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7 Nov 2002 : Column 471Wcontinued
Dr. Moonie: Stage 2 of the CVF Assessment phase completes on 20 November. We then intend to select a preferred contractor not on the basis of a traditional bid analysis but through an assessment of the contractors' performance and output since the start of the Assessment phase in November 1999. An announcement on the preferred contractor is scheduled for early next year.
Dr. Moonie: The Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF) programme is progressing well and the recent announcement of the innovative adaptable design is evidence of this. Risk reduction and design work is continuing and we remain on course to select our preferred contractor early next year and approve investment in the build programme at the end of 2003. The In Service Dates of the two ships remain 2012 and 2015 respectively.
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Dr. Moonie: It is still too early in the Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF) programme to make an accurate forecast of the number of jobs that will be created or sustained by the CVF programme. Much will depend on the shipbuild strategy adopted by the preferred prime contractor and the split of work between the participating construction and final assembly facilities. However, taking into account the supply chain, the programme may involve around 10,000 jobs throughout the United Kingdom.
Dr. Moonie: The primary aircraft for the Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF) will be the Joint Combat Aircraft. The Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter has been identified as the aircraft with the best potential to fulfil that role and this was reinforced by the announcement on 30 September that we had selected the Short Take Off Vertical Landing variant to operate from CVF. The ships will also carry Maritime Airborne Surveillance and Control aircraft and helicopters from all three services in a variety of roles.
Dr. Moonie: Equality of opportunity for all staff is a key feature of Civil Service employment. The Ministry of Defence's personnel and employment policies and procedures have been subject to equality-proofing, including the removal of any unfair discrimination on the basis of age. To underpin this, the MOD has a programme of action on equality and diversity involving the training and development of line and personnel managers, and the monitoring of recruitment, selection and performance management statistics. Training in equal opportunities is mandatory for all recruitment panel members.
In addition, the MOD, like other Departments, has conducted a thorough review of its age retirement policy in light of the Government's commitment to tackle ageism in the workplace as set out in the Code of Practice for Age Diversity in Employment published in 1999.
|Under 50||50 and over||Total||% Over 50|
|Financial Year 20012002||Ministry of Defence||4,443||1,289||5,732||22.5|
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|Under 50||50 and over||Total||% Over 50|
|Financial Year 20002001||Ministry of Defence||5,200||1,348||6,548||20.6|
1. Figures exclude casual and Royal Fleet Auxiliary staff.
2. The following methods of recruitment have been included recruitment by CSC, by Department, Re-instatement/Re-employment and unknown.
3. Where the parts do not equal the sum a number of staff with ''unknown'' age were identified.
4. Financial years run from 1 April to the 31 March.
Mr. Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the steps being taken by the Government to ensure that bids to build the replacement for the Invincible Class Carriers take account of UK dry dock facilities; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: In line with Government policy on warship construction the Royal Navy's two new Future Aircraft Carriers (CVFs) will be built in the United Kingdom. This is clearly understood by both of the candidate prime contractors for CVFBAE SYSTEMS and Thalesand as part of their work to date they have assessed the capabilities of a number of sites throughout the United Kingdom that have the potential to participate in the build (construction and outfitting of modules or blocks of the vessel) and assembly (the joining together of the blocks into a whole ship in a suitable dry dock). No final decisions have yet been made.
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence does not hold records of civilian aircraft movements. The Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd lease part of the RAF Machrihanish site, known as Campbeltown Airport, and are not able to provide the information sought.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list research projects his Department (a) has funded in the last five years and (b) is funding into the health outcomes of (i) service personnel who participated in UK nuclear tests and (ii) their offspring. 
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incidence of multiple myeloma, other cancers and other causes of death amongst nuclear test veterans. This study follows on from two earlier studies, the results of which were published in 1988 and 1993. The results of this third study are expected to be published early next year. Funding is also provided to the NRPB for the maintenance of a database that has been used during the compilation of these studies.
No funding has been provided for health studies of the offspring of nuclear test veterans. Current information on radiation health effects suggests that studies of cancer among people exposed to radiation are likely to prove a more sensitive means of detecting such effects than studies of their children. There is no scientific or medical evidence that shows that the health or other physical problems suffered by the offspring of nuclear test veterans can be attributed to their father's or grandfather's participation in the test programme.
Mr. Ingram: The Defence Diversification Council is currently being set-up. It will be chaired by my hon. Friend, the Under Secretary of State for Defence, and will include representation from the Department of Trade and Industry, the Regional Assemblies, Trade Unions and Industry.
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