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15 Dec 2003 : Column 656W—continued

Northern Ireland Veterans

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what funding is available to support Northern Ireland veterans. [142734]

Mr. Caplin: There is no Ministry of Defence funding specifically for Northern Ireland veterans. MOD funds programmes aimed at preventing Service leavers, which would include those who have served in Northern Ireland, falling into social exclusion and homelessness such as the Single Persons Accommodation Centre for Ex-Services in Catterick, the Armed Forces Project in Colchester and the Joint Services Housing Advice Office. MOD also contributes towards Project Compass, a partnership project in London aimed at assisting homeless veterans back into employment.

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Northern Ireland veterans he estimates are homeless. [142743]

Mr. Caplin: The number of homeless veterans who have served in Northern Ireland is not known at present. In January 2004, the Ministry of Defence and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are planning to begin a study into the extent, causes, impact and costs of homelessness and rough sleeping among ex-Service personnel in England. As part of this study, homeless veterans will be asked about their Service background and operational experience which will include Service in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Northern Ireland veterans are serving prison sentences. [142744]

Mr. Caplin: There are no routine statistics of this kind collected on veterans who have either served in Northern Ireland or who live there. The Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate survey, carried out in December 2001 in 76 prisons around the United Kingdom, found that 5.6 per cent. of prisoners were veterans of the armed forces, of which 11 per cent. had been in the Royal Navy, 4 per cent. were in the Royal Air Force and 85 per cent. were in the Army.

Territorial Army

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of (a) independent units and (b) specialist units of the Territorial Army have completed (i) five years, (ii) 10 years, (iii) 15 years and (iv) 20 years of service in each of the last six years in each nation within the UK; and if he will make a statement. [143998]

Mr. Caplin: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Vaccinations

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the vaccines administered to service personnel since 1990 which were not licensed in the United Kingdom at the time of administration; for what there were administered; how many personnel

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were involved in each case; what follow up checks have taken place; and if he will make a statement. [142884]

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

PRIME MINISTER

Big Conversation

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Prime Minister (1) how members of the public are being informed they can take part in the Big Conversation; and how Big Conversation events are being publicised; [144242]

The Prime Minister: These are matters for the Labour Party.

Honours

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister how many honours have been returned since January 1997. [142220]

The Prime Minister: Since 1 January 1997 18 people returned the honours they had been awarded to the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood or to my office.

This compares with almost 18,500 honours granted to people during the same period.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister how many people refused the offer of an honour in the latest year for which figures are available, broken down by type of honour. [142221]

The Prime Minister: Because of the confidential nature of the honours process individuals are asked in confidence whether they wish to be considered for an honour; it is a matter for them whether they wish to make their decision known publicly.

The number of people who refuse an honour has consistently been around 2 per cent. of the recommendations that are made each year.

Ministerial Absence

David Davis: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 8 December 2003, Official Report, column 374W, on ministerial duties, on how many occasions appropriate arrangements have been put in place as a result of the Prime Minister being absent for any reason since May 1997; and what the arrangements were in each case. [144241]

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The Prime Minister: A record of these occasions is not held centrally. However, as the right hon. Member will be aware, when I have been on official visits overseas, for example, the Deputy Prime Minister has deputised for me at Prime Minister's Questions.

Nuclear Non-proliferation

Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister what initiatives he took at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Nigeria to raise with his (a) Indian and (b) Pakistani counterparts the prospects of their respective states joining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclear weapon states. [143511]

The Prime Minister: I discussed issues of mutual concern with Prime Minister Vajpayee in the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. However, the question of Indian accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapons state was not raised.

Pakistan is currently suspended from all Councils of the Commonwealth.

We regularly press both countries to accede to both the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Office Space Allocations

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister on what date office space was allocated by his office to accommodate the right hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson), what square footage this comprises; what staff support has been made available to the right hon. Member; and if he will make a statement. [143840]

The Prime Minister: Neither office space nor staff support has been allocated or made available to the right hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson).

Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the costs of special advisers for 2002–03 indicating the cost of administrative and secretarial staff. [143379]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to the hon. Member for Croydon, Central (Geraint Davies) on 16 July 2003, Official Report, columns 327–30W.

The information requested on costs of administrative and secretarial staff is not held centrally.

EDUCATION AND SKILLS

Additional Lifetime Earnings

Mr. Purchase: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of average additional lifetime earnings accruing to those leaving full-time education at age 19 compared to age 16. [143566]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: There is conclusive evidence that staying in full-time education after the age of 16 increases an individual's lifetime earnings potential. People who have two or more A-levels earn on average

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15 per cent. more over their lifetime than people who do not, even after allowing for other qualifications gained. The returns to level 3 vocational qualifications typically acquired at ages 16–19 are also significantly positive.

The vast majority of young people remain in education until at least age 16. However, GCSE achievement rates vary. An individual who gains five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C can expect to earn 25–30 per cent. more than someone who does not achieve this level, again allowing for any other qualifications subsequently gained.

The document "Education and Skills: The Economic Benefit" published by DfES in May 2003 presents both Government and wider research undertaken into the economic benefits of public provision of education. It highlights the social and economic value of education and skills, from a basic skills level to degree level, in terms of earnings, employment and social benefits.

City Academies

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the components of the expenditure on city academies as set out in the table of expenditure by function by the Department in the Winter Supplementary Estimate 2003–04. [143121]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 9 December 2003]: The components of expenditure set out in the table relate to Academies running costs. The main component (set out in the table of expenditure by function contained within the Winter Supplementary Estimate) relates to recurrent costs and covers the general annual grant paid by the Secretary of State to individual Academies. This figure also includes the general administrative expenditure costs incurred by the Department in the running of the programme.

The second, smaller component relates to amounts paid to Academies by local education authorities in respect of the Standards Fund.


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