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Digital Television

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make an assessment of the benefits to the consumer of a digital terrestrial television service being (a) wholly free to air and (b) partly free to air and partly pay. [65463]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 1 July 2002]: The licences surrendered by ITV digital have been re-advertised by the Independent Television Commission. I understand that the ITC have received six applications. Some of the applicants propose a wholly free to air service, other a mix of free to air and pay channels. Decisions on the licence awards are not a matter for the government but for the ITC which aims to announce the new licensees by 4 July.

Clarence House

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the projected cost is to public funds of the refurbishment of Clarence House; on what works public funds will be spent; and if she will make a statement. [65652]

Dr. Howells: Detailed surveys are currently taking place to ascertain the extent of the Clarence House refurbishment works, which include work on fire compartmentation, automatic fire detection, upgrade of electrical and mechanical services and some redecoration. It is not possible to provide a firm estimate of the cost of the refurbishment until the completion of these surveys. The refurbishment will be funded from the current level of grant in aid for the maintenance of the Occupied Royal Palaces.

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Mr. Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to publicise the benefits of access to broadband services. [61804]

Mr. Timms: I have been asked to reply.

I am convinced that broadband services have an important role to play in increasing the competitiveness of the UK economy. I have therefore taken several opportunities to promote the benefits of broadband including by supporting the 'Demand: Broadband' campaign run by the Communications Workers Union.

The UK Online Annual Report 2001 sets out the Government's broadband strategy. To stimulate demand for current broadband content and applications the Government will:

We have also established a £30 million fund to help the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and devolved Administrations develop innovative schemes to extend broadband networks. Using this fund, some of the RDAs and devolved Administrations are carrying forward work which demonstrates the benefits of broadband.

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Trident Acquisition Programme

Mr. Beard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the latest estimate is of the cost of the Trident Acquisition Programme; and if he will make a statement. [67206]

Mr. Hoon: The current estimate of the total acquisition cost of the Trident programme, with payments already made expressed at the prices and exchange rates actually incurred and future spend at the current financial year rate (the hybrid) estimate, is now £9,800 million. Since the 2001 estimate and leaving aside the effects of price inflation and exchange rate variation (+£11 million), there has been a real cost increase of £25 million. This increase derives principally from additional costs associated with dockyard projects and with missiles and related equipment, offset by a reduced acquisition cost for the four submarines. Expenditure on the Trident acquisition programme to 30 September 2001 represented over 98 per cent. of the total estimate. If all expenditure, past and projected, is brought up to this current year's economic conditions (the non-hybrid estimate) the estimate is £14,376 million.

The programme continues to show an overall reduction in real terms on its original 1982 estimate. This reduction, including the savings resulting from the decision to process missiles at the United States facility at Kings Bay, Georgia, now stands at over £3.7 billion at current prices.

The proportion of the estimate for work undertaken in the United Kingdom continues to be around 70 per cent.

Three in-service Vanguard class submarines are successfully maintained for continuous at-sea deterrence, with the fourth, HMS Vanguard, now undergoing a planned major overhaul.

Estimate table
£ million

Previous estimate (2001) at 2000–01 economic conditions (£1:$1.6086)2,8596,9049,764
Real changes+18+8+25
Price inflation on unspent balance0+3+3
Exchange rate variation on unspent balance+8n/a+8
Revised estimate at 2001–02 economic conditions (£1:$1.46)2,8846,9169,800
Previous estimate (2001) at 2000–01 economic conditions (£1:$1.6806)3,60410,05813,662
Real changes+18+8+25
Price inflation+62+252+313
Exchange rate variation+375n/a+375
Revised estimate at 2001–02 economic conditions (£1:$1.46)4,05910,31814,376


Figures rounded to nearest £1 million hence any apparent imbalances.

Ministerial Salaries

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the annual cost was of ministerial salaries in his Department in (a) 1997–98 and (b) 2001–02. [60937]

Mr. Ingram: The level of ministerial salaries are recommended by the Senior Salaries Review Body. From May 1997, in the Ministry of Defence there was one Cabinet Minister, at an annual salary of £43,991; two Ministers of State, at a total annual salary of £82,963; and one Parliamentary Under-Secretary, at an annual salary of £23,623. From June 2001, there was one Cabinet Minister, at an annual salary of £68,157; one Minister of State, at an annual salary of £35,356; and two Parliamentary Under-Secretaries, at a total annual salary of £87,796.

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SA80A2 Rifle

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the performance of the SA80A2 rifle in Afghanistan; and what faults have been reported. [66017]

Mr. Ingram: The SA80-A2 is operating in a very difficult environment in Afghanistan with both dusty conditions and extremes of temperature. To date, three formal equipment failure reports have been filed from Afghanistan; this under a 100 per cent. fault reporting regime. In an operational environment any concerns are treated very seriously and a specialist team on the ground in Afghanistan is investigating these reports as a matter of urgency.

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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the daily average number of RAF aircraft movements was for each RAF base in the United Kingdom over the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [65200]

Mr. Ingram: The information in the format requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The table details the daily average number of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft movements over the last five years at current RAF stations. A number of the movements may have been aircraft belonging to the other services. At RAF Brize Norton, RAF Lyneham, RAF Northolt and RAF St. Mawgan, commercial aircraft movements are also included.

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
UnitF wingR wingF wingR wingF wingR wingF wingR wingF wingR wing
Barkston Heath158.40.2173.30.1161.30.1151.30.3129.80.1
Brize Norton102.44.695.
Church Fenton75.03.0128.61.9139.62.1150.21.7156.81.0
St. Athan39.
St. Mawgan42.630.941.126.444.227.444.928.245.431.6

An aircraft movement can be a landing or a take-off and an aircraft may record a number of movements in any one sortie.

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