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16 Dec 2003 : Column 842Wcontinued
Mr. Ingram: The RAND report provided useful advice on the feasibility of establishing a Joint Strike Fighter Final Assembly and Check Out facility in the United Kingdom. Establishment of such a facility is one strand of our approach to the production and support phases of the Joint Strike Fighter Programme. Work is in hand with UK industry to develop initial ideas further.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to date is of legal expenses incurred by his Department in (a) defending Guardsmen Fisher and Wright against the charge of murder and (b) appealing against conviction. 
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 3 December 2003, Official Report, column 66W, on merchant ships, which flags were flown by the merchant ships that did not fly the red ensign; and what percentage of merchant ships chartered by his Department to support allied efforts in the 2003 Iraq war were over (a) 15-years-old, (b) 25-years-old and (c) 30-years-old. 
Mr. Ingram: Ships chartered in support of the Iraq campaign which did not fly the Red Ensign were registered under the following national flags: Antigua, Bahamas, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Greece,
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Italy, Liberia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Panama, Portugal, Spain, St.Vincent, Sweden and Turkey.
Mr. Paul Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the three services he expects to be (a) serving abroad and (b) deployed on front-line duties between 24 December and 2 January 2004; what percentage of the trained strength of each force this represents; what provisions he has made to ensure family contact over that period; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 11 December 2003]: The number of Naval Service personnel expected to be stationed abroad between 24 December and 2 January 2004 is 2,209, representing 5.9 per cent. of the trained strength. Of this, 1,223 (3.3 per cent.) personnel will be deployed on front-line duties.
In the Army, 40,842 personnel are expected to be stationed abroad, representing 40 per cent. of the trained strength. Of this, approximately 19,500 (19 per cent.) are expected to be deployed on front-line duties.
The number of RAF personnel stationed abroad at 1 November 2003 was 4,895. This is not expected to change significantly by 24 December 2003. This figure represents 10 per cent. of the trained strength. Of this, the number of personnel expected to be deployed on operations is approximately 1,800 (3.7 per cent.).
An Operational Welfare Package (OWP) is available for those personnel on operations, exercises and deployments which are expected to last for two months or more. It includes many welfare enablers for the deployed Service person, including 20 minutes of publicly funded telephone calls per person per week, internet, e-bluey and postal access and was extended in April 2003 to provide public funds to improve communications between families and those deployed.
Over the period 22 December2 January an additional 20 minutes of telephone calls has been authorised. This means that 40 minutes of publicly funded telephone calls will be available over the Christmas/new year period to families and friends to any destination in the world.
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Secretary held meetings with the Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs of the United States State Department. 
Mr. Ingram: Sir Kevin Tebbit, Permanent Under Secretary, met Mr. Anthony Wayne, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs of the US State Department on 19 July 2002 in Washington DC.
Dr. Jack Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what terms of reference he gave to Lancaster University in connection with their contract to conduct public consultations for Project Isolus; what the basis was for giving three working days notice of the recent public meeting in Whitehaven; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 15 December 2003]: I am placing a copy of the terms of reference applicable to Lancaster University's Project Isolus public consultation work in the Library of the House. Lancaster University placed advertisements for the public meeting at Whitehaven in three local weekly newspapers during the week before the meeting, to reduce the risk of it being poorly attended. The first advertisement appeared in the North West Evening Mail on 24 November 2003, one week before the meeting on 1 December 2003. This strategy was also aimed at ensuring that the advertisements would appear at about the same time as any articles published in advance of the meeting, thereby setting the event in context. Information on public meetings, at Whitehaven and elsewhere in England and Scotland, was also published on the Lancaster University website around two to four weeks in advance of the confirmed date for the meetings.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the value was of the management fee received by the Ministry of Defence from the Saudi Arabian Government for its management of the Saudi Armed Forces Project in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Ingram: Details of the fees received by the Ministry of Defence are confidential between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabian Governments. I am therefore withholding that information under the provisions of Exemption 1 of Part II of the Code of Practice on access to Government Information.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 4 December 2003, Official Report, column 130W, on Northern Ireland, how many soldiers from Scottish Battalions are stationed in Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Ingram: There are no Scottish Battalions currently stationed in Northern Ireland. There may be individual soldiers from Scottish Battalions serving on detachment in Northern Ireland, but this information is not held centrally and could be collated only at disproportionate cost.
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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the time scale for construction of two landing ship dock (auxiliary) ships at Govan has changed; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The timescale for construction of two Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary) (LSD(A)) by BAE Systems Marine at Govan will change following the recent announcement by the lead shipyard, Swan Hunter, of delays to its own build programme. We are is currently reviewing the impact this will have on the In-Service Dates of all four LSD(A)s.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when and where the Head of the Family Policy Unit of the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety has agreed to meet representatives of Ballybeen Women's Centre. 
Angela Smith: Representatives from Ballybeen Women's Centre have not, as yet, requested a meeting with the Head of the Family Policy Unit of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what discussions he has had with the Department of Trade and Industry regarding the extension of the Employment Relations Bill to Northern Ireland; 
(3) what discussions he has had with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister regarding the extension of the Fire and Rescue Services Bill to Northern Ireland; 
(4) what discussions he has had with the Department for Education and Skills regarding the extension of the Children's Bill to Northern Ireland; 
(5) what discussions he has had with the Department of Trade and Industry regarding the extension of the Civil Partnerships Bill to Northern Ireland; 
(6) what discussions he has had with the Home Office regarding the extension of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill to Northern Ireland; 
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(8) what discussions he has had with the Department for Education and Skills regarding the extension of the Higher Education Bill to Northern Ireland; 
(9) what discussions he has had with the Home Office regarding the extension of the Civil Contingencies Bill to Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Pearson: There has been close consultation with other Departments at both ministerial and official level on the development of the Government's overall legislative programme as set out in the Queen's Speech. Where appropriate, these consultations have included the territorial extent of proposed legislation. I envisage that some of the provisions mentioned may extend to Northern Ireland.
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