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5 Jan 2004 : Column 32W—continued

Saudi Arabia

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many claims for payment for visa support and visa-related services by the Saudi Government have been endorsed since 1 January 1997 by staff of his Department's Director General of the Saudi Armed Forces project regarding the Al-Yamamah programme; and what the value has been of claims for visa support and visa-related services since then. [141987]

Mr. Ingram: None.


Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the Seawolf Mid-life Update programme; and what slippage there has been in the project. [144132]

Mr. Ingram: The Seawolf Mid-Life Update will improve the performance of this short range air defence system which is fitted to the Royal Navy's frigates, and will maintain its effectiveness well into this century. Against an original forecast In-Service Date (ISD) of late 2004, slippage of 13 months was reported in the 2001 Major Project Report. Following incorporation of an associated programme into the project to realise efficiency benefits through the harmonisation of work packages, the programme to ISD will be reviewed early in 2004. While slippage to ISD will delay the first ship fit, compression of the ship fitting programme will enable earlier delivery of the total capability across the frigate fleet.

Service Pensions

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the formula to be applied to compensation payable to ex-servicemen wrongly taxed on their service attributable pension will provide a return on the income wrongly deducted which is at least equivalent to the return which would have been

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obtainable had the individual lent the equivalent sum to the Government under the National Savings scheme and received an element of damages; and whether the sum payable will be based on interest compounded (a) annually and (b) semi-annually. [145140]

Mr. Caplin: The formula for determining the gross compensation to ex-servicemen whose invaliding pensions were wrongly taxed for more than six years, involves uprating the sum owed by the Retail Prices Index plus 2 per cent. per annum. The sum payable is to be based on compounding annually. Over the last 20 years this provides a slightly lower return on average than applying the National Savings rate (based on a deposit of £10,000). However, in the preceding decade the Ministry of Defence's formula gives the higher return. Over the whole 30 years, the return using MOD's formula is slightly more generous than one linked to the National Savings rate.

Staffordshire Regiment

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of the Staffordshire Regiment following the publication of the Defence White Paper on 11 December. [144392]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 17 December 2003]: There are currently no plans regarding the future of the Staffordshire Regiment. The Defence White Paper provides the policy context for shaping the structure of our armed forces. Subsequently, the details of individual systems and units within that structure will need to be developed, but presently no decisions have been taken.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on his policy with regard to bringing the delivery, cost and quality records of potential subcontractors to the notice of a defence prime contractor; [143368]

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Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence and its suppliers operate within the terms of the Codes of Best Practice to promote better working relationships in defence acquisition.

It is principally the responsibility of the Department's prime contractors to select and manage the performance of their subcontractors. Many prime contractors deploy their own schemes for tracking supplier performance.

It is not general policy to disclose details of an individual supplier's performance to other suppliers because such information would be commercially confidential. Only in exceptional cases involving, for example, national security or safety issues, would potential subcontract sourcing be considered as part of the Invitation to Tender for the prime contract.

Territorial Army

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of members of the Territorial Army have been paid on time in each of the last 12 months. [144683]

Mr. Caplin: Although a percentage figure is not held, the vast majority of Territorial Army personnel have been paid on time during the last 12 months. We are aware, however, that a small number of personnel mobilised during the early stages of recent operations in Iraq did experience delays in receiving the correct pay and allowances.

Type 45 Destroyer

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to alter the planned number of Type 45 destroyers to be purchased over the next decade. [144688]

Mr. Ingram: There are six Type 45 Destroyers currently on order. Construction on the first has already begun at BAE Systems' yards on the Clyde and at the new Vosper Group facility at Portsmouth. Decisions about further orders of Type 45 Destroyers are not anticipated until the middle of this decade.

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Monday 5 January 2004



Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with specific reference to Angola, what the indicators are that define a good poverty reduction strategy paper; and what the criteria are by which the Government will measure governance and transparency credentials. [146161]

Hilary Benn: The indicators for a good poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) are those defined by the Joint Staff Assessment (JSA) Guidelines of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The JSA guidelines reflect the main principles underlying the PRSP approach. The PRSP should be prepared by the Government, including broad participation that promotes country ownership of the strategy and its implementation as well as partnerships among the government, domestic stakeholders and development partners. The JSA guidelines also reflect the expectation that, although the specific content of PRSPs will vary widely among countries, a PRSP will include four core elements: a description of the country's participatory process; poverty diagnosis; targets, indicators, and monitoring systems; and priorities for public action. Good governance measures, including those which address transparency and corruption fall under the public action section.

The UK has been working closely with the Government of Angola to ensure that the PRSP adheres to all of the JSA guidelines. The donor community in Angola fully expects the next draft version of the paper, likely to be published early in the new year, to include a strategy for good governance. Key components of that strategy will be greater transparency on Government income and expenditure as well as plans to eradicate corruption from all levels of government. The UK will continue to work closely with the World Bank and other donors to ensure that the text and implementation of the Angola PRSP meets the high standards demanded by the JSA guidelines.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what aid his Department is providing to Colombia, with particular reference to aid to (a) help the development of civil society, (b) improve human rights and (c) encourage the activity of free trades unions. [144923]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID provides assistance to Colombia through the Civil Society Challenge Fund. 'War on Want' has received a £213,948 grant over four years for a 'Promotion of Workers and Human Rights' project in South West Colombia, which aims to increase trade union and social organisations' capacity to defend human and workers' rights. UNISON has received a £25,000 grant over three years to work with activists within civil society organisations and trade unions across Latin America to improve their capacity for

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dialogue with international global institutions such as the World Trade Organisation and the International Labour Organisation.

DFID also contributes to the EC's Euro 105 million Country Programme for Colombia (2001–06), which contains four elements—two of which directly support efforts to improve human rights (support to administrative and judicial reform and promotion of human rights). DFID funds a £140,000 Small Grants Scheme in Colombia, which is managed by the embassy and supports projects with civil society groups.

Disabled Civil Servants

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many senior civil servants in his Department are disabled, expressed in (a) numbers and (b) as a percentage of whole-time equivalents. [144976]

Hilary Benn: Statistical information about senior civil servants with disabilities is available on the Civil Service Statistics website at http:/

As there are less than five members of the senior civil service in DFID with a disability, the actual number is not published in order to protect the privacy of the individual in line with exemption 12 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

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