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Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many fleet submarines are at sea. [66029]

Mr. Ingram: As of 2 July 2002 we had six fleet submarines operationally at sea, and one at sea conducting sea trials. The remaining five are either in extended periods of maintenance, or at extended readiness.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Tomahawk armed SSNs will be operational in this and each of the next five years. [66035]

Mr. Ingram: On current plans, the number of Tomahawk-capable SSNs which will be operational in this and the next five years are as follows:


This does not take into account maintenance periods.

Munitions Depots

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the area is of the munitions depot at West Dean, Wiltshire; and what percentage is (a) buildings, (b) roads and hard standing, (c) farmland, (d) woodland and (e) designated as a SSSI. [65714]

Mr. Ingram: The Defence Munitions Depot, Dean Hill has a total area of some 236 hectares (583 acres). Building development is of low density and disbursed across the

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whole site. There are 1.3 hectares of underground storage within the hillside and approximately five hectares of buildings. These are connected by an infrastructure of roads, rail, services and bonded storage which is contained within a footprint of approximately 75 hectares or 31 per cent. of the total. 36 per cent. of the site is let for agricultural purposes, while woodland constitutes 15 per cent. The site of special scientific interest (SSSI) extends to some 43 hectares or 18 per cent. of the total, and it should be noted that part of the woodland is within the SSSI.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of (a) stored munitions and (b) engineering and munitions maintenance work is carried out at Dean Hill for each of the three armed services. [65732]

Mr. Ingram: 48 per cent. by volume of the munitions stored at Dean Hill are held in support of the Navy and 52 per cent. in support of the RAF. However, munitions stocks held at Dean Hill represent less than four per cent. of munitions stored by Defence Munitions on behalf of all three armed services.

In the last year, 49 per cent. of engineering and munitions maintenance work at Dean Hill was carried out in support of the Navy and 51 per cent. in support of the RAF. Again, however, this represents about four per cent. of the processing capacity within Defence Munitions.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the criteria used to decide which munitions depot to dispose of; and if he will list the depots against which Dean Hill competed. [65733]

Mr. Ingram: An internal rationalisation study, known as Defence Munitions Rationalisation Study 2 (DMRS 2), started in 2001, and examined the best utilisation of Defence Munitions (DM) facilities throughout the United Kingdom. An earlier study (DMRS 1) had already recommended two other site closures at DM Welford on Berkshire and DM Smalmstown near Carlisle in 2000.

Even after the impact of the closure of the Welford and Smalmstown sites has been taken into account, DMRS 2 confirmed that spare capacity remains in DM's explosives storage and processing capacity.

The DMRS 2 team examined munitions storage, processing and supply issues. Most of DM's eight principal depots cover a variety of these outputs. The study drew these elements together to determine how the necessary capacity could most efficiently be retained. Taking all of these elements into account, it was concluded that only the capacity and facilities provided by the DM Depot at Dean Hill, near to West Dean village in south Wiltshire, was not critical to the delivery of DM's outputs. The other Defence Munitions depots are required either for the volume of explosives storage and processing capacity they offer and/or have specialised (often unique) facilities to outload and issue munitions to customers.

All eight Defence Munitions depots were included in the review. Apart from DM Dean Hill, these are DM Beith in Ayrshire, DM Crombie in Fife, DM Glen Douglas in Dunbartonshire, DM Gosport in Hampshire, DM Kineton in Warwickshire, DM Longtown in Cumbria and DM Plymouth in Devon.

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Married Quarters

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the answer of 25 June 2002, Official Report, column 749W, on married quarters, what criteria are used to assign standards to service families accommodation. [66230]

Mr. Ingram: The Defence Housing Executive (DHE) uses a Standard for Condition rating system. Properties are categorised as being Standard 1, 2, 3 or 4 according to points for each of a number of attributes including bathroom and kitchen facilities, electrical sockets, building fabric, safety, and energy efficiency. A property is graded Standard 1 for Condition (SIFC) only if all the attributes are assessed as being at Standard 1.

Forces Manpower

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there is full manning of the (a) Royal Air Force and (b) Royal Navy; and if he will make a statement. [66293]

Mr. Ingram: The RAF is in broad manning balance. However, shortfalls remain in a number of branches and trades. The RAF aim is to meet the Public Service Agreement (PSA), so that full manning against the requirement within a tolerance band of +1/-2 per cent.

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will be achieved by March 2004. The naval service will not now reach its PSA target of full manning within a tolerance band of +1/-2 per cent. in 2004, but it is determined to do so by 2005 and work continues on measures to achieve this.

Non-munition Stocks

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the book value of non-munition stocks was in (a) 1997, (b) 1998 and (c) April 2001; and if he will make a statement. [66294]

Mr. Ingram: Information was not presented on a Resource Accounting basis until financial year 1999–2000. Consequently, the information sought for 1997 and 1998 is not available. The opening and closing balances for non-munition stocks in financial year 2000–01 1 were:

Financial year 2000–01(11)£ million
Opening balance(12),(13)5,295
Closing balance(12),(13)4,573

(11) The Departmental Resource Accounts for 2000–01 were the subject of NAO qualification.

(12) Figures are book values after deducting provisions from gross stock values.

(13) Figures are subject to normal Modified Historic Accounting indexation, and are rounded to the nearest whole.

4 Jul 2002 : Column 525W


Harold Shipman

James Purnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has set a tariff in the case of Harold Shipman. [67644]

Mr. Blunkett: I do not usually comment on the tariff decided in individual life sentence prisoner cases. However, I recognise that Harold Shipman's crimes raise issues of particular public concern and I therefore intend to depart from my usual practice in this case. Harold Shipman was convicted in January 2000 on 15 counts of murder. I extend my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the victims. These were the most heinous of offences and the grossest breach of the duty of trust he owed as a doctor to the victims all of whom were trusting patients. Taking all the circumstances into account I have decided that nothing less than a whole life tariff should apply in this case.

British Overseas Citizens

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the future of British overseas citizens who hold no other nationality. [67224]

Beverley Hughes: Following representations made during passage of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill about the continuing difficulties faced by British Overseas Citizens who have no other nationality, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has decided that those British Overseas Citizens who currently do not hold, and have never given up another nationality will be given an entitlement to register as British citizens. We are doing this to address the situation which left those people concerned with no right of abode in any country. An amendment to this effect will be made to the Bill at Report Stage in the House of Lords. Applicants will be dealt with at our posts overseas and will not need to meet any United Kingdom residence requirements. There will be no deadline for applications.


Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional steps he plans to take to restrict the use of fireworks. [66875]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I have been asked to reply.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to my hon. Friend the Member for Motherwell and Wishaw, Official Report, column 218.

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