Previous Section Index Home Page


20 Nov 2003 : Column 1270W—continued

National Insurance

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost will be to public funds in 2003–04 of the rise in national insurance contributions on the salary bill of his Department. [107910]

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

Non-lethal Chemical Agents

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will list out-of-country missions in the last 20 years when British forces have (a) carried with

20 Nov 2003 : Column 1271W

them and (b) used non-lethal chemical agents; and in each case what the agents were, in which amounts and which delivery devices were used; [128866]

Mr. Ingram [holding answers 10 September and 11 September 2003]: The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the development, production and use of all toxic chemicals and their precursors, except where they are intended for purposes not prohibited under the Convention, as long as the type and quantities are consistent with such purposes. "Purposes not prohibited" includes protective purposes related to protection against chemical weapons, as well as "law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes". United Kingdom armed forces comply with the UK's obligations under international law. We therefore would only carry, and would only use, non-lethal chemical agents for protective purposes related to protection against chemical weapons and for "law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes".

Records of out-of-country operational deployments from 1983 to 2003 show only two deployments of 'non-lethal chemical agents' with UK Forces. These were to Bosnia in 1997, and to Kosovo between January and July 1999. UK troops in Bosnia and Kosovo were provided with CS or CR for activities relating to law enforcement activities. The delivery systems that could be used would be by shotgun cartridge or grenade.

CS has also been taken overseas for defensive training purposes. This includes, for example, NBC training in Germany and testing of respirators onboard Royal Navy vessels.

Nuclear Waste

Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the sites on which intermediate level nuclear waste for which his Department is responsible is stored; and what volume is stored on each site. [139524]

Mr. Caplin [holding answer 18 November 2003]: Information about the locations and amounts of MOD radioactive waste is regularly published in the National Inventory. This includes intermediate level nuclear waste. The latest edition (published on 22 October 2002) shows a snapshot in time as of April 2001. It describes all stocks of waste held in the UK including that from the Ministry of Defence at that date, together with predictions of wastes arising in the future.

The details of the Report are:


The report is available on CD from the Corporate Communications Adviser United Kingdom NIREX Ltd., Curie Avenue, Didcot, Oxfordshire. OX11 ORH Phone+44(0) 1235 825500, email: info@nirex.co.uk

20 Nov 2003 : Column 1272W

Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 30 October 2003, Official Report, column 320W, on weapons of mass destruction, from which parts of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty the Government derived the conclusion that the UK and other nuclear weapons states are legally entitled to possess nuclear weapons; and if he will make a statement. [139421]

Mr. Hoon: As defined in Article 9(3) of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, the United Kingdom is recognised as one of the five nuclear weapon states.

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost to the United Kingdom of (a) housing United States nuclear weapons and (b) the planned modernisation of storage facilities for United States nuclear weapons in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [139679]

Mr. Hoon: All costs associated with the United States visiting forces based in the United Kingdom are subject to confidential cost sharing arrangements between the UK and US Governments. I am therefore withholding the information requested under Exemption 1 (defence, security and international relations) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Official Properties

Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the Department spent on (a) maintenance, (b) renovation, (c) council tax and (d) running costs of residential properties used by ministers and officials in each year since 1997. [134686]

Mr. Hoon: The Ministry of Defence provides accommodation for Service personnel (and for United Kingdom based civil servants serving abroad) as a condition of service. Within the Service Families Accommodation stock of some 75,000 properties worldwide are 37 properties known as Official Service Residences. These properties are maintained to a higher than normal standard, owing to the presentational role of the occupant and the requirement for them to host and sometimes accommodate guests of the most senior level, including representatives of overseas states, in their homes. The MOD is also responsible for costs associated with the Government-owned official residence assigned to the Secretary of State for Defence by the Prime Minister during 2002.

Costs for these 37 properties (excluding staff costs and income from charges paid), and those for the residence provided for the Secretary of State for Defence for the last two years are shown in the table. Data prior to this was not collected centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

£

Residences2001–022002–03
Maintenance939,6511,061,259
Renovation200,587141,693
Council Tax41,56347,932
Running Costs848,4301,060,291

20 Nov 2003 : Column 1273W

Operation Southern Focus

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions (a) he and (b) British defence staff had with representatives of the United States on Operation Southern Focus; and when these discussions took place. [129896]

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

Operation Telic

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what types and quantities of Iraqi chemical and biological warfare protection and detection equipment were recovered by UK forces during Operation Telic; and if he will make a statement. [126135]

Mr. Hoon: Both during and since the decisive combat phase of Operation Telic UK forces have discovered and disposed of a large amount of Iraqi Biological and Chemical individual protective equipment. The equipment included gas masks, protective suits, chemical-based detection tubes and training equipment.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make a statement on the reason for the delay in answering Question No 34033 of Session 2001–02, tabled on 8 February 2002. [81268]

Dr. Moonie: There was no delay in answering Parliamentary Question No 34033 of Session 2001–02. The reply was printed on 12 February 2003, Official Report, column 170W.

Performance Monitoring

Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the performance targets that (a) his Department and (b) its agencies and non-departmental public bodies are required to meet; and if he will specify for each target (i) who sets it and (ii) who monitors achievement against it. [137974]

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

Press Briefings

Mr. Alan Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what guidelines exist for officials in his Department, other than those in the Press Office, when they talk to journalists; [129708]

Mr. Hoon: All civil servants are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the requirements of the

20 Nov 2003 : Column 1274W

Civil Service Code and the Civil Service Management Code. Guidelines for MOD officials on talking to journalists are also available and I refer my hon. Friend to evidence provided to the Hutton Inquiry on this issue.

Project Connaught

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the expected proceeds from the sale of land in Aldershot in connection with Project Connaught are; and how much is intended to be reinvested in improvements to the Aldershot Garrison; [139886]

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


Next Section Index Home Page