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Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 28 February 2002, Official Report, columns 145253W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Dr. Palmer), on the basis of current assumptions, savings in support costs are likely to be some £360 million over the in-service life of the aircraft. The savings in procurement costs arising from the current contract have yet to be finally negotiated with BAE Systems and its principal suppliers, and is a commercial in confidence matter between the relevant parties.
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Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what dates talks (a) have been and (b) will be held between his Department and the lawyers representing Kenyan tribespeople who have been injured as a result of unexploded British Army ordnance. 
Mr. Ingram: Meetings between the Ministry of Defence and the lawyers representing Kenyan tribespeople were held on 28 November 2001, 11 January and 8 April 2002. One further meeting has been planned for end of June before mediation talks are held over the period 17 to 19 July 2002.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the policy of the Government are on liability for death and injury caused by unexploded ordnance left behind after British military exercises in Kenya; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: When compensation claims are submitted, they are considered on the basis of whether or not the Ministry of Defence has a legal liability to pay compensation. Where there is a legal liability to pay compensation we do so.
Mr. Ingram: The Defence Vetting Agency is the largest government organisation carrying out national security checks on people to allow them to be employed in jobs involving access to sensitive information or assets. These jobs range throughout the Ministry of Defence and armed services, a number of other Government Departments, and defence contractor companies. This year will see the Agency emerge from a challenging modernisation and rationalisation programme that started soon after it was created in 1997. The completion of the programme will create a much more responsive, integrated organisation, able to exploit the capabilities of modern information technology to the benefit of its customers. The chief executive has been set the following key targets.
To address the diversity imbalance in the agency and achieve by 2002:
Women (at Band D): 12 per cent.
Women (Field Force): 10 per cent.
Ethnic Minorities (Field Force): 1.8 per cent.
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40 per cent. of counter terrorist and security checks completed within 10 days, and 90 per cent. of developed vetting completed within 30 days. Key Target 4:
To achieve agreed completion times for routine requests for security clearances:
60 per cent. of counter terrorist and security checks completed within 30 days,
40 per cent. of developed vetting completed within 100 days and 90 per cent. within 182 days. Key Target 5:
To achieve average completion times of 30 days for counter terrorist checks and for security checks, and 100 days for developed vetting. Efficiency
Mr. Ingram: The key targets that have been set for the chief executive of the Naval Manning Agency for the financial year 200203 are as listed. The targets build upon progress made by the agency since it formed on 1 July 1996.
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Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the answer of 21 March 2002, Official Report, column 450W to the hon. Member for Leyton and Wanstead (Harry Cohen), when he will place a letter in the Library detailing his Department's contracts for which Israeli companies are bidding as (a) prime contractors and (b) teaming partners; and in the case of the latter, with which companies they are teamed. 
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects HMS Albion to be fully operational; what refit would be necessary to keep HMS Fearless in operation for one more year; how much it would cost; whether he has considered recommissioning HMS Intrepid; whether he foresees any need for CPD capability in the next 12 months; and what contingency plans he has in place. 
Mr. Ingram: On current plans, HMS Albion will be available for operational tasking early in 2003, and she is expected to be fully operational by mid 2003. HMS Fearless would have needed to undergo and assisted maintenance period at an estimated cost of about £1.5 million to allow her to continue in service for a year beyond her decommissioning date. The assisted maintenance period represented the minimum package of
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work required to keep HMS Fearless in service. Given the age of the vessel, the possibility of additional unplanned repair during this period could not be ruled out. The cost of re-commissioning HMS Intrepid, the sister ship of HMS Fearless, which last put to sea in 1994, would greatly exceed the cost of HMS Fearless's foregone assisted maintenance period. It would not therefore make financial sense to re-commission HMS Intrepid.
The requirement for a docking and heavy lift capability needs to be considered in the prevailing operational context at any particular time. Our assessment is that until HMS Albion enters service, the circumstances in which it is most likely that the UK wold be involved in an operation requiring a dedicated amphibious assault capability would be where we were acting as part of a coalition force. In such a scenario, depending on the requirements of the operation, a docking and heavy lift capability could be provided from within the forces of our coalition partners to enhance the UK's specialist amphibious capabilities of HMS Ocean and the five landing ships logistic. HMS Ocean is available for amphibious force tasking until October this year when she is due, on current plans, to commence a docking period before she again becomes available for tasking early in 2003. However until HMS Albion enters service, the amphibious assault capability will, if operational imperatives dictate, be filled in part by other platforms.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the answer of 11 March 2002, Official Report, column 326W, on strategic lift transport ships, what the date is for the keel lay of HMS 'Beach Head'; and when she is to be delivered. 
Dr. Moonie: I assume that the question refers to the answer that appeared on 6 March 2002, Official Report, columns 32526W. I refer the hon. Member to my pursuant answer of 10 April 2002, Official Report, column 32W. The delivery date is 30 April 2003. Beachy Head will be a commercial ship with the designation motor vessel (mv) not HMS.
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