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7 Jan 2003 : Column 39W—continued

Statutory Instruments

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many Statutory Instruments subject to negative procedure made by his Department (a) came into force and (b) were considered by a delegated legislation committee in each of the last three Sessions. [88025]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The totals are as follows:

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Christmas Expenses

Mr. Djanogly : To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer how much will be spent on (a) entertaining, (b) Christmas decorations and (c) other festive activities this Christmas season by his Department and Government agencies answerable to his Department; and of this sum how much will be spent in ministers' (i) private offices and (ii) official residences. [88127]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 19 December 2002]: The information requested is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, expenditure incurred on entertainment, decorations and other festive activities is strictly for official purposes only, and is made in accordance with the departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles set out in Government accounting.


Matthew Taylor: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to publish the paper on public services productivity to which paragraph 1.13 of Productivity in the UK: The Evidence and the Government's Approach refers; and if he will make a statement. [87961]

Mr. Boateng: The paper will be published shortly.


Absent without Leave

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel have been reported absent without leave in each of the last five years. [87854]

Dr. Moonie [holding reply 17 December 2002]: The information provided is captured in different ways for each of the three services, therefore the figures given are not directly comparable on a Tri-Service basis. All figures are based on both trained and untrained personnel.

Naval Service

The Naval Service figures given are for the period 1 January-31 December for all years with the exception of 2002 where the figures relate to the period 1 January- 16 December.

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Royal Navy 1

YearNumber reported AWOL

1 A warrant is issued on the 7th day of absence unless it is known that an individual will be absent before the 7th day, in which case a warrant is issued sooner. Once a warrant is issued the individual is classed as AWOL.

Royal Marines 2

YearNumber reported AWOL

2 The above figures relate only to Royal Marines on land and not those deployed on seagoing duties. They will be recorded in the Royal Navy figures.

Army 3 , 4

Financial yearNumber reported AWOL

3 Only one officer was found to be AWOL during the period 1 April 1997–31 March 2002. Subsequently, the above table only shows other ranks.

4 A person is classed as AWOL if he/she does not report for duty on a particular day. On the 6th day of absence, a signal is sent, if the person has still not reported for duty after 21 days, a Board of Inquiry will meet to investigate the absence. This will report by the 29th day of absence; it will then decide whether to class the person as AWOL. This will then be backdated to start from the first day of absence.

Royal Air Force 5 , 6 , 7

Financial yearNumber reported AWOL

5 An individual who is reported AWOL on more than one occasion within the same calendar year is counted once in the year they were reported absent.

6 An individual who reported AWOL in one calendar year and is still absent in the following year is counted in the year they were reported absent.

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7 The table does not address certain specific categories within AWOL. An AWOL person is classed as someone who did not report for duty on a particular day. However, after they have failed to report for duty for 23 days a Board of Inquiry can declare the individual "illegally absent". (There has been only one illegal absentee in each of the financial years and they are included in the above figures). Service personnel do not become deserters until either it is known they are not going to return voluntarily and/or are subsequently arrested and found guilty of desertion at court martial.


Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to which bodies his Department makes appointments; how many Members there are (a) in total and (b) in each body; and how many of those appointed are (i) businessmen, (ii) businessmen in SMEs and (iii) businessmen in micro-businesses. [87385]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 16 December 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office on 16 December 2002, Official Report, column 607–08W.

Armed Forces Leavers

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of (a) the Army, (b) the Naval Service, (c) the RAF and (d) the Welsh Guards have applied to leave the armed forces in (i) the last three months, (ii) 2002, (iii) 2001 and (iv) 2000; and if he will make a statement. [87925]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 19 December 2002]: Details of applications for Premature Voluntary Release (PVR) are shown in the tables:

Table 1: PVR Applications as at 1 October 2002

DateRankNaval serviceArmyRAF
Last Officers476549
3 monthsO/Ranks4561,679518
2002 to dateOfficers143367163


1. Of all the notices given by Naval Service personnel approximately 17 per cent. are withdrawn at a later date

2. Of all the notices given by Army personnel approximately 30 per cent. are withdrawn at a later date.

3. Of all the notices given by RAF personnel approximately 20 per cent. are withdrawn at a later date.

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Table 2: Welsh Guards Other Ranks—PVR applications

YearNotice Given
Last 3 months25
2002 to date68


Details of PVR applications for officers in the Welsh Guards are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Catterick Barracks

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many persons constitute the capacity of Catterick Barracks; how many (a) self-inflicted deaths and suicides and (b) other deaths have occurred in each year since 1990; and how many of these incidents were firearms-related. [88232]

Dr. Moonie: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Chemical and Biological Weapons

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the development of chemical and biological detection technologies to deal with the threat posed by chemical and biological weapons. [87928]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence continually researches and develops technologies to improve our ability to detect chemical and biological warfare agents. The principal lead for this work is the Defence Science and Technology Laboratories (Dstl), which in turn works closely with a number of industrial partners and overseas governments through international collaboration.

A range of new chemical detectors will be brought into service in 2003. The Man-portable Chemical Agent Detector (MCAD) and the Lightweight Chemical Agent Detector (LCAD) will replace the existing Nerve Agent Immobilised Enzyme Alarm and Detector (NAIAD). They have been developed to provide the armed forces with a comprehensive warning capability for vapours of chemical warfare agents. A new chemical agent monitor for use in collective protection is also expected to enter service.

Developments in the detection of biological warfare agents include the vehicle-mounted Integrated Biological Detection System (IBDS) which is due to enter service from November 2003. It will supersede the existing Prototype Biological Detection System (PBDS). Additionally, consideration is being given to fitting HM ships with a new Maritime Biological Detection System (MBDS) from 2007 to supersede the Interim Naval Biological Detection System (INBDS) currently in service.

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Responsibility for the defence of the United Kingdom civil population and infrastructure is vested in the Home Office and the Cabinet Office.

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