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21 Nov 2002 : Column 219W—continued

MOD Properties

Mr. Keith Simpson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the implications for other parts of his Department's estate in London

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of the proposed development announced by his Department on 29 October of its three sites at Northolt, Woolwich and Uxbridge. [82059]

Dr. Moonie: At the Public Launch of Project XMoD Estate London" (MoDEL) on 29 October, I announced that the Ministry of Defence, in consultation with the US Visiting Forces (USVF), are proposing to vacate 11 sites within, or close to, Greater London.

The proposed sites are:

Additionally, the sites the MOD is proposing to retain and develop as Core Sites are RAF Northolt and Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich. Further, it has been proposed that RAF Uxbridge could be developed as a Core Site for the United States Visiting Forces (USVF). If the USVF do not participate in the project then the MOD would still vacate RAF Uxbridge.

Nuclear Test Veterans

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many representations on compensation he has received from nuclear test veterans since June 2001; and if he will make a statement. [80125]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence has received seven representations in the form of letters from nuclear test veterans concerning compensation since 1 June 2001. The Veterans Agency has received 37 new applications for War Pensions associated with participation in nuclear tests since 1 June 2001.

The Ministry of Defence has every confidence in the independent studies carried out by the National Radiological Protection Board and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund which showed that for the veterans as a group their participation in the nuclear test programme has not had a detectable effect on their expectation of life, or on their risk of developing cancer or other fatal diseases.

Operation Sandcastle

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will break down the expenditure on Operation Sandcastle under headings. [81325]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 18 November 2002]: According to records held by the Ministry of Defence we estimate that costs of Operation Sandcastle, at 1991–92 prices, were as follows.

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Labour costs (civilian and military)140,005.52
Information Technology Equipment (Equipment and Support Costs)139,872.88
Travel and Subsistence Costs (includes car hire, mileage allowance and miscellaneous expenses)85,060.51

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff worked on Operation Sandcastle; what their grades were, and for how long each member of staff worked. [81328]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 18 November 2002]: According to records held by the Ministry of Defence the number of days worked by investigator by rank (based on an eight hour day) on Operation Sandcastle were as follows:

Lieutenant Colonel46.92
Warrant Officer Class 1177.53
Warrant Officer Class 2170.66
Staff Sergeant815.39
Lance Corporal187.74

Those records also indicate that civilian staff worked for 19.22 hours in support of the operation.

Perisher Submarine

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Perisher submarine training exercises have taken place in each of the past five years. [82214]

Mr. Ingram: The number of Perisher submarine training courses which have taken place in each of the past five years is as follows:


Picket Lines

Mr. Keith Simpson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence under what circumstances members of the armed forces can cross trade union picket lines. [82155]

Mr. Ingram: Access to property or equipment beyond trade union picket lines is a civil matter and would consequently be an issue for the civil authorities, not the military. No circumstances are envisaged where the armed forces would be called upon to cross picket lines.

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Recruitment (Over-50s)

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people employed in his Department are aged over 50. [81688]

Dr. Moonie: The available information is given in the table, showing the position as at September 2002.

50 and UnderOver 50Percentage over 50
Ministry of Defence51,15425,80533.5
Trading Funds9,0792,98124.7


SA Civilian


Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to ensure that embodied regular reservists are given the same promotion opportunities as their regular army counterparts. [80697]

Dr. Moonie: On permanent service, Reserve officers and soldiers are subject to the normal rules for promotion applicable to Active List officers and regular soldiers at that time. If when called out on permanent service a Reservist receives substantive promotion to a higher rank, they will retain that higher rank when released from permanent service.

For training or when employed on Full Time Reserve Service a Reservist may, according to the current rules for Active List officers and regular soldiers, be granted acting rank appropriate to any appointment which they are required to fill while so called out.

Royal Hospital, Haslar

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with the Borough of Gosport as planning authority about the long-term use of the site of the Royal hospital Haslar. [80798]

Dr. Moonie: Ministry of Defence's plans to withdraw from the Royal hospital Haslar site, following the 1998 decision, are tied to the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust's development of its Queen Alexandra hospital site at Cosham. It would be premature for the MOD to enter into formal discussions with Gosport borough council until the timescale for the completion of that development is more definite, but informal discussions take place periodically with the Leader of the Council to apprise him of progress, and MOD officials met Council officers on one occasion in 1999 prior to a review of MOD estates in the Gosport and Portsmouth area and after the decision to close Haslar as a MOD site had been taken. At that stage, the local authority—which will ultimately be responsible for determining the future of the site— was reviewing its plans for the local area.

Royal Navy

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the strength of the Royal Navy is. [82735]

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Dr. Moonie: The strength of the Royal Navy is announced in Defence Analytical Services Agency TSP4, XStrength of the UK armed forces quarterly press release as at 1 October 2002" which is published today. As of 1 October 2002 the total strength of the Naval Service—full time trained and untrained personnel—was 42,330.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Navy ships are (a) on operations and (b) in port. [81011]

Mr. Ingram: As at 18 November there were 77 Royal Navy ships and submarines in the operational Fleet. This includes all vessels which are operational or engaged in preparing for service, trials or training. As at 18 November, 21 Royal Navy ships and submarines were undergoing deep maintenance.


Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the senior officials who have left his Department since April 2000 to take up posts in the private sector, stating in each case the name, position previously held, date of leaving, and the company and position taken up. [82387]

Dr. Moonie: Under the Cabinet Office rules on the acceptance of outside appointments by Crown servants (Xthe Business Appointment Rules"), all Ministry of Defence non-industrial civilians and officers in the Armed Forces are required, within two years of leaving the Department, to apply for permission before taking up employment with an organisation connected with their official duties. Some of these applications are speculative and not all lead to external appointments being taken up. The rules require only senior officials whose applications are approved by the Prime Minister to confirm to their former department that they have taken up a new appointment on leaving the MOD. Details of such appointments are published in the annual reports of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, copies of which are available in the Library.

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