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13 Jun 2003 : Column 1116W—continued

RAF Manoeuvres

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the occasions on which RAF aircraft flew over South East Essex in the last six months; and what the purpose was of each flight. [119203]

Dr. Moonie: This information is not held centrally in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Reserve Forces

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the maximum amount is that a self-employed GP in the Reserve Force may claim under the Reserve Forces Call-out and Recall (Financial Assistance) Regulations 1997, S.I. 1997, No. 309, under (a) Regulation (5), Employer's standard award and (b) Regulation (6), Employer's hardship award. [118797]

Dr. Moonie: A GP who is a partner in a practice may make a claim both in his capacity as a Reservist and as an employer. The latter will usually cover payments to locums and other additional training costs to the practice arising from call-out.

The regulations to which you refer are Statutory Instrument 1997, No. 309, The Reserve Forces (Call-out and Recall)(Financial Assistance) Regulations. The information requested is contained within SI309/97. Under Part II, section 5 of SI309/97, an Employers Standard Award means:

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Under Part II, section 5 of SI309, providing an Adjudication Officer is satisfied that the employer has incurred costs exceeding 1½ the amount of his Standard Award, and that incurring such costs would cause hardship which the Standard Award would not relieve, an employer would be entitled to a Hardship Award. There is no financial limit to a Hardship Award.

Every employer's situation is different and has to be judged on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, it is not possible to state the maximum Standard and Hardship Awards that may be granted.

Royal Anglian Regiment

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement about (a) the future strength of the Royal Anglian Regiment and (b) its composition of permanent battalions; [118717]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 12 June 2003]: The following county regiments were merged to form the Royal Anglian Regiments in 1964: The Royal Norfolk Regiment; The Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Regiment; The Essex Regiment; The Royal Lincolnshire Regiment; The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment; The Royal Leicestershire Regiment; and The Northamptonshire Regiment.

These counties also form the natural recruiting area for the Royal Anglian Regiment, with the addition of the County of Rutland, though we place no geographic limitations on the area from which eligible recruits can come.

There are no current plans to disband or alter the composition of the Royal Anglian Regiment.

Royal Irish Regiment

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received from the Government of the Irish Republic on the phasing out of the Home Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment. [118014]

Mr. Ingram: I believe the hon. Member is referring to the Royal Irish Regiment Home Service battalions.

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The Ministry of Defence has not received any specific representations from the Government of the Irish Republic in relation to the Royal Irish Regiment Home Service battalions. The Irish government has, however, within the context of exchanges on all aspects of the Joint Declaration, expressed a view to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which emphasised that any decisions should take account of the aim of normalising security arrangements.

Shot Serviceman

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence at what time a serviceman was shot on 4 June at the Stanford Battle area in East Anglia; at what time he went on duty; at what time the scene of the incident was secured; at what time he was pronounced dead; at what time the police were called to investigate; at what time the next of kin were notified; and if he will make a statement. [118937]

Dr. Moonie: Corporal Christopher Strickleton, a member of 3 Squadron RAF Regiment who was serving at RAF Aldergrove, died from gun shot wounds during a tactical live-firing exercise at Stanford Training Area in Norfolk on 4 June 2003. This tragic incident is the subject of an investigation by Norfolk Civil Constabulary who have primacy in the case. They have yet to complete their inquiries.

Although the precise timings of all events are strictly matters for HM Coroner, we believe the events took place as follows:

0800Corporal Strickleton went on duty.
1030Incident occurred.
1030–1035999 call to emergency services.
1115In accordance with military guidelines, the scene of the incident was secured.
1140Next of kin first informed of incident.
1200Cpl Strickleton died.
1210Thetford Criminal Investigation Department notified of 999 incident.
1230Civilian police arrive at the scene.
1230Next of kin informed of death


All these times are approximate

My whole hearted sympathy goes to the family and friends of Corporal Strickleton for their loss.

Territorial Army

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what backlog of individual cases of TA reservists mobilised for recent operations in Iraq is still outstanding at the Army Pay Centre. [117837]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 9 June 2003]: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the Territorial Army is deployed to the Gulf region. [118737]

Dr. Moonie: As at 11 June 2003, some 4 per cent. of the Territorial Army were deployed in the Gulf region.

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Type 23 Frigates

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which Type 23 frigates will be retrofitted with communications band electronic support measures systems. [117493]

Mr. Ingram: I am withholding the information requested under Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which relates to defence, security and international relations.

US Weapons Research

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether scientists at the Atomic Weapon Establishments are continuing their collaborative work with the United States on hydrodynamic and primary certification testing. [118631]

Dr. Moonie: The United Kingdom is continuing to participate in a series of hydrodynamic experiments in the USA to help ensure the safety and reliability of our Trident nuclear warheads. The Government attaches great importance to maintaining the safety and serviceability of the United Kingdom's nuclear weapons. The Strategic Defence Review in 1998 confirmed the need for a robust capability to underwrite the safety and reliability of Trident, in the absence of nuclear testing. A scientific methodology is being developed at the Atomic Weapons Establishment to continue to give this assurance with high confidence. I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 12 February 2002, Official Report, column 166W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Cleethorpes (Ms McIsaac). A review of the science behind this programme was published in "Nature" in February 2002.

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if the UK (a) will contribute data to and (b) use US data gathered from the Advanced Concepts Initiative research and development work; [118633]

Dr. Moonie: Exchanges of information on a wide field of technologies take place between the United Kingdom and the United States under the auspices of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement. There is no formal UK involvement in the US Advanced Concepts Initiative or the Advanced Nuclear Weapons Concepts research programme under the 1958 agreement.

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