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4 Nov 2002 : Column 56W—continued

Desert Terrain Equipment

29. Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the suitability of the equipment available to the British armed forces for conflict in desert terrain. [76723]

Mr. Ingram: The recent Exercise SAIF SAREEA 2 allowed us to identify and assess the challenge our armed forces could face when operating in testing desert conditions. This major exercise enabled us to evaluate strengths and indicated where we might make improvements to our equipment and procedures. As a result of the post-exercise evaluation, we are carrying out equipment enhancement programmes to meet the demands of desert environments.

Bullying

31. Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures he is taking to combat bullying in the armed forces. [76725]

Mr. Ingram: The services' policy is that no form of harassment or intimidation will be tolerated; all allegations are investigated, and appropriate action taken. Potential recruits are made fully aware of this policy and it is set out in the Armed Forces Diversity policy issued in June 2002. A confidential helpline is available in case of need. Officers and senior ranks have the responsibility to preserve good order and discipline at all times, and this is reinforced on appropriate training courses. All of these measures are kept under review and adjusted as necessary.

Test and Evaluation Ranges

32. Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his Department's work to find alternative commercial opportunities at test and evaluation ranges. [76726]

Mr. Ingram: Over the next year, Defence Estates will be closely examining QinetiQ's rationalisation plans for test and evaluation ranges to identify whether any property can be declared surplus to Ministry of Defence requirements and released for commercial opportunities. In addition, the Defence Diversification

4 Nov 2002 : Column 57W

Agency (DDA) continues to work in support of the regional development agencies, which assume overall responsibility for economic regeneration issues. Wherever possible, the DDA assists local communities to secure diversification opportunities through the use of Ministry of Defence technology transfer, expertise and information sharing.

Civil Emergencies

33. Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the role of (a) the Army and (b) the Royal Navy in assisting with UK civil emergencies. [76727]

Mr. Ingram: All three armed forces provide support to the civil authorities during civil emergencies under well understood, long-standing arrangements. These fall into three broad categories: military aid to the civil community, which is provided at times of life-threatening emergency; military aid to other Government Departments, which is provided when essential services cannot be maintained in any other way, and military aid to the civil power which is the provision of specialist support to the police and other law enforcement agencies.

Warships

34. Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Navy warships are operational. [76728]

Mr. Ingram: There are currently 80 HM ships and submarines in the operational fleet. This includes all vessels that are operational or engaged in preparing for service, trials or training.

Reserves

37. Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress has been made in enhancing the role of the reserves in home defence; and if he will make a statement. [76731]

Mr. Hoon: My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces announced the full implementation of our proposals for the use of the Reserves in home defence and security in the House on 31 October 2002, Official Report, column 1023.

The new arrangements will provide significant improvements in three areas. An enhanced regionally-based planning and command capability will make it easier for the authorities dealing with civil contingencies to secure rapid support from the Armed Forces, both Regular and Reserve. An integrated communications infrastructure will be provided by a Territorial Army unit, 2 (National Communications) Signals Brigade, for which we are acquiring new communications equipment compatible with that being introduced in the emergency services. Finally, we are establishing 14 Civil Contingency Reaction Forces, each of some 500 volunteers from existing Reservists, to provide a new planned capability to assist the emergency services and other authorities at short notice.

In total the Reserve Forces will receive an addition of some 700 new posts and some 130,000 man-training days.

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Army Recruits

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many Army regiments are running at more than (a) five and (b) ten per cent. below their recommended complement of non-commissioned officers, and if he will make a statement [78274]

Mr. Ingram: The information requested is not held by Regiment, but by Arms/Corps. Those Arms/Corps running at more than five per cent. below their recommended compliment of non-commissioned officers and warrant officers are shown in the table.

Percentage
Warrant Officers
Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps-37.9
Non-Commissioned Officers
Royal Artillery-12.1
Royal Signals-9.4
Infantry-8.8
Army Air Corps-21.2
Royal Logistics Corps-6.4
Royal Army Medical Corps-16.9
Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers-11.8
Royal Army Veterinary Corps-25.0
Small Arms School Corps-12.2
Army Physical Training Corps-31.4
Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps-40.9

Those Arms/Corps running at more than ten per cent. below their recommended compliment of non-commissioned officers and warrant officers are shown in the following table.


Percentage
Warrant Officers
Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps-37.9
Non-Commissioned Officers
Royal Artillery-12.1
Army Air Corps-21.2
Royal Army Medical Corps-16.9
Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers-11.8
Royal Army Veterinary Corps-25.0
Small Arms School Corps-12.2
Army Physical Training Corps-31.4
Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps-40.9

Non-commissioned officers are those soldiers with the rank of Lance Corporal up to and including Staff Sergeant. Warrant Officers are not classified as non-commissioned officers, the data has been included for completeness. All figures are as at 1 September 2002 and for trained personnel only.

Those Arms/Corps running at more than five per cent. below their recommended compliment of commissioned officers are shown in the following table.

Percentage
Royal Signals5.8
Army Air Corps8.9
Royal Army Chaplains Department9.7
Royal Army Medical Corps27.0
Adjutant General's Corps (Provost)8.5
Adjutant General's Corps (Staff and Personnel Support)14.8
Royal Army Veterinary Corps17.4
Royal Army Dental Corps5.6
Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps19.9
Corps of Army Music5.6

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Those Arms/Corps running at more than ten per cent. below their recommended compliment of commissioned officers are shown in the following table.

Percentage
Royal Army Medical Corps27.0
Adjutant General's Corps (Staff and Personnel Support)14.8
Royal Army Veterinary Corps17.4
Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps19.9

All figures are as at 1 September 2002 and for trained personnel only.

BAE Systems

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how long the arrangement whereby employees of BAE Systems work on secondment to his Department has been in place, and where those staff are based; how many employees of BAE Systems are on secondment to the his Department; and how many employees of other defence manufacturers are on secondment to his Department, with the number of employees per company. [75229]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 21 October 2002]: The interchange of personnel between the public and commercial sectors is an important feature of the Ministry of Defence's long-standing programme to build stronger links with other sectors of the economy. This programme aims to enhance business performance by exchanging ideas, skills and experience. Encouraging interchange activities is a key part of the Civil Service reform agenda.

The information requested on inward secondees from defence manufacturers to the MOD is as follows:

Parent CompanyNumber and locationTotal
BAE Systems3 based in Bath 2 based in London 1 based in Bristol6
Rolls Royce plcBoth based in Bath2

In addition, there are currently two secondees from QinetiQ, one based in Bristol and one based in London.


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