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24 Feb 2004 : Column 359W—continued

Speed Cameras

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding his Department has provided for each speed camera partnership in England and which partners are involved in each partnership. [155213]

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Mr. Jamieson: Eight partnerships, six in England, trialled the safety camera cost recovery scheme from April 2000 to March 2002. A further seven (six in England) joined during 2002.

Funding for the camera activities of the Safety Camera Partnerships in England, met from conditional fixed penalty fines for speeding and red light offences, for 2000–01 and 2001–02, is as follows:

Thames Valley1,825,639
Thames Valley2,617,031

Information on the Partnerships' expenditure for 2002–03 is being prepared and will be published shortly.

Safety Camera Partnerships comprise representatives of the police force (or forces), local authorities and Magistrates' Courts Committees for the areas concerned. Some Partnerships also include representative of the Highways Agency and local Health Authorities.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his oral answer of 3 February 2004, Official Report, column 616, how many people were (a) killed and (b) seriously injured in the three years prior to the establishment of camera sites in the Christchurch constituency, and how many have been (i) killed and (ii) seriously injured since, in respect of each of the camera sites. [155507]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 23 February 2004]: My Department does not hold statistical information broken down by Parliamentary constituency areas. The hon. Member may wish to contact the Dorset Safety Camera Partnership for more detailed information.


Armed Forces Retirement Age

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria are in place to determine the (a) minimum and (b) maximum armed forces retirement age; and if he will make a statement. [154960]

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Mr. Caplin: The question of retirement procedures is a complex one as each of the Services have their individual regulations and, indeed, within each Service retirement criteria can vary considerably depending on factors such as length of service, rank and professional specialty. In addition, the introduction of the Three Tier Commission (short, medium and full) in April 1999 and such initiatives as the Common Terms of Service for medical officers mean that the already complex situation is exacerbated as the legacy rights of personnel serving before the introduction of these schemes have to be taken into consideration. However, in order to offer some indication of the minimum and maximum retirement ages the following can be used as a generic guide. Further more detailed information can be provided on specific cases if required.

There is no standard minimum retirement age as personnel can leave at various points after enlistment. However, in general terms, to receive an immediately payable pension officers would have to serve a minimum of 16 years from the age of 21 (37), whilst non-commissioned officers would have to serve a minimum of 22 years from the age of 18 (40). Personnel who leave too early to receive the immediately payable pension may be entitled to a preserved pension, based on their length of service, which is payable at the age of 60.

The normal maximum retirement age is 55 but again this can vary depending on factors such as seniority and professional specialty. For example, a Medical Officer in a senior position could stay in post until the age of 65. It should also be noted that any individual may have their service extended beyond their normal retirement age if to do so would be of mutual benefit to the Service and the individual.

Consultation Documents

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the individuals and organisations to whom (a) his Department, (b) its executive agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies for which his Department is responsible sent a copy of the consultation document, "The Future of the Defence Diversification Agency". [153852]

Mr. Caplin: The Consultation Document "The Future of The Defence Diversification Agency" was published on 8 February 2001. I have placed a list of the individuals and organisations which were sent a copy of the document in the Library of the House.

Defence Estates Core Sites

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Defence Estates Core Sites Report of March 2003 will be published. [155558]

Mr. Caplin: It is not our intention to publish the list, which is a working document and subject to constant detailed revision as the department undertakes further work to clarify where estate rationalisation may be possible. Any specific proposals arising from these studies will be subject to proper announcement to the House and full consultation.

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Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures United Kingdom forces have taken in the area of Southern Iraq under British control to ensure no weapons of mass destruction, their components, relevant explosives or contaminants are smuggled out of Iraq. [152318]

Mr. Hoon: Specific searches for WMD are the responsibility of the Iraq Survey Group, although UK forces routinely conduct a range of anti-smuggling operations as a part of continuing security operations in the UK area of responsibility in Southern Iraq. UK forces are also involved in training Iraqi border officials.

Missile Defence Technology

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 19 January 2004, to the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Keetch), Official Report, column 920W, if he will make a statement on the conclusions of the research projects funded by his Department, the Longer Range Threat, BMD studies and the Capability Gap Work; and if he will place reports relating to these projects in the Library. [155656]

Mr. Hoon: We keep the threat posed by ballistic missiles to the United Kingdom and its deployed forces—and the best means of countering this threat—under constant review. An unclassified summary of the Technology Readiness and Risk Assessment Programme referred to in my answer of 19 January to the hon. Member for Hereford Official Report, column 920W has already been placed in the Library. However, much of our work in this area must remain classified. The Longer Range Threat and the Capability Gap Work programmes, together with the Ballistic Missile Defence studies, form part of our new Ballistic Missile Defence programme, and no unclassified summary of this work is available.

Nuclear Weapons

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated costs of plans to upgrade nuclear weapons design and production facilities at Aldermaston are; how much has been allocated for this upgrade; and what the timetable is for its completion. [154079]

Mr. Hoon: The refurbishment and replacement of older facilities, and the decommissioning of those no longer required, is a continuing programme of work at AWE to meet safety, regulatory and operational requirements. We made clear in paragraph 3.11 of the Defence White Paper published in December (CM 6041–1) that we will take appropriate steps to ensure that the range of options for maintaining a nuclear deterrent capability is kept open until we need to take decisions on whether to replace Trident.

The costs of the continuing programme are included in the overall incentivised price of the 25-year AWE Management and Operation contract. The precise timing, scope and cost of all the investments required over the 25 year period have yet to be finalised with the

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AWE contractor. The total cost of operating AWE for the current financial year is expected to be of the order of £310 million.


Benefit Fraud

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many staff in his Department have been (a) suspended, (b) dismissed, (c) prosecuted and (d) convicted for involvement in benefit fraud in each of the last six years; and what the amounts involved were in each of the cases listed. [154543]

Mrs. McGuire: The Scotland Office was established on 1 July 1999. Since that date no disciplinary action or prosecutions have taken place against staff for involvement in benefit fraud.

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