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Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the total expenditure of his Department on IT systems and support in each year from

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May 1997 to date; how many IT contracts have been let in each of those years; of the other main contracting party in each of those contracts, how many have been (a) companies whose registered office is in (i) England and Wales, (ii) Scotland and (iii) Northern Ireland and (b) foreign companies; and what are the names of the companies falling within category (a). [33684]

Dr. Moonie: Total expenditure by the Ministry of Defence on IT systems and support, including hardware and software, furniture, ancillary equipment and licence fees has been as follows:

£ million

(8) Covering period April 2001 to January 2002

The additional information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. I am therefore unable to provide a substantive answer on that element in accordance with Exemption 9 (voluminous and vexatious requests) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Submarine Officers

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 337W, on submarine officers, what the specific disciplines necessary to conduct a warfare officer's first appointment are; and if he will make a statement. [33857]

Mr. Ingram: Before taking up their first appointment as a warfare officer in a submarine, officers will have completed common training with their surface flotilla counterparts in naval general training, which includes navigational instruction. Thereafter, those selected will receive four months shore training in nuclear physics and engineering pertinent to the type of nuclear reactor fitted to the class of submarine to which they are being appointed. They will also receive training in submarine warfare and general engineering systems.

On completion of this shore training, all warfare officers will join their first submarine in a training billet where they will spend the next 12–18 months receiving comprehensive training in all aspects of the individual submarine's systems, standard operating procedures, and emergency operating procedures. At every step they undertake practical and oral examination boards, chaired by the commanding officer, to ensure that they have achieved an appropriate standard of training and expertise. This entitles them to be awarded their submarine badge.

Having been awarded their submarine badge, and having had a further period of consolidation on board a submarine, warfare officers will complete six months further shore training. Once this is completed, they become qualified to pilot a submarine on the surface and navigate the boat while submerged close inshore.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, (1) pursuant to his answer of 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 337W, on submarine officers,

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what the maximum length of time allowed is between a naval officer having a physical assessment and joining a ship; and if he will make a statement; [33859]

Mr. Ingram: All naval personnel are medically screened when they enter the service. The medical examination on entry is valid until an individual reaches the age of 30. After this, five yearly medical examinations are carried out as a matter of routine to age 50. Thereafter, medical examinations are undertaken at two yearly intervals. the normal medical category for an officer is P2—fit for worldwide service. This category is common for all Royal Naval personnel, including submariner officers. Service medical examinations assess an individual's physical condition (upper and lower body), hearing, eyesight, mental capacity and emotional stability.

There is no formal requirement for personnel to undergo a physical assessment at the time they are notified of their re-appointment or when they join a new unit. However, medical documents are reviewed on these occasions and a medical examination is carried out if an assessment is not 'in date', or if personnel are being appointed to the submarine service for the first time. All submariners are required to qualify for service in submarines by undertaking submarine escape tank training (SETT) and to remain qualified by undergoing SETT at intervals of between three and four and a half years. Personnel must be in medical category P2 to attend SETT and are required to undergo a medical re-examination as part of their training. Many submariners undertake SETT at lesser intervals.

The maximum length of time between a service officer having a medical examination and joining a ship will vary depending on personal circumstances and the length of training patters and sea/shore appointments, but for submarine officers, this would be up to three to four and a half years. However, a range of other medical assessments such as classified radiation worker medicals, hearing tests etc. are also periodically carried out depending on the specific nature of an individual's employment. Furthermore, naval personnel receive a full range of primary medical care through the Royal Navy Medical Service. This includes treatments as well as provisions such as vaccinations and well man or woman clinics. Where a medical condition becomes apparent during a primary health care visit, an individual's medical status, including their fitness for sea service, is reviewed as a matter of routine.

Although it is inappropriate to comment on individuals, naval personnel are required to be medically fit for their duties before and during appointment to any unit, including submarines. It is incumbent on all personnel to

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bring to the attention of the appropriate authorities, at any time, any material factor including those of a medical nature, that may affect their ability to carry out their duties.

In situations where an individual's medical condition has changed sufficiently to warrant medical downgrading or recategorisation, one of the factors that is taken into consideration is whether they are able to continue with their present duties in their current unit. This applies particularly to submariners given the environmental conditions that are peculiar to submarines and their limited medical facilities.

Service Accommodation

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints have been received about the (a) suitability and (b) condition of MOD married quarters each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [34034]

Dr. Moonie: The number of complaints received by Defence Housing Executive about the condition of properties is as follows:

April 1998 to March 199992
April 1999 to March 200077
April 2000 to March 200150
April 2001 to September 200128

Figures for 1997–98 are not available.

Separate records of complaints about suitability are not held centrally and this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Suitable accommodation for entitled service personnel is defined by type. There are five property types for officers and three types for other ranks. In general, rank and appointment determines the property type allocated to officers and family size determines the type for other ranks. There are special standards for high cost areas such as London. Joint service property scales lay down specifications for every property type, and a four-tier grading system is used to determine level of charges in properties which do not fully comply with the specifications.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many claims for (a) serious neglect and (b) vandalism against MOD houses have been made in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [34607]

Dr. Moonie: The Defence Housing Executive, which manages service families' accommodation in Great Britain, has no formal record of the number of complaints made about serious neglect or vandalism. The incidence of vandalism is low on occupied estates and is dealt with as and when it arises. Unoccupied estates, awaiting disposal or upgrade, are kept as secure as is practicable. Local or Ministry of Defence police patrol sites, where this is considered necessary.

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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent upgrading MOD married quarters in each constituency since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [34610]

Dr. Moonie: A breakdown of upgrade expenditure by constituency is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, a total of £95.7 million has been spent on the upgrade of service families housing in England, Scotland and Wales since 1997. This can be broken down as follows:

Financial year£ million

These figures do not include new builds, demolition/ rebuild or PFI projects.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence who manages MOD housing in each constituency; and if he will make a statement. [34609]

Dr. Moonie: Services families' accommodation in Great Britain is managed by the Defence Housing Executive (DHE). The DHE was set up in 1995, bringing the three services' housing functions into a single management unit.

Services families' accommodation in Northern Ireland is managed by the Families' Housing Service responsible to the GOC Northern Ireland.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on private sector housing for service personnel in the last 12 months, broken down by constituency; and if he will make statement. [34033]

Dr. Moonie: The table shows the expenditure on substitute accommodation in Great Britain rented by the Ministry of Defence from the private sector when accommodation according to entitlement could not otherwise be provided for service personnel and their families. Figures relate to the period 1 January to 31 December 2001. A breakdown by constituency could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Family accommodationSingle accommodation
Council tax, utilities, telephone line rental, etc.9333,432

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel are seeking married quarters accommodation; and if he will make a statement. [34031]

Dr. Moonie: The Defence Housing Executive (DHE) is required to provide, on request, family accommodation for entitled service personnel within 10 miles of their duty station and by their required date. In general, houses are kept waiting for service families, rather than service

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families kept waiting for housing. During 2000–01, over 97 per cent. of entitled service families were housed within 28 days of their required date (against a target of 92 per cent.) and a similar achievement is expected for 2001–02.

When DHE accommodation is unavailable, substitute service families accommodation (SSFA) is provided, by DHE, from the private rental market.

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