|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what value he estimates attaches to the Throckmorton airfield within QinetiQ's property portfolio (a) as currently developed, (b) with an asylum accommodation centre on the airfield and (c) with planning permission for a science park. 
Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 February 2002, Official Report, column 856W. Given that the site now belongs to QinetiQ plc, the value of the site, now and in the future, forms part of the company's commercial planning process. I am therefore withholding the information requested under Exemption 13 of the code of practice on access to Government information which relates to the maintenance of commercial confidences.
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the ownership of land at Throckmorton airfield; and what plans his Department has for the disposal of this land (a) to the Home Office or its agencies and (b) through the privatisation of Qinetiq; 
(3) what impact the construction of the proposed asylum accommodation centre at Throckmorton would have on (a) the activities of QinetiQ and (b) the other defence-related activities at the airfield. 
Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 17 July 2001, Official Report, column 142W. Most of the Throckmorton site, formerly known as the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) Pershore, is now owned by QinetiQ. The remainder of the site, used last year to deal with some of the consequences of the foot and mouth outbreak, is in the final stages of being transferred to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
As part of the PPP process, all activities carried out by DERA were reviewed, and those which did not need to be retained within Government were transferred to QinetiQ on 1 July 2001, including those carried out at Pershore. Legally enforceable safeguards are in place to ensure that QinetiQ continue to provide key strategic facilities and services required by the Ministry of Defence. Against this background the company is free to explore other business opportunities.
The future provision of an accommodation centre for asylum seekers is the responsibility of the Home Office, and although QinetiQ's site at Pershore has been identified as a potential site, a final decision has yet to be made. Subject to consultation, with QinetiQ as landowner, the local planning authorities, and the local community, the final decision with regard to siting one of these centres at Pershore rests with the Home Secretary.
16 May 2002 : Column 776W
UK in her Department's memorandum on the Ballistic Missile Threat; what activities of Libya are of concern to the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: Although we currently assess there is no significant ballistic missile threat to the United Kingdom from Libya, Libya continues to have an active programme for the development of long-range ballistic missiles. We believe that Libya is also pursuing programmes for the development of weapons of mass destruction.
Dr. Moonie: The main medical elements of the Strategic Defence Review have either been completed or remain in the Defence programme, although some may be subject to change in the light of subsequent developments.
Mr. Ingram: HMS Monmouth is currently undergoing a planned refit at Rosyth dockyard, involving necessary equipment refurbishment and enhancements to her operational and support systems. This will include enhanced aviation capability, to accommodate the Merlin helicopter, and installation of a new command support system and anti-air warfare training system. Other enhancements will also be made to her communications, administration and waste disposal systems.
Mr. Ingram: HMS Ark Royal completed her last planned refit in November 2001. The last planned refit for HMS Invincible commenced in September 2001 and is expected to complete and return to service in the first half of 2003. That for HMS Illustrious will commence this autumn and is expected to complete in autumn 2004. The vessels will, however, continue to undergo routine maintenance and shorter docking periods for the remainder of their service lives.
16 May 2002 : Column 777W
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the compatibility of the pay and conditions of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and other regiments in the British Army, excluding the Gurkhas; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The Royal Gibraltar Regiment is a force raised in Gibraltar for service in Gibraltar. Its officers hold a Governor's Commission rather than a Queen's Commission. The Regiment has close links with the British Army, and occasionally officers and soldiers are attached for a period of time to British Army units.
Members of the permanent cadre of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and the Volunteer Reserve receive the same rates of pay as their counterparts in the Regular Army and the Territorial Army, with the exception that they receive lower rates of X factor, ie 5 per cent. and 2.5 per cent. respectively, instead of 13 per cent. and 5 per cent. (the X factor is the additional element added to basic pay to reflect the differences between conditions of service in the Army and United Kingdom civilian life). The lower levels of X factor for the Regiment reflects the reduced liability for service of its members. Members of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment may also be eligible for United Kingdom service allowances provided they meet the relevant criteria.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to his Department was of employing staff in (a) London and (b) the south-east from employment agencies in each year since 1997. 
Dr. Moonie: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Agency staff are generally used as an interim measure to fill posts which cannot be filled conventionally in the required time scale.
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance is given to serving officers on the submission of letters to newspapers for publication; if the letter from Flight Lieutenant D. Holland RAF and Lieutenant James Hamblin RN to The Times, published on 13 May was approved by commanding officers; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: Inquiries have revealed that there are no officers with these names in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The authorship of this letter is therefore unknown. We have informed The Times accordingly. Queen's Regulations provide guidance to service personnel on publication of views and the requirement to seek permission beforehand. Had the letter been authentic, these procedures would have needed to be followed.
16 May 2002 : Column 778W
|Number of recruits|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|