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17 Dec 2002 : Column 722W—continued


Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the proposed savings over 25 years by QinetiQ in respect of test and evaluation services are broken down by (a) site and (b) expense category. [87135]

Dr. Moonie: The total savings contractually agreed with QinetiQ for the duration of the Test and Evaluation contract are expected to be in the order of #685 million at current prices. QinetiQ's plans for Aberporth, Llanbedr and West Freugh have already been announced and the associated savings are provided in the table. The figures cannot be broken down by each individual expenditure category without disproportionate costs being incurred.

# million

Llanbedr 6090150
West Freugh9370163

Information on savings at other sites is currently commercially sensitive.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 5 December, Official Report, column 85WS, on QinetiQ, if he will set out the calculation of the adjustments made in the assets and liabilities of QinetiQ prior to setting its sale price; if he will set out the final conditions to which reference is made; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the Carlyle Group bid to become a strategic partner in QinetiQ. [87551]

Dr. Moonie: As outlined in my statement of 5 December, Official Report, column 85WS, the transaction values QinetiQ at around 500 million. As is conventional, this valuation was done on a debt-free/cash-free basis. The actual receipt to the Ministry of Defence will therefore be adjusted to take account of a number of factors including: any debts owed by the company, any liabilities for which provision currently exists in the accounts, any cash held by the company and working capital to the extent this is above/below the company's normal level. The precise details of the adjustments are commercially sensitive.

As is normal in any major transaction there are a number of conditions that must be satisfied between signing and formal completion. These include: laying before Parliament of a Departmental Minute describing any contingent liabilities from the transaction; receipt of EC commission merger clearance; local authority searches and other legal issues relating to property and confirmation of the purchaser's financing arrangements. Certain other conditions exist but as these are commercially sensitive I am withholding them in accordance with Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

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I am also withholding a copy of The Carlyle Group bid in accordance with Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

RAF (Flying Charges)

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the hourly RAF charge is to Government Departments for flying with 32 (The Royal) Squadron in (a) BAe 125 and (b) BAe 146 aircraft, broken down into (i) engineering and airframe costs, (ii) costs incurred for handling, landing and navigation services at civil airports, (iii) fuel and (iv) crew subsistence costs. [86953]

Mr. Ingram: The following table shows the breakdown of the hourly charge to Government Departments for flying with the BAe 125 and BAe 146 aircraft of 32 (The Royal) Squadron:

# per hour

BAe 125BAel46
Engineering and airframe374681
Handling, landing and navigational services at civil airports12291
Crew subsistence27197


VAT is added to the BAe 125 charge for internal United Kingdom flights.

Since 1999, this Government has published on an animal basis the overall cost of all Ministers visits overseas and a list of Cabinet Ministers' visits overseas costing more than #500. The list makes clear when RAF flights have been used and the cost of such travel is included in the published overall annual cost. Copies of the lists are in the Libraries of the House.

All travel is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code.

RAF Fylingdales

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment was made in the preparation of the analysis of the security of an upgraded RAF Fylingdales, in paragraphs 80–83 of his Department's discussion paper on missile defence, of whether an enhanced Fylingdales facility would present a more attractive terrorist target. [87539]

Mr. Hoon: We keep the terrorist threat to all military installations under constant review. We do not consider that the upgrading of RAF Fylingdales for missile defence purposes will significantly change any terrorist threat to the facility.

RAF Reserve

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 9 December, Official Report, column 17, what plans he has to bring the training and mobilisation of the RAF reservists together with those of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Marines at the Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre, Nottingham. [87220]

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Dr. Moonie: Although opportunities for harmonisation are kept under review, there are currently no plans to bring the training and mobilisation of RAF reservists together with those of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Army at the Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre, Nottingham. Volunteer members of the Reserve Air Forces are mobilised as individuals through the RAF station on which they are based, and where the necessary personnel and pay documentation is already held. In this way, mobilisation and the task of additional training, if required, is absorbed within existing resources. This also allows the reservist to be trained alongside any regular RAF personnel deploying on the same operation.

Recruitment (Health Criteria)

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which health conditions automatically disqualify applicants for a career in the armed services; what the recruitment criteria are for those with poorer eyesight; whether glasses are permitted as correctional treatment; what proposals there are to change the recruitment criteria so that people with a non-serious or mild asthma condition can have a career in the armed services; and if he will make a statement. [87369]

Dr. Moonie: The principle applying to health conditions is that new entrants must be fit to serve anywhere in the world, in all environments and in locations where medical care may be limited or remote and medical resupply uncertain, or impossible. Many conditions, especially those controlled by medication or other intervention, which may not limit civilian employment are, nonetheless, incompatible with military service.

The following conditions make a person unsuitable for enlistment:

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This list is not exhaustive. An application may be rejected due to other medical conditions which are subject to the discretion of Service Medical Authorities.

Applicants with vision corrected by glasses or contact lenses are generally acceptable. However, certain trades and professions require more stringent standards. For example, drivers requiring a Type 2 licence have to meet DVLA standards. Higher standards still are applied to pilots and other technical military roles.

As detailed in the list only individuals who have been free of asthma symptoms for a minimum period of four years will be able to join the armed forces. Notwithstanding this, medical entry standards are continuously reviewed against any new developments within medicine with supporting evidence and/or research being considered. Nevertheless, we have no plans to change the present medical entry standards relating to asthma.

The armed forces are responsible employers and aim to meet the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This means that they must ensure that recruits are not put at increased risk of injury or illness during their service due to a pre-existing medical condition.

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