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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 9 December 2003


Big Conversation

Mr. Heald: To ask the Leader of the House what visits (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Office (i) have made and (ii) plan to make using public funds in connection with the Big Conversation; how many civil servants accompanied each Minister in respect of such visits; what the cost to public funds was of visits by (A) each Minister and (B) civil servants in connection with the Big Conversation; and if he will make a statement. [143101]

Mr. Hain: The Labour Party is consulting its members and the wider community on the Government's progress and challenges ahead. The Big Conversation is a party document and has been issued by the Labour Party.

Ministers and special advisers have of course participated in this process according to the rules laid out in the Ministerial Code and the Special Advisers Code. No events have been held using public funds, and no civil servants have attended them.

Fair Trade Products

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Leader of the House whether it is the policy of his office to use fair trade products, as a matter of course, in (a) sales on Departmental premises and (b) receptions and meetings involving staff and visitors. [142808]

Mr. Hain: My office does not have a refreshment facility in which it could stock and sell fair trade products.

While there is currently no Government-wide approach to the procurement of fair trade products, we will endeavour to use them for official entertaining, subject to this being value for money.


Boards of Inquiry

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the result was of the investigation held into the death of Private David Shipley by the Royal Military Police Special Investigation Branch; on what date a board of inquiry was convened; and what its principal recommendations were. [142114]

Mr. Ingram: The Board of Inquiry convened on 15 September 2003 and is on-going. Her Majesty's Coroner has yet to convene his inquiry. It would therefore be inappropriate to release details of the police findings at this stage.

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Defence Estates

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure is planned on defence estates upgrades in each year up to 2008; and if he will make a statement. [141660]

Mr. Caplin [holding answer 8 December 2003]: Our current planned provision or the funding of the UK estate is:

Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft Progamme

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the tanker programme. [142720]

Mr. Ingram: We are currently considering proposals from two consortia that are bidding for the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme. We plan to make a decision on this complex and important PFI competition as soon as possible in the new year.

Northern Ireland

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the protocol is for debriefing soldiers who have served an operational tour in Northern Ireland. [142739]

Mr. Ingram: There are no formal protocols for debriefing soldiers after they have served an operational tour in Northern Ireland. However, as with any operational deployment, on their return, units are required to produce a Post Operational Tour Report.

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the incidents in the Troubles since 1973 involving members of the British Army which resulted in deaths and injuries to members of the armed forces; and which regiment was affected in each case. [142746]

Mr. Ingram: Since 1973 a total number of 474 members of the Army died as a result of terrorist activity in Northern Ireland. The number of Army personnel injured from 1973 is 4,645. This figure relates primarily to injuries which were incurred while on duty, however, the manner in which data has been historically complied means some injuries off duty may have been included.

It is not feasible to list each death, injury and which Regiment was involved since 1973 as the data is not held on one particular format and that information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

St John's Wood Barracks

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been carried out of the real estate value of the St. John's Wood Barracks. [142711]

Mr. Caplin: The last assessment by agents in 2002 concluded a value of £6.65 million.

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Higher Education

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much has been spent per student in higher education in each of the last 30 years. [142633]

Alan Johnson: Information on the funding per student at higher education institutions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is a matter for the devolved administration. The table as follows shows the public funding per student at higher education institutions in England since 1989–90.

Publicly planned funding per student via HEFCE/TTA in real terms, 2002–03 prices

£ (rounded to nearest £10)

Information for earlier years was published "Higher Education in the learning society", the report of the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education chaired by Lord Dearing. The information required is in chart 3.16 of that report. A link to that report is available at www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/ncihe.

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Household Earnings (Hampshire)

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills for the most recent year available, what were the (a) male, (b) female and (c) two earner household average earnings for people resident in (i) each borough within Hampshire, (ii) Portsmouth Unitary Authority and (iii) Southampton Unitary Authority. [143120]

Ruth Kelly: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Mark Hoban, dated 9 December 2003:


Males Females
Mean (£)Number in sampleStandarderror (%)Mean (£)Number in sampleStandarderror (%)
Unitary Authority
Basingstoke and Deane1995.21265.6
East Hampshire1226.4736.8
New Forest1785.2364.71214.7
Test Valley1265.4825.5

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