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3 Dec 2003 : Column 66W—continued

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he will take to increase the proportion of parliamentary questions tabled by hon. Members answered within the target time. [141077]

Mr. Caplin: Every effort is made to answer all parliamentary questions tabled by right hon. and hon. Members within the target time. Working practices and procedures, including IT, are continually reviewed to identify problem areas and improve performance.

Personnel Costs

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much of its personnel budget the Defence Aviation Repair Agency spent in Scotland in 2002 in (a) monetary terms and (b) as a percentage of the total personnel budget; how these figures compare to the previous year; and if he will make a statement; [141021]

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Mr. Ingram: Regional spending figures for personnel costs are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

School Places

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what proportion of the money his Department spent on school places for children of service personnel was spent in the independent sector in each year since 1996; and what he estimates the proportion will be in 2003; [140563]

Mr. Caplin: The information is not held in the format requested.

The various annual rates of Service Education Allowances per child, from 1996 onwards are shown in the following table:

Allowance (£)

1996–971997–981998–991999–002000–012001–022002–032003–04
Boarding
Junior5,9436,2436,5077,3147,5548,0348,7009,525
Senior7,0507,4077,7078,6499,21610,14611,16612,060
Day
Junior3,6063,9544,2634,4824,7975,1635,742
Senior4,5784,8455,5505,8716,3756,9007,494
Special Educational Needs (SENA)18,00018,00018,00018,000
SENA(Day)12,00012,00012,00012,000

Junior rates are usually paid for Service children aged eight to 11. Senior rates are usually paid for Service children aged 11 to 18.

Service Pensions

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what action he is taking to ensure that members of the armed forces are not affected by future pension troughs; [141641]

Mr. Caplin: I met Air Chief Marshal Sir Roger Palin and Major General James Gordon from the Forces Pension Society (FPS) on 19 November 2003. During our discussions, I recognised the strength of feeling among those ex-Service personnel affected by pension troughs and the Society's concern that a remedy should be found for this. However, after careful consideration of the matter, I informed the Society that I did not intend to revisit this issue.

The cost of uplifting only future payments of those affected by the mid-1970s trough would be very substantial and it would be impossible to avoid extending any change to those, whether in the armed forces or more widely, affected by other pensions troughs. It has been the policy of successive Governments that it would not be appropriate to make retrospective change to pension entitlements.

For the future, and reflecting the Society's concerns, Service personnel who become members of the new Armed Forces Pension Scheme will be less exposed to the effects of any periods of pay restraint and high inflation because their pensions will be based on their best earnings in the last three years of Service, with earlier years' earnings up-rated for inflation.

Typhoon

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether the Typhoon will be fitted with the technology to make it capable of integrating with a network-centric warfare environment; [140568]

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Mr. Ingram: We plan to fit Typhoon with technology which will make it capable of integrating with a network-centric warfare environment. Specifically, we plan to equip it with a Multi-function Information Distribution Systems (MIDS). This will allow it to access National, NATO and coalition Link-16 networks. This will enable Typhoon to access threat and targeting data supplied by other aircraft as well as by maritime and land based units.

Consequently, no assessment is required of the effect of the lack of such a capability.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Legislation

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of (a) primary and (b) secondary legislation sponsored by his Department in 2002–03 was introduced to implement EU requirements. [141131]

Caroline Flint: The Home Office sponsored five Bills during the 2002–03 Session, which made a total of approximately 868 pages once enacted. One of the Bills (now the Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003, 90 pages) predominantly implements EU requirements. Another (now the Extradition Act, 136 pages long) partly implements EU requirements. The other three Bills were not introduced to implement EU requirements.

Of the 240 Statutory Instruments produced by the Home Office during the same Session that fell to be considered by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments only five were introduced to implement EU requirements. These Instruments made up only 74 pages out of the total of 438 pages of Instruments produced during the Session.

Murder Investigations

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many detectives are working full-time on murder investigations in Nottinghamshire, expressed as a percentage of all detectives. [140578]

Ms Blears [holding answer 1 December 2003]: We do not hold this information centrally. The deployment of police in a particular force is an operational matter for the Chief Constable to allow him/her to respond to local needs.


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