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23 Feb 2004 : Column 47W—continued

Naval Vessels

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Government's policy is on placing of orders for naval vessels in overseas shipyards. [153790]

Mr. Ingram: It remains the policy of this Government that all warships for the Royal Navy will continue to be built in the United Kingdom. This entails all fabrication and assembly of new warship hulls but excludes weapon, command and propulsion systems, which may be procured from overseas, following open competition.

Royal Navy

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress on trials of the Royal Navy's combat support system. [155019]

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Mr. Ingram: The trials of the Royal Navy Command Support System (RNCSS) in HMS Albion during April and November 2003 were the culmination of a series of demonstrations designed to test the effectiveness of the Royal Navy's command support capability. The trials were a success, with the 72 terminals in HMS Albion meeting the challenges presented in a number of exacting scenarios.


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Typhoon aircraft he estimates will be ordered by each partner in the third tranche. [155130]

Mr. Ingram: Under the 4-nation memorandum of understanding, the UK has undertaken to order 88 Typhoon aircraft in the third tranche, Germany 68, Italy 46 and Spain 34.

United States Bases/Forces

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the United States bases that have been handed back to the United Kingdom Government since 1974, indicating in each case (a) who paid for the restoration of the area and (b) what the cost was. [154761]

Mr. Caplin: The United States bases that have been returned to the Ministry of Defence since 1988 are listed as follows. No earlier information is available.

Records about who paid for the restoration and at what cost are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate costs.

US bases handed back to MOD since 1988

Site/FacilityTypeServiceReturned to MOD
Bramley(S/S)USAF1 January 1988
RAF Ridgewell(S/S)USAF3 August 1989
RAF Wethersfield(SDB)USAF1 October 1990
RAF Chessington(Hosp)USAF18 September 1991
RAF Kirknewton(Hosp)USAF26 September 1991
RAF Hullavington(S/S)USAF30 September 1991
RAF Lanark(Hosp)USN3 December 1991
Greatworth(Comms)USAF8 February 1992
Great Bromley(Comms)USAF1 May 1992
Holy Loch(S/S)USN17 June 1992
Broughton Moor(NAD)30 June 1992
Martlesham Heath(Comms)USAF1 July 1992
RAF KembleS/SUSAF31 July 1992
Glen Douglas(NAD)20 September 1992
RAF Greenham Common(SDB)USAF30 September 1992
RAF Locking(Hosp)USN1 October 1992
RAF Sculthorpe(SDB)USAF2 October 1992
Cairnmore Hilloch(Comms)USN28 October 1992
RAF Inverbervie(Comms)USN28 October 1992
Latheron(Comms)USN28 October 1992
West Murkle(Comms)USN28 October 1992
Aberdeen(Comms)USN10 November 1992
RAF Kinnaber(Comms)USN21 January 1993
RAF Woodbridge(MOB)USAF20 August 1993
RAF BurtonwoodS/SUSAF26 August 1993
Forss(Comms)USN14 September 1993
RAF Bentwaters(MOB)USAF30 September 1993
Mormond Hill(Comms)USAF7 October 1993
RAF Caerwent(S/S)USAF30 November 1993
RAF Watton(S/S)USAF12 May 1994
RAF Bicester(S/S)USAF30 June 1994
RAF Little Rissington(Hosp)USAF30 June 1994
RAF Upper Hayford(MOB)USAF30 Sept 1994
RAF Machrihanish(S/S)USN30 June 1995
RAF Brawdy(S/S)USN30 September 1995
RAF Chicksands(Comms)USAF30 September 1995
RAF Chilwell(S/S)USAF30 September 1995
Framlingham(S/S)USAF30 September 1995
RAF Nocton Hall(Hosp)USAF30 September 1995
RAF Alconbury (Airfield)(MOB)USAF1 October 1995
Oakington(S/S)USAF20 February 1996
RAF Edzell(Comms)USN30 September 1997

23 Feb 2004 : Column 49W

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the US National (Reserve) Guard are deployed on RAF bases occupied and controlled by the US Visiting Forces, (a) in total and (b) broken down by base. [155413]

Mr. Ingram: A total of 208 US Army National Guards are currently deployed to RAF bases made available to the US Visiting Force, and are based at the following locations:

RAF Lakenheath84
RAF Mildenhall84
RAF Croughton14
RAF Molesworth26

Nuclear Weapons

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the latest version of the Mutual Defence Agreement on Atomic Energy Matters, as amended in 1994. [155864]

Mr. Hoon: Copies of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement with the United States and its subsequent amendments are already in the Library of the House.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the United Kingdom (a) is involved and (b) plans to be involved, under the US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement on Atomic Energy matters, in the Hafnium-178 research at the US Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland in New Mexico; and what research Atomic Weapons Establishment is conducting into military uses of Hafnium-178. [155884]

Mr. Hoon: The United Kingdom is not involved with Hafnium-178 research in the United States under the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement, and has no current plans to become involved. There is no current research programme into the military uses of Hafnium-178 at the Atomic Weapons Establishment.


Visitors Centre

Mr. Robathan: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission whether he has consulted UNESCO regarding building a reception room for visitors to the Palace of Westminster. [155510]

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Sir Archy Kirkwood: The steering group preparing the UNESCO World Heritage Site Management Plan for Westminster has been fully informed and consulted.


Fuel Duty Rebate

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will make a statement on the outcome of his consultation on the fuel duty rebate; [155178]

Mr. McNulty: The April 2003 Budget announced that the Government would continue work on the review of bus subsidies as part of the wider review of the Transport 10-Year Plan. This includes consideration of Bus Service Operators' Grant (previously called fuel duty rebate). Further work will be guided by the need to ensure that local bus services better meet the needs of local people and communities and make effective use of public subsidy to deliver public aims. The review of the Transport 10-Year Plan is being taken forward in parallel with Spending Review 2004, which is expected to conclude in the summer.

Birmingham Airport

Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what compensation arrangements are available to Solihull constituents whose properties are blighted by the possibility of a second runway at Birmingham airport. [155534]

Mr. McNulty: We have specified that the operators of airports where runway development is supported by the White Paper "The Future of Air Transport" should develop and bring forward local schemes to address the problem of generalised blight. I understand that Birmingham International Airport Ltd. hopes shortly to bring forward compensation schemes to deal with property affected by the proposals for a second runway.

Child Poverty

Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to achieve the Government's targets of (a) ending child poverty by 2020, (b) halving it by 2010 and (c) reducing it by a quarter by 2004–05; and if he will make a statement. [154365]

Mr. McNulty: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesham (Mr. Pond) on 12 February 2004, Official Report, columns 1590–91W.

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