Battlefield Light Utility Helicopter

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the battlefield light utility helicopter programme; and what is its in-service date. [16553]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) on 16 October 2001, Official Report, column 1140W.

Defence Aviation Repair Agency

Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Chief Executive of DARA first met the First Secretary to discuss the relocation of the fixed wing aircraft repair business from RAF St. Athan to Cardiff International Airport. [16390]

Mr. Ingram: The Defence Aviation Repair Agency records show that the Chief Executive of DARA first met with the First Secretary on 5 May 2000.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with the German Defence Minister on providing troops for the international coalition in Afghanistan. [15822]

Mr. Hoon: I have spoken with my German colleague on a number of occasions on a range of issues associated with the international response to the events of September 11, including options for the use of armed forces in support of the international coalition.

RAF St. Athan

Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he is making of the siting of Army units at RAF St. Athan. [16459]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence is looking at the possibility of locating two major Army units on the West Camp site after 2004. This is subject to further detailed study.

Veterans' Affairs

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 13 November 2001, Official Report, column 630W, if he will publish the terms of reference he has agreed on policy development for veterans' affairs. [15539]

Dr. Moonie: The terms of reference for the task force responsible for the development of our policy on veterans' affairs have now been published on the Ministry of Defence website "", together with other

20 Nov 2001 : Column: 174W

information about the initiative. They can be found under Contacts—Veterans' Advice Unit. The terms of reference are as follows:


Adjournment Debates

Mr. Cox: To ask the President of the Council if he will increase the time allocated for the Christmas, Easter and summer Adjournment debates. [15410]

Mr. Robin Cook: The introduction of Westminster Hall has greatly increased the number of Adjournment debates available, and, indeed, returned the pre- Adjournment debates to the Floor of the House.

The Modernisation Committee may look at them when it examines the future of Westminster Hall, but I see no need for immediate change.


Public Appointments

Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many appointments she has made to public bodies since 7 June; and how many are in her gift. [15480]

Clare Short: I have made no appointments to public bodies since 7 June. I have 21 appointments in my gift.

Albania (Child Welfare)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had with the Albanian Government on their policies concerning the (a) welfare and (b) protection of children. [15304]

Clare Short: We have assisted the Government of Albania with the preparation of its recently completed poverty reduction strategy and with the complementary process of developing a Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). The poverty reduction strategy includes targets to reduce infant mortality and improve school enrolment. The MTEF has already led to increased Government spending on health and education.

We are responding to these policies by supporting several projects that have both direct and indirect benefits for children, from our bilateral programme of £3 million

20 Nov 2001 : Column: 175W

per year. These include a £2 million project to reform social service delivery and to target resources better, including services for children; help for reforms to policy development, planning and financing of health care; and a project to improve rural livelihoods in the poorest rural communities.

We are also contributing £4.3 million to the EU programme for Albania in 2001, which includes measures that benefit children and their protection, such as local community development and strengthening of policing and public order.

Next Section Index Home Page