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15 Jan 2003 : Column 632Wcontinued
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) people were trained by DISC and (b) training places were made available in DISC, in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
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|Personnel trained by Defence Intelligence and Security Centre(2)||3,294||3,373||3,222||3,105||(3)3,777|
|Training places made available(4)||4,231||4,499||4,644||4,612||4,684|
(1) In common with all military training establishments, DISC records statistics in training years which run from 1 April to 31 March. Hence the figures for TY 200203 are a forecast and include personnel still to complete training.
(2) Figures given for personnel trained by DISC includes those who may have been withdrawn from course before its completion.
(4) Training places made available are those agreed with the course sponsors, taking into account the sponsors' requirements and the resources available at DISC.
Dr. Moonie: There is one field hospital unit currently deployed, which is in the Balkans. Three further field hospital units (two Regular units and one Territorial Army) could be deployed within 30 days. Regular Field Ambulance units no longer exist and now form part of the five medical regiments, each of which have a High Readiness Squadron that could be deployed within 30 days. There are four Territorial Army Field Ambulance units, none of which are currently deployed or being prepared to deploy.
Bob Russell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of HM armed forces have been trained to use modern fire appliances; what plans he has for more to be trained; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 21 November 2002, Official Report, column 220W to the hon. Member for the Isle of White (Mr. Turner). Since that time, the total number of personnel held contingent to provide emergency fire fighting cover has not changed significantly, nor have the numbers trained in specialist roles.
A total of 1,062 personnel have, however, now been trained in the use of Red Goddesses and 177 Red Goddesses are now available for use during strike action. Personnel operating them form part of the overall numbers deployed.
There are currently no plans to increase the numbers of armed forces personnel deployed on this operation. While our capability is subject to constant improvement as time goes by, both the numbers deployed and the operational concept have proved sufficient to ensure an adequate level of emergency cover during strike periods.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Ministry of Defence is pursuing legal redress from General Dynamics UK Ltd. for the suspension of the Defence Stores Management System programme. 
Mr. Ingram: General Dynamics UK Ltd. were not contracted to the Ministry of Defence for provision of the Defence Stores Management System, and the question of legal redress does not, therefore, arise.
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Mr. Hoon: The statement by NATO heads of state and government issued on 21 November 2002 at the Prague summit affirmed that XNATO allies stand united in their commitment to take effective action and support the efforts of the UN to ensure full and immediate compliance by Iraq with UNSCR 1441". It is in this context that I have regular contacts with my European and American colleagues. These discussions have covered a wide range of topics, including military co-operation in the Gulf should that be required.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the troops referred to in his oral statement of 7 January 2003, Official Report, columns 2339, will arrive in the Gulf; and what training they will undertake. 
Mr. Hoon: In my oral statement of 7 January 2003, Official Report, column 25, I announced that we plan to deploy amphibious forces including HQ 3 Commando Brigade, 40 Commando Royal Marines and 42 Commando Royal Marines, with all supporting elements, to the Mediterranean with a view to proceeding to the Gulf region if and as required. In accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information it would be inappropriate for me to discuss details of military planning, including timings.
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Dr. Moonie: I have had no such discussions with my United States counterpart, but Ministry of Defence officials have regular contacts with various US authorities on matters relating to nuclear weapons.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 5 December 2002, Official Report, column 85WS, on QinetiQ, what proportion of the company's assets is reflected in the #50 million already received by his Department from QinetiQ as part of the purchase price paid by Carlyle Group for those assets; and what the total estimated value is of QinetiQ's assets divided into (a) tangible and (b) intangible assets. 
Dr. Moonie: When QinetiQ was vested as a plc on 1 July 2001 the Ministry of Defence required it to purchase its assets from MOD with a combination of equity and an obligation in the form of interest-bearing loan notes to pay a further #150 million. The #50 million has been paid as part settlement of the outstanding loan notes.
QinetiQ Group plc's Annual Report and Financial Statement 2002 shows a net book value for tangible assets of #534.6 million, the majority of which comprises land and buildings. This figure takes no account of the company's liabilities. The value for disposal of the property on the open market is estimated by QinetiQ's management to be at least #113 million less than the net book value. QinetiQ's Annual Report 2002 also values the intangible assets at #1.0 million.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost in each of the last five years of his Department's search and rescue capability in the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: Air and sea rescue is undertaken by a number of organisations within the Ministry of Defence and is conducted from a wide variety of locations utilising many different assets. The information requested is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
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Mr. Ingram: The next planned SSN refit is that of HMS Talent which is expected to start in spring 2003 and take approximately 2½ to 3 years to complete, including post refit trials and training. I am withholding details of SSN refits planned to start beyond 2003 in accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which relates to defence, security and international relations.
Mr. Ingram: Currently the Royal Navy has three Tomahawk-capable submarines operationally available, however, the specific operational status and tasking of each submarine is classified for security reasons and is being withheld under Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
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