10 Dec 2001 : Column: 531W

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 10 December 2001


Parliamentary Questions

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Solicitor-General what percentage of parliamentary questions replied to by the Law Officers' Departments were the subject of a holding answer in the last three sessions of Parliament. [22023]

The Solicitor-General: The figures are as follows:


Dangerous Driving (Sentencing)

Mr. Randall: To ask the Solicitor-General how many of the cases of causing death by dangerous driving whose sentences were considered to be unduly lenient have been referred to her by the court of appeal in each of the last five years. [20937]

The Solicitor-General: Records for cases referred by the Law Officers as unduly lenient sentences to the Court of Appeal have only been maintained by category of offence since 2000. Four cases of death by dangerous driving were referred in 2000 and so far this year six cases have been referred to the Court of Appeal.


Joint Strike Fighter

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how may jobs will be supported by the decision to proceed with the joint strike fighter in (a) the regions of England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales, (d) Northern Ireland and (e) the UK; and what information he has collated on how many jobs will be supported on a company basis. [17358]

Mr. Hoon: As I announced to the House on 29 October 2001, Official Report, column 514W, it is estimated that up to 3,500 jobs could be supported or created during the next phase of the Joint Strike Fighter project, rising to 8,500 in later phases. The detailed information requested is not held in the format requested. Officials are working to collate the information and I will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Active Service

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate of the percentage of the (a) Army,

10 Dec 2001 : Column: 532W

(b) Navy and (c) Air Force which were committed to operations in each reporting period for each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. [18754]

Mr. Ingram: Since April 2000, the percentage of the trained strength committed to operations for each service has been collated on a quarterly basis. These percentages, which do not include personnel preparing for operations, recovering from operations, or engaged in training, are shown in the table.

Percentage of trained strength committed to operations

ArmyNavy(1)Air Force

(1) Including Marines

For financial years 1998–99 and 1999–2000, summary information on commitment levels can be found in the relevant Ministry of Defence Performance Report, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. Information for years predating the 1998 Strategic Defence Review is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. We remain determined to balance operational commitments and we will commit personnel to operations for no longer than is necessary to achieve the military aim. Recent operations in Macedonia demonstrated this well. To mitigate the demands placed upon those service personnel who are deployed on operations overseas, we have introduced a new and comprehensive package of welfare support.

Home Defence

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what review he has made of the need for home defence since the events of 11 September. [20889]

Mr. Ingram: My right hon. Friend the Secretary for Defence informed the House on 4 October that the Ministry of Defence would be conducting work designed to ensure that we have the right concepts, forces and capabilities to deal with the kind of asymmetric threat that we saw on 11 September.

This work is on-going and is addressing, among a wide range of issues, the balance between the contributions that the armed forces make to home defence and countering threats abroad. A key part of this work is exploring the role that the armed forces, including the reserves, have in defending and protecting the homeland.

The lead for domestic security lies with the civil authorities, and with the police in particular. The armed forces already provide assistance to the civil authorities in a range of ways. In terms of classical territorial defence roles, the RAF is responsible for the defence of our airspace and the Royal Navy has a role in ensuring the integrity of our territorial waters.

10 Dec 2001 : Column: 533W

We are looking at whether we need to enhance the assistance we provide or build on our territorial defence roles. We are also reviewing the arrangements and level of co-ordination between the civil authorities and the armed forces in order to maximise the utility, and suitability, of responses to any future requests for assistance.

Armed Forces (Deployability)

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of each of the armed forces were deployable at the latest date for which figures are available. [18460]

Mr. Ingram: As at 1 November 2001, the Navy had a trained strength of 37,176, of which 33,352 personnel were fully deployable and 1,638 were deployable with some limitations. The Regular Army, excluding Gurkhas and the Royal Irish, amounted to 96,255 personnel of whom 86,296 were fully deployable and an additional 7,042 deployable with some limitations. The RAF had a trained strength of 49,116 of which 45,245 were deployable.

Osama bin Laden

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on what discussions his Department had prior to 11 September with Pakistan Government officials regarding Osama bin Laden. [19414]

Mr. Hoon: The Defence Adviser in Islamabad discussed the al-Qaeda organisation in his routine contacts with Pakistan Government officials prior to 11 September.

Departmental Expenditure Limits

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the increase in the departmental expenditure limit from 2001–02 to 2002–03 will be accounted for by wage costs. [20667]

Mr. Ingram: The level of wage costs in the Defence budget this year and in future years will be dependent upon the outcome of Pay Review Body reports and negotiations. The Department's performance report published in the autumn of next year will give full retrospective costs.

Vehicle Purchase

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what policy the Defence Procurement Agency adopts on supporting British manufacturing when purchasing vehicles. [20881]

Dr. Moonie: Competition is the cornerstone of the Ministry of Defence's procurement policy and this applies equally to the purchase of vehicles. Contracts are awarded on best overall value for money. Article 12 of the EC treaty requires that member states do not discriminate in favour of national suppliers. However, where there are exemptions under the regulations we make use of them.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the financial benefits of bulk purchasing vehicles of one particular model for the MOD police. [20882]

10 Dec 2001 : Column: 534W

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence police require a range of vehicle types to meet operational needs. When assessing which vehicle represents best value for money against a particular requirement, the bulk purchase discounts offered by manufacturers are taken into account.

Spanish Airspace

Syd Rapson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost (a) per flight on average and (b) on an annual basis since 1977 of the fuel consumption caused by military aircraft having to avoid Spanish airspace. [20775]

Mr. Ingram: The information requested is not held and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces Headquarters

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when an announcement will be made concerning the relocation of 51 Brigade headquarters. [20885]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence is examining the roles and responsibilities of the regional brigade structure of which 51 Brigade is part. No decisions have yet been made but I hope to be in a position to make an announcement shortly.

Next Section Index Home Page