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1 Nov 2004 : Column 108W—continued

Tomahawk Cruise Missiles

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 9 March 2004, Official Report, column 1405W, on Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, what estimate he has made of the (a) cost and (b) practicability of fitting Tomahawk cruise missiles to a Type 45 destroyer; and which would be the first in the series of these ships to which the missiles could be fitted. [170655]

Mr. Ingram: There is currently no requirement for the Type 45 destroyer to be fitted with Tomahawk cruise missiles, and so no requirement for a detailed costing to be undertaken. If a requirement is subsequently identified, the appropriate ship in the build or upkeep cycle would be identified as the first to receive such missiles.
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Type 23 Frigate

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the running costs of a Type-23 frigate were in the last financial year for which figures are available. [194466]

Mr. Ingram: We do not now manage costs on the basis of individual types of ships. There is therefore no distinct, identifiable budget for Type 23 frigates. But we estimate the average direct running costs for any of the 16 ships of this type in 2003 to be £8.93 million.


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on Tranche 3 of Typhoon. [194620]

Mr. Ingram: The first tranche of 55 Typhoons is on order, and the aircraft are now successfully entering service with the RAF. Negotiations for the second tranche of 89 aircraft are making good progress. Negotiations on an order for Tranche 3 are not expected to start before 2007.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to transfer (a) HMS Newcastle, (b) HMS Cardiff and (c) HMS Glasgow to an overseas navy. [194470]

Mr. Ingram: There are currently no plans to transfer HMS Newcastle and HMS Glasgow to an overseas navy. The Ministry of Defence's Disposal Services Agency (DSA) will investigate the possibility of a commercial sale. The disposal route for HMS Cardiff is yet to be agreed.
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Whittington Barracks, Lichfield

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) which bases will be used in England over the next five years for the Army Training Regiment; [193946]

(2) if he will make a statement on the future use of the army barracks at Whittington, Lichfield; [193947]

(3) what plans he has to sell land occupied by the Whittington barracks near Lichfield; [193944]

(4) whether he plans to move the Army Training Regiment for Lichfield. [193945]

Mr. Caplin: The Army Training and Recruiting Agency (ATRA) is currently conducting a study to evaluate the capacity requirements for Phase 1 soldier training and to determine the most long term economical use of the existing Phase 1 training real estate, which includes four Army Training Regiments (ATRs); ATR Bassingbourn, ATR Winchester, ATR Pirbright, ATR Lichfield and the Army Foundation College Harrogate. The study will identify and develop a range of options including the feasibility of closing one of the ATRs. No decisions have yet been reached as the study involves a detailed business case and economic appraisal to determine value for money in any restructuring of Phase 1 training. It is hoped to conclude the study early in 2005.

Any site identified for possible closure would be assessed for alternative uses within the MOD. In the event that another user could not be identified, the site would be closed. The site that is recommended for closure would result in its recruits being reallocated to the remaining three ATRs, with some expansion at the remaining sites to create greater efficiencies in training.
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Black Watch Deployment

Alan Simpson: To ask the Prime Minister if he will give an assurance that when Black Watch troops return to the UK for Christmas they will not be replaced by other British troops in forward deployments outside the Basra area. [194757]

The Prime Minister: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Inverness, West (Mr. Kennedy) at Prime Minister's questions on 27 October 2004, Official Report, column 1425.


Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Prime Minister which (a) UK and (b) international organisations have submitted written representations to his office concerning the Government's proposals for changes to legislation on gambling; and on what dates each representation (i) was received and (ii) was given a substantive response. [194513]

The Prime Minister: The information is not available in the format requested. Since the beginning of the year I have received over 65 letters on the issue of gambling. Given the volume of correspondence I receive, over one million letters and cards in the last year covering a broad spectrum of issues, my office records letters by subject rather than by the view expressed. My office works hard to ensure that all letters receive appropriate responses.

Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the overseas visits made by (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his office in relation to proposed changes to legislation on gambling; what the itinerary was for each visit; how long each visit lasted; which hotels were used; what the cost was in each case; and how each visit was funded. [194544]

The Prime Minister: Since 1999 the Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. Copies of these lists are available in the Library of the House. Information on the number of officials accompanying me on overseas visits is included in the list. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, and the Civil Service Management Code.

Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister what the basis is for the statement he made at his monthly press conference at Downing street on 25 October that the granting of additional powers to local authorities to give planning permission for large leisure complexes and casinos will aid regeneration in these areas. [195389]

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The Prime Minister: The evidence of the potential regenerative benefits of resort casinos is summarised in chapter 8 of the report of the Joint Committee on the Draft Gambling Bill (HC 139–1), copies of which are available in the Vote Office and on the Parliament website.


Mr. Dodds: To ask the Prime Minister what assurances were given to the US Administration in March 2002 regarding the policy of the British Government on regime change in Iraq. [194617]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Alexander) to the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Lembit Opik) on 27 October 2004, Official Report, column 1254W.

Press Releases

Pete Wishart: To ask the Prime Minister how many press releases have been issued by his Department in each month of 2004; and if he will make a statement. [195452]

The Prime Minister: Press releases issued by my office since the beginning of this year are available on the No. 10 website.

Strategy Unit Budget

Paul Flynn: To ask the Prime Minister what the sources of funding for the Strategy Unit budget are in 2004–05. [190749]

Mr. Milburn: I have been asked to reply.

The Strategy Unit is funded mainly by the Cabinet Office with contributions for some projects from other Government Departments.

Travel Costs

Charles Hendry: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to ensure there are no costs to the taxpayer for visits abroad by his wife for (a) personal and (b) business purposes. [195270]

The Prime Minister: Subject to the usual security considerations, there should be no additional cost to the taxpayer from any purely private visit.

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