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17 May 2004 : Column 664W—continued

Defence Exports

24. Jim Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the measures the Ministry of Defence is taking to promote defence exports. [173172]

Mr. Ingram: The Defence Export Services Organisation, within the Ministry of Defence, promotes legitimate defence exports by offering advice and assistance to the United Kingdom defence industry. The organisation invites and hosts foreign delegations at defence exhibitions in the United Kingdom, and provides military support teams in the promotion of military products and services. The Department continues to work for better market access for United Kingdom manufacturers to foreign defence markets.

Joint Strike Fighter

25. Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with the US Administration on the implementation of the Joint Strike Fighter programme. [173173]

Mr. Ingram: The Joint Strike Fighter has been selected to meet our Joint Combat Aircraft requirement to replace our current Harrier aircraft. It will be flown from our new aircraft carriers and from land bases. It will also create thousands of jobs and help to boost our economy. Ministers and officials regularly discuss the progress of the programme with our US partners.


Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) quantity and (b) type of observation equipment is deployed for British troops to use in Afghanistan. [153038]

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Mr. Ingram: I am withholding information on observation equipment available to British Forces in Afghanistan under Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Departmental Procurement

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for   Defence what percentage of the (a) crockery, (b) cutlery and (c) glassware procured by his Department over the last five years is of British manufacture. [170797]

Mr. Ingram: For the last five years the Ministry of Defence's requirements for crockery, cutlery and glassware have been procured through the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

The OGC have provided the following information covering the use of British Manufacture, in percentage terms, over the last five years:
British Manufacture



Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department will receive a discount on its order for the second tranche of Eurofighters similar to that achieved by the German Defence Ministry. [172318]

Mr. Ingram: Negotiations between partner nations and industry for the second Tranche of Eurofighters (Typhoons) are ongoing. We are working to ensure that the Tranche 2 contract is affordable and soundly based to deliver the required capability.


Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what further investigations his Department has   undertaken into the (a) reasons and (b) those responsible for the flakjackets missing since 1999; what conclusions he has reached; and if he will make a statement. [173318]

Mr. Ingram: I have assumed that my hon. Friend has in mind the National Audit Office Report on Operation Telic, which reported that approximately 200,000 sets of Enhanced Combat Body Armour had been issued since the Kosovo campaign in 1999, but seemed to have disappeared.

I should explain that the figure quoted in the NAO report was an estimate provided for the NAO inquiry of the equivalent number of sets of body armour that would have been issued since 1999. However, the body armour ensemble is not usually issued as a complete set. Instead, units request the number of components required to make up the sets they need (covers, fillers and ceramic plates). The fillers and covers are accounted for as items of consumable stock and are, therefore, usually disposed of locally when they wear out,
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although items may be returned to stock and re-issued if undamaged. Due to their value, the plates, when surplus to unit requirements and serviceable, are returned to stock for re-issue as the need arises.

In light of the concern raised about the supply of body armour, the Defence Logistics Organisation conducted an audit of Enhanced Combat Body Armour The audit has provided a picture of our current holdings. It shows that current stock holdings account for 66 per cent. of the total number of Enhanced Combat Body Armour components procured since 1992. The remainder will have been consumed over this period as a result of wear and tear, and operational loss.

Future Aircraft Carrier

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the prime contractor for the Future Aircraft Carrier programme. [170330]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 May 2004, Official Report, column 1514W, to my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne East (Mr. Brown).


Mrs. Mahon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has studied the Amnesty International Report published on 6 May 2004, Protecting the Human Rights of Women and Girls Trafficked for Forced Prostitution in Kosovo; what assessment (a) he and (b) his Department have made of the Report's claims that the international community, including United Kingdom members of KFOR and the UN, make up a significant concentration of these women's clientele; and if he will make a statement. [173235]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence has studied the Amnesty International report 'So does it mean that we have the rights?—Protecting the Human Rights of Women and Girls Trafficked for Forced Prostitution in Kosovo'. The report's findings are a matter of grave concern. The Government condemns the exploitation of vulnerable people, and expects UK military personnel to adhere to the rules for conduct on operations. Military personnel breaking these rules are dealt with under the relevant military disciplinary procedures and, depending on the offence, UK criminal law. With the exception of two cases where, as the report recognises disciplinary measures were taken, we are not aware of any involvement of UK military personnel in the activities the report describes.

Nimrod MRA4

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 5 May 2004, Official Report, column 1523W, on the Nimrod MRA4, what plans he has to ensure that, in the event of an eventual favourable decision to continue production of the Nimrod MRA4 aircraft, a workforce with the sufficient skills and product knowledge will be available at Woodford. [172415]

Mr. Ingram: BAE Systems is clearly best placed to manage their workforce to provide the skills and knowledge to meet current obligations and likely future business requirements.
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Acceptable design maturity and price are needed before a full production order can be placed. The Ministry of Defence, however, has been approving low risk production activities when it makes sense to do so, where these help maintain essential skills and product knowledge as well as preserve schedule.

Prison Warder Duties

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what qualifications armed forces personnel have in prison warder duties; whether the training they   receive for such duties leads to a recognised qualification; and if he will make a statement. [171586]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence does not run prisons. However, members of the Adjutant General's Corps Military Provost Staff (AGC(MPS)) receive the relevant training to run the Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC) in Colchester.

The MCTC is subject to independent inspection and   is a National Vocational Qualifications Award accredited custodial care assessment centre. Individual qualifications are not awarded; however close liaison with Her Majesty's Prison Service is undertaken in order that best practice is maintained.

AGC(MPS) also run the Regimental Police course at MCTC. This course prepares soldiers to run the unit guardroom and to provide them with the skills necessary to handle soldiers serving short-term periods of detention in the unit guardroom. The course covers all legal, administrative and welfare aspects of detention and provides a City and guilds Qualification.

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