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3 Jun 2003 : Column 298W—continued

Nuclear Deterrence

Mrs. Ann Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the defence policy of the UK is in relation to the maintenance of minimum nuclear deterrent against aggressors. [115752]

Mr. Hoon: The United Kingdom's nuclear weapons policy was set out in the Strategic Defence Review published in 1998. I refer my hon. Friend to Chapter Four and Supporting Essay Five in particular. Copies of the SDR are available in the Library of the House.

Officer Training Costs

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of training (a) an RAF officer, (b) an RN officer, (c) an Army officer and (d) an officer in the Royal Marines was in 2001–02; if he will break down the total cost into component parts; what estimate he has made of training costs in each case in 2002–03; and if he will make a statement. [115659]

Dr. Moonie: The Defence Training Review estimated the total annual resource cost of individual training for all services at some £4.2 billion. However, the Ministry of Defence currently has no system for costing the components of individual training Following the Defence Training Review, the recently appointed

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Director General Training and Education is developing a consistent methodology for costing training outputs across Defence to provide a common baseline from which to assess the resource costs consumed in delivering training.

Pay Scales

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what change there has been in the pay scales of (a) reservists and (b) regular service personnel since 1997. [115530]

Dr. Moonie: The pay scales for reservist and regular Service personnel have been uplifted each year since 1997 in accordance with the recommendations contained in the annual reports of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body, copies of which may be found in the Libraries of both Houses. In addition, in April 2001 the Ministry of Defence introduced Pay 2000, a new incremental pay system designed to better meet the needs of Service personnel in the 21st century. With the exception of Service Medical and Dental Officers, who will remain on a separate discrete system, the last categories of reservist and regular Service personnel will have transferred to Pay 2000 by 1 October 2003.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) requirement and (b) strength of pilots for (i) the Sea Harrier and (ii) the GR7 is; and what his strategy is for meeting the requirement. [115100]

Dr. Moonie: The position as at 21 May 2003 is set out in the following table:

Sea harrier(42)7252
Harrier GR7(43)6961

(42) The Sea Harrier pilot requirement includes 'cockpit' and career broadening appointments in the Royal Navy, plus an appropriate training margin. Both front line squadrons are fully manned and are forecast to remain so for the foreseeable future.

(43) The Harrier GR7 requirement comprises all wing commander, squadron leader and junior officer posts on front line squadrons, operational conversion units, operational evaluation units and wing appointments. In addition to established flying posts, fast jet pilots are required for instructional duties within the RAF's flying training system, overseas exchange posts, the RAF Aerobatics Team and a number of ground duties shared by the Flying Branch.

The number of qualified RAF and RN pilots is expected to increase through successful training and positive retention incentives for existing aircrew including Financial Retention Incentives and the introduction of the Professional Aviator Pay spine. All front line fast jet squadrons are fully manned with gaps borne in training units.

Public Service Agreements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps the Department has taken to publicise its Public Service Agreement targets; and at what cost to public funds. [114449]

Mr. Ingram: Information on the Ministry of Defence's Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets is published on the Department's website. Information is

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also included in our annual Departmental Report and the Government's Expenditure Plans for Defence, which are widely available including in the Library of the House and on the Department's website.

PSA targets are just one element of the information provided through these means and it is impossible to attribute a discrete cost for such publicity.

Redundancy Notices

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many redundancy notices have been issued to staff at West Freugh. [115831]

Dr. Moonie: QinetiQ has issued 100 compulsory redundancy notices to staff working at the West Freugh site; 13 of these staff have since been re-employed by QinetiQ to work in new roles at the site. In addition, 33 voluntary redundancy notices have been issued.

Royal Artillery AS90 Regiment

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the planned in-service date is for the first Royal Artillery AS90 regiment to be fully modernised and trained. [115482]

Mr. Ingram: The AS90 self-propelled artillery system entered service in 1993 and is planned to be in-service until 2023. Over the next few years it will be the subject of a range of measures that will improve the system's reliability and sustainability and maintain its capability.

Royal Irish Regiment

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he has taken to apply the Part Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations (NI) 2000 to part-time Royal Irish Regiment soldiers. [115998]

Dr. Moonie: Members of the R Irish Regiment (Home Service Part Time) have lodged applications with the Belfast industrial tribunal concerning the applicability of the Part Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations (NI) 2000 to their Terms of Service. It would be inappropriate for me to comment further until the tribunal has arrived at its judgment.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what guidance he has given to service personnel on (a) HMS Liverpool and (b) other Royal Navy ships sailing to Singapore in relation to the SARS virus; and if he will make a statement; [110469]

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of members of Her Majesty's armed forces serving (a) on vessels and (b) at bases near outbreaks of SARS. [111001]

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Dr. Moonie: All travel by the Ministry of Defence and Service personnel to areas where there is thought to be a risk of transmission of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is being undertaken in accordance with current World Health Organisation and Department of Health advice. The risk of Service personnel contracting SARS during planned visits to Singapore and other areas in the Far East is currently assessed as very low. Guidance on SARS has been issued to all Service medical centres, and to all deployed formations and ships. This includes information on the symptoms of the disease, patient management and treatment, and preventative occupational health advice. Further measures are being put in place to reduce the risk.

Sea Cadet Groups

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 20 May 2003, Official Report, column 678W, on Trafalgar Day, by what means local sea cadet groups can obtain money his Department provides to the SCA. [116745]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence provides funds to pay for adult Sea Cadet staff, and their travelling expenses to undertake and deliver training. It also funds Sea Cadet Association (SCA) payment of a cash capitation grant to each unit, part of which covers SCA subscription. Individual units and cadets benefit from MOD funding through their use of the national training facility.

Service Personnel (Gulf)

Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements have been put in place to provide support to the Service personnel who return from the Gulf suffering from (a) physical and (b) mental injury; and if he will make a statement. [110417]

Dr. Moonie: Armed forces personnel who return from the Gulf with physical or mental injury would receive appropriate medical treatment from within the Defence Medical Services or the NHS. Welfare support to injured personnel would be provided by the armed forces as necessary.

I also refer the hon. Member to my written statement of 7 May 2003, Official Report, column 34WS, announcing plans for research into the physical and psychological health of personnel who deployed to the Gulf. Currently, there is no evidence of any health problems following this deployment, but research is being set in hand now, in the light of experience gained from the 1990–91 Gulf conflict, in case health concerns arise. I also announced that personnel who deployed

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and are concerned about possible exposure to depleted uranium, are entitled to a urine test, and that those who deployed and have concerns about their health generally, will be able to attend the Medical Assessment Programme, which we established following the 1990–91 Gulf conflict.

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