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21 Nov 2002 : Column 223W—continued

Service Establishments

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times establishment targets for the (a) Army, (b) Navy and (c) RAF have changed since 1998; and what the rationale was for the change each time. [81109]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 19 November 2002]: The full time trained requirement for the Armed Forces is published quarterly by the Defence Analytical Services Agency.

In each Service, however, the requirement for trained manpower is a live and dynamic figure which can change frequently. Causes for such changes include alterations to force structures, evolving doctrine, the introduction of new equipment and technology, changes to the

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operating environment and the introduction of routine efficiencies. Consequently establishment target figures have been revised many times before and since 1998.

In the Royal Navy to provide a degree of smoothing for planning purposes, a Headmark Requirement for future years is calculated quarterly (issued three times per annum prior to 2001).

The Army now reviews its future manpower requirement annually.

The RAF, for strategic manpower planning purposes, normally captures forecast establishments twice a year.

Spending Review

Mr. Jenkin : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what capabilities or facilities he intends to procure with the new capital announced in the Spending Review; and if he will list the five capabilities that he intends to spend the most money on. [80968]

Mr. Ingram: The 2002 Spending Review provided #1 billion for extra investment in enhanced military capabilities to implement the conclusions of the New Chapter to the Strategic Defence Review. The allocation of this will be determined through the Ministry of Defence's annual planning process which will be completed early next year and will inform the Defence White Paper which it is planned to publish next summer.

My right hon. Friend The Secretary of State for Defence has announced that we will be investing in a range of capabilities including by accelerating the Watchkeeper UAV programme and upgrading our E-3D AWACS aircraft. We are evaluating additional enhancements to our target acquisition and strike capabilities to operate 24 hours a day, in all weathers, and to enable rapid retargeting. We are also acquiring technology to meet the threats from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons that we may face in the future.

Stores Management System

Mr. Jenkin : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made in developing the defence stores management system; and how much has been spent on the project to date. [80966]

Mr. Ingram: The original objectives of the Defence Stores Management Solution (DSMS) were to manage the single service inventories as a single defence inventory, to build a single system to replace the existing Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force systems, and to provide a deployed inventory management capability. The project had not secured full main gate approval by the time that the project was suspended on grounds of affordability at the time. The requirement, including the continuing need for a deployed inventory management capability, will be addressed as part of a wider end-to-end review of the logistic process, involving the DLO, front-line commands and industry which should complete by mid 2003. Expenditure on DSMS to date totals #140 million and estimated net savings of #650 million over a 10 year period were anticipated from its implementation.

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Affordable Housing

Linda Perham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the efficacy of the definition of affordable housing; and what plans he has to alter that definition. [80528]

Mr. McNulty: There are no formal definitions of affordable housing within housing policy. For the purposes of securing affordable housing through the planning system, affordable housing encompasses low-cost market and subsidised housing (irrespective of tenure, ownership—whether exclusive or shared—or financial arrangements) that will be available to people who cannot afford to rent or buy houses generally available on the open market. Local authorities are expected to define through their local plans what they consider to be affordable in the plan area in terms of the relationship between local income levels and house prices or rents for different types of households.

The research report, XDelivering Affordable Housing through Planning Policy", published by DTLR in February 2002, noted that local authorities were not consistent in defining affordable housing, with a tendency in the south to equate affordable housing with social rented housing, and not to consider the full range of alternatives. The report concluded that local authorities should ensure their consideration of affordable housing, including the wider definition given to it by national planning guidance. There are no plans to make the definition less flexible.

Affordable Housing (Chesham and Amersham)

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many units of affordable housing have been built in the Chesham and Amersham constituency in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [81171]

Mr. McNulty: The Chesham and Amersham constituency is within Chiltern district council, which has reported the following levels of house-building activity by both registered social landlords and the authority itself:

New dwellings completed within Chiltern district council area by registered social landlords (RSLs):



No completions of dwellings by the local authority itself were reported.


Data to 2000–01: LA and RSL new-build from ODPM P2 (monthly) housing activity returns.

Compulsory Purchase

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which (a) Government agencies and (b) regional bodies have compulsory purchase powers. [81696]

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Mr. McNulty: The following list sets out the principal Government agencies and regional bodies which operate in England and which have their own compulsory purchase powers. In addition some Ministers have compulsory purchase powers which they exercise through departmental agencies: for example, orders for trunk roads are made by the Highways Agency on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport.

Council Rents (Greater London)

Mr. Cox: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average increase in council rents in the Greater London area has been in each of the last three years. [81671]

Mr. McNulty: Average council rents in Greater London for the past few years are as shown in the table. The annual change in the average council rents is also provided in the table

Financial yearAverage weekly rent #Change in weekly rent #Percentage change in weekly rent
2002–03 (provisional)64.29+1.93+3.1

Hare Krishna Temple (Hertfordshire)

Keith Vaz: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received from the Hare Krishna Temple at Letchmore Heath, Hertfordshire concerning their application for planning permission to extend the temple. [82358]

Mr. McNulty: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has received no representations about this planning application.

Housing Policy

Ms Oona King: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of Government funds allocated for housing is specified for the sound proofing of ageing

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council and housing association properties; and what proportion of this money will be allocated to the Housing Corporation for use by registered social landlords. [80587]

Mr. McNulty: Although we have not allocated funds specifically for sound proofing of ageing council or housing association properties, we have set a target requiring social landlords to bring their housing up to the decent home standard, one component of which is adequate insulation against external noise.

Local authorities can meet this target either through their own resources and through the Major Repairs Allowance and Single Capital Pot; or by setting up a high performance Arms Length Housing Management Organisation (ALMO); or through a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme; or by transferring their stock to one or more housing associations.

Repairs to housing association stock to bring it up to the decent home standard may be funded through the Housing Corporation's approved development programme.

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