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21 Jan 2004 : Column 1249W—continued

Procurement

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many contractors' bid costs have been refunded in full, or in part, as a result of procurement competitions being terminated or substantially altered since 1997; in how many cases compensation has been paid; what the total value of such payments is; and if he will make a statement. [147957]

Mr. Ingram: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost (Exemption 9 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information).

In the event that a procurement competition was terminated or substantially altered consideration would be given, on a case-by-case basis, to whether to reimburse bid costs.

Reservists

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) full-time reservists with full commitment contracts, (b) full-time reservists with limited commitment contracts, (c) full-time reservists with home commitment contracts and (d) volunteer reservists have been called out on active duty in each year since 1997; and what the average active duty service time has been for each category. [148669]

Mr. Caplin: The Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) commitment was established in 1998.

The numbers of FTRS personnel called out for permanent service by the Royal Navy (including Royal Marines) and Royal Air Force since 1998 are detailed in the following table. The Army does not keep a separate record of FTRS personnel called out for permanent service.

FTRS full commitmentFTRS limited commitmentFTRS home commitment
1998000
1999000
2000000
2001220
2002320
200318560

These figures do not include those personnel who, as part of their FTRS commitment, served on operations.

We have been unable to distinguish between the forms of service that reservists were undertaking when mobilised. Therefore, the figures detailed as follows cover all reservists mobilised.

Number of reservists mobilised
1997980
1998840
19991,400
20001,120
2001920
20021,720
20039,550

A central record of the average period of mobilised service that each category has served since 1997 is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, in 2003 for Operation TELIC reservists would have been mobilised for between seven and nine months (this includes pre-deployment training and post-deployment leave).


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Service Accommodation

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many married quarters (a) were released to Annington Homes in each year since 1996 and (b) are projected to be released in each of the next five years; what the location is in each case; and what factors influence decisions on releases. [146516]

Mr. Caplin: Within the Defence Housing Executive's (DHE) overall disposal programme, the following numbers of properties have been handed back to Annington Homes, following the sale of the bulk of the family estate in 1996:

Properties
19978
19981,366
19991,188
20002,679
20012,640
20022,366
20031,513

At the time of the overall sale and leaseback in 1996, 2,373 properties were released to Annington Homes. Subsequently, a total of 11,760 properties have been handed back at over 300 sites across England and Wales. A further 560 properties are due to be handed back by the end of March 2004.

Territorial Army

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the Territorial Army serving in (a) 2 Signals Brigade and (b) its subordinate units have been mobilised during Operation Telic. [149422]

Mr. Caplin: One hundred and sixty six members of the Territorial Army who serve in either 2 Signals Brigade, or its subordinate units, have been deployed on Operation TELIC.

Timber

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 8 December 2003, Official Report, column 277W, how many and what percentage of contracts issued by his Department since August 2002 which involved the use of wood have not complied with the Defence Contract Condition (DEFCON) 691. [148847]

Mr. Caplin: The Ministry of Defence places in excess of 30,000 contracts per annum. MOD commercial staff are advised to include the Defence Contract Condition (DEFCON) 691 in all relevant contracts that may involve the supply or consumption of timber. However, if it is clear that performance of contracts does not involve the supply or consumption of timber, then

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DEFCON 691 need not be called up. The MOD does not keep central records of the number of contracts, which contain DEFCON 691.

University Places (Service Sponsorships)

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he and his officials have had with the Department for Education and Skills on the impact of the introduction of top-up fees on service sponsorships for university places. [149042]

Mr. Caplin: None.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the impact of the introduction of top-up fees on the provision of service sponsorships for university places. [149043]

Mr. Caplin: No assessment has yet been made.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Chechnya

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department's approach to the human rights issue in Chechnya includes representations to the Chechen Government. [149160]

Mr. Rammell: The UK's representations over human rights in Chechnya have, to date, been made to representatives of the Russian Federal Government, rather than to local authorities.

Hebron Rehabilitation Committee

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what financial support the United Kingdom has given to the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee; and if he will make a statement. [149096]

Mr. Straw: The UK has not given any financial support to the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee. However, we are aware of their valuable work restoring the old city of Hebron, and have in the past lobbied the Government of Israel to ensure the Committee's work is not obstructed.

Israel

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Israeli Government concerning the welfare of animals denied access to Palestinian pasture lands since the construction of the security wall. [148902]

Mr. Rammell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 19 November 2003, Official Report, column 1054W. As we made clear then, we have serious concerns about the impact of the fence on the daily life of those Palestinians directly affected. We are particularly concerned at the impact the establishment of a closed zone has had on access to basic services, including health and education in the area, and on the ability of Palestinian farmers to cultivate farmland and care for their livestock.

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Migrant Workers

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what correspondence he has received since 1 July 2003 on the coming into force of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families; and what steps remain to be taken before UK ratification of the Treaty. [149249]

Mr. Rammell: The Government have received communication from a variety of sources seeking UK ratification. However, we have no plans to ratify the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. The scope of the Convention is wider than the UK's existing immigration laws. Incorporating it into UK law would imply fundamental changes to our legislation and would undermine the UK's system of frontier control.

The Government consider they have already struck the right balance between the need for immigration control and the protection of the interests and rights of migrant workers.

Rwanda and Burundi

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what efforts are being made to assist (a) Rwanda and (b) Burundi to bring those guilty of crimes against humanity to justice; and if he will make a statement. [148856]

Mr. Mullin: We are working with the Rwandan Government to develop and begin implementation of a strategy for legal and judicial reform; implement the "gacaca" process of local justice in all provinces: and work constructively with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. In Burundi, during 2003–04 we are contributing £5.7 million towards the cost of the African Union's peace-keeping force. We are also encouraging the UN to look at ways in which the international community can support post-conflict justice.

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance is being provided to (a) Rwanda and (b) Burundi to fight terrorism; and if he will make a statement. [148857]

Mr. Mullin: We are not providing direct assistance to Burundi and Rwanda to fight terrorism, but we are helping Rwanda with security sector reform and looking at the possibility of doing so in Burundi. We currently assess the threat from international terrorism in Burundi and Rwanda as low, but this is kept under careful review.

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support is being provided to efforts to initiate the peace process in Burundi; and if he will make a statement. [148859]

Mr. Mullin: The UK has increased its engagement in Burundi since the signing of the Arusha agreement in 2000, providing both political and financial support. We are working with the EU, UN and regional partners to consolidate the peace process to support peace-building activities, including the African Mission in Burundi, and long-term recovery and poverty reduction.

21 Jan 2004 : Column 1253W

In 2003–04, the UK has made a total of £11.6 million available for Burundi, including £5.7 million to support the African Union-led peace-keeping force.


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