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National Minimum Wage

Jeff Ennis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Barnsley, East and Mexborough received the recent increase in the national minimum wage. [30525]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter to Jeff Ennis from Len Cook, dated 28 January 2002:




Mr. Roy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Motherwell and Wishaw received the recent increase in the national minimum wage. [30860]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Frank Roy, dated 28 January 2002:




Ministerial Transport

Bob Russell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last used the railway service in connection with his official duties; what station he left from and what was the destination; and whether it is his intention to make greater use of the railways in future. [28092]

Mr. Gordon Brown: I use railway services for both official duties and in a private capacity.

I last used the railway service for official duties on 5 July 2001 to travel to Brighton for the Transport and General Workers Union Conference. All arrangements for official travel are made in line with the guidance set out in Chapter 7 of the "Ministerial Code", and the accompanying guidance document "Travel by Ministers", using the most efficient and cost effective mode of transport, and bearing in mind security considerations.

I will continue to use the railway for official and private travel as appropriate.

Employment Statistics

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 8 January 2002, Official Report, columns 797–98W, on employment in the Buckingham

28 Jan 2002 : Column 13W

constituency, what the average figures for working age employment in the UK were in each year from 1997 to 2001. [30126]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Bercow, dated 28 January 2002:



Working age(6) employment rates(7): United Kingdom 1997–98 to 2000–01
Not seasonally adjusted

Percentage
March 1997 to February 199872.8
March 1998 to February 199973.5
March 1999 to February 200073.8
March 2000 to February 200174.1

(6) Men aged 16–64 and women aged 16–59

(7) Total employed of working age as a percentage of all persons of working age

Source:

ONS Labour Force Survey (annual LADB dataset)


DEFENCE

Afghanistan

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many C130Ks are being used in the deployment in Afghanistan; how many flying hours per week they are flying; and whether that can be increased. [26349]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 11 January 2002]: The number of C130Ks deployed to support operations in Afghanistan has varied with time, depending on operational requirements. As of 20 January, eight C130Ks were deployed. Flying hours vary depending on the operational requirement; between 13 and 19 January the deployed aircraft averaged 30 hours per week. There is no operational reason at present to increase the numbers of hours flown by each aircraft but, if it were necessary, the deployment of additional crews would allow us to do so.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements he has made to enable parcels to be sent to forces in Afghanistan. [30823]

Mr. Ingram: We consider delivery of mail to all overseas personnel, including parcels, to be a high priority. Accordingly, a BFPO number has been assigned to Afghanistan, and parcels can be sent at reduced rates. Mail is delivered as frequently as possible using the military aircraft deploying and sustaining the UK armed forces personnel in country, within the constraints of operational imperatives.

28 Jan 2002 : Column 14W

Fixed-wing Aircraft

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence further to his answer of 5 December 2001, Official Report, column 359W, on fixed wing aircraft, how many and what type of fixed wing aircraft there were in the Royal Air Force in each year from 1985 to 2000; and if he will make a statement. [22387]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 13 December 2001]: The best available set of centrally held figures denoting the size of the RAF's fixed wing aircraft fleet for the period from 1985 to 1991 inclusive, is the 'RAF Form STATS 1003'. I will place a copy of these figures in the Library of the House.

Ministry of Defence annually published figures for the years 1992–2000 are contained in either the Statement on Defence Estimates or the MOD Performance report, copies of which are in the Library of the House. Specific references are as follows:


Combatants (Minimum Age)

Matthew Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the youngest age is at which someone can (a) join the armed forces and (b) take part in operations. [29466]

Mr. Ingram: The lowest age at which people are able to join the armed forces is 16 years. Applicants under the age of 18 years require the formal consent of their parents or guardians before they are permitted to join.

No service personnel under the age of 17 are deployed on operations. No personnel under the age of 18 carry out operational patrols in Northern Ireland, although 17-year-olds can be based in the Province. Under-18s are not deployed as aircrew or in submarines.

In line with United Nations (UN) policy, we do not deploy personnel under the age of 18 on UN peacekeeping operations.

We are currently finalising detailed administrative procedures and guidelines for the armed forces to give concrete form to the United Kingdom's commitment made on signing Optional Protocol II of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to take all feasible measures to ensure that personnel under the age of 18 do not take a direct part in hostilities.

28 Jan 2002 : Column 15W

Army Complement

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) the official complement and (b) the actual numbers in post in the Army are, broken down by regiment and other section headings. [29468]

28 Jan 2002 : Column 16W

Mr. Ingram: The information is not centrally held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However details on the current United Kingdom Trained Adult Personnel (UKTAP) manning state by arm/service as at 1 December 2001 are in the table.

Current UKTAP manning state by arm/service at 1 December 2001 (including Gurkhas and full-time reserve service)

Officers Soldiers
Arm/serviceLiabilityStrengthLiabilityStrength
Staff715758
Household Cavalry/Royal Armoured Corps8618155,0114,915
Royal Artillery1,0621,0207,4396,947
Royal Engineers1,1391,1077,6627,417
Royal Signals9528757,5867,111
Infantry2,7662,78623,97122,675
Army Air Corps4594111,3091,319
Royal Army Chaplains Department148144
Royal Logistic Corps1,6531,58315,02213,152
Royal Army Medical Corps8826612,0401,869
Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers8758179,8568,360
Adjutant General Corps (Provost)2141781,8951,895
Adjutant General Corps (Staff Personnel Support)4884414,3454,036
Adjutant General Corps (Education and Training Corps)335315
Adjutant General Corps (Army Legal Service)9088
Royal Army Veterinary Corps2321146126
Small Arms Service Corps3130112122
Royal Army Dental Corps149127271240
Intelligence Corps2582451,0111,005
Army Physical Training Corps5050354362
General List1
Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps343284610404
Corps of Army Music35361,120993
Long Service List638577
Unallocated2
UKTAP total13,52812,79590,39883,525
Gurkhas1161282,9313,455
Full-time Reserve Service339562
Whole Army total13,64413,26293,32987,542
Whole Army trained strength100,804

Notes:

1. The officer strength figures exclude 105 mobilised reservists.

2. The soldier strength figures exclude 646 mobilised reservists.

3. The liability figures are based on the Manpower Planning Targets (MPT) for 2001.

4. Gurkha liability does not include an addback against UKTAP undermanning of 409 or 22 non-established posts (two officers and 20 soldiers).



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