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20 Jan 2005 : Column 1076W—continued

Departmental Costs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost of (a) new builds, (b) demolition rebuilds and (c) PFI projects in his Department for each of the last two years. [200797]

Mr. Caplin: The information is not held in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which future English Infantry Battalions under the future army structure are expected to be under establishment. [208301]

Mr. Ingram: The Future Army Structure will require a shift in personnel from the current mix of light and heavy forces to a more balanced structure of light, medium and heavy forces. Manpower released from the reductions in infantry battalions will be used to strengthen the remaining infantry units, and expand specialist areas such as engineers, logisticians, signallers and intelligence. The precise re-distribution of this manpower is currently being considered.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the comparative costs of recruitment and training for infantry recruits in each infantry regiment. [209196]

Mr. Caplin: Whilst costing data cannot be differentiated by capbadge, the comparative cost of recruitment and training for the three career employment groups in the infantry, guards, line and para, for the financial year 2003–04 at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick are listed in the following table:

Career employment

Length of
course (weeks)
Cost per trainee for financial year 2003–04 (£)

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These costs are calculated on an accruals basis and include non cash items such as depreciation and cost of capital.


Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many serving British military personnel or past serving personnel in Iraq have been charged with offences against Iraqi civilians since the recent military conflict began; if he will list each of the offences with which military personnel have been charged; how many personnel (a) have so far been found guilty and (b) are awaiting trial for such offences; and if he will make a statement. [208725]

Mr. Ingram: Since the start of operations in Iraq in March 2003 six soldiers have been charged with offences against Iraqi civilians. These cases are ongoing and for legal reasons no further information can be given at this time.

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what facilities exist for relatives or friends to visit Iraqis held in detention or in prison by British military forces in Iraq; and what procedures have to be followed for such visits to take place. [208742]

Mr. Ingram: Within 24 hours of an internee arriving at the Divisional Temporary Detention Facility (DTDF) in Basrah, the only detention centre administered by the United Kingdom, the International Committee of the Red Cross are informed. It is then their role to inform the internee's family.

Comprehensive procedures are in place for family members to visit internees at the DTDF; in summary, internees can be visited once they have been at the DTDF for 14 days, and four adults and four children can visit an internee at any one time for up to 45 minutes. There is no limit placed on how many times an internee is visited, although the DTDF reserves the right to cancel visits for reasons of security. There is a Visitors' Reception Area and a meeting room.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total cost of military action in Iraq was in (a) 2003–04 and (b) 2004–05 to date. [209530]

Mr. Ingram: The costs of operations are calculated on a net additional basis. Audited figures for operations in Iraq are published each year in the Ministry of Defence's Annual Report and Accounts. Costs for 2002–03 and 2003–04 were:
£ million
Operations in Iraq1,051
Expenditure on capital equipment260

Estimated costs for 2004–05 will be included in Spring Supplementary Estimates to be published shortly. Final figures will be published in the MOD's Annual Report and Accounts for 2004–05 following necessary stocktake activity and audit by the National Audit Office.
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Meteorological Office

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the role is of the Meteorological Office in connection with issuing (a) flood warnings and (b) severe weather warnings; what resources are available to it; and what the level of accuracy of these forecasts was in 2004. [208874]

Mr. Caplin: The Met Office does not itself issue flood warnings, but provides information and services to the Environment Agency in support of their responsibility to issue flood warnings in England and Wales. It provides similar support to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. A more restricted severe weather service has been commissioned by and is therefore provided to the Northern Ireland Executive.

As the National Met Service for the United Kingdom, the Met Office has a responsibility for warning the citizens of the UK of severe weather events. Severe weather warnings are issued when it is judged there is a possible danger to life and property, or when disruption to transport is possible. Two types of warnings are issued. Flash warnings are typically issued three to six hours ahead of a predicted event and early warnings are issued up to five days ahead of a forecast event. These warnings are made available to the public via a range of media (including national television and radio) and to other Government bodies and agencies who have a responsibility for the protection of life, property and infrastructure. During 2004 a total of 406 severe weather warnings were issued. The Met Office records for 2004 indicate that some 87 per cent. of severe weather events occurring in the UK were preceded by a severe weather warning.

The funding for the National Severe Weather Service is provided by the Cabinet Office and devolved administrations. In the current financial year, the funding available to the Met Office for this service is £2.02 million.

Military Operating Costs

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the annual operating costs in near cash terms of (a) HMS Grafton, (b) HMS Marlborough and (c) HMS Norfolk were in financial years 2002–03 and 2003–04. [209339]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence does not manage costs on the basis of individual ships or types of ships. There is therefore no distinct, identifiable budget for Type 23 frigates. However we estimate the near cash costs in 2003–04 for these frigates to be:
£ Million

It is not possible to provide figures for 2002–03 broken down by individual ship, because costing information was not recorded in a manner that would allow their allocation to individual platforms with a reasonable degree of accuracy. However, in a written answer on 9 September 2003, Official Report, column
20 Jan 2005 : Column 1079W
346W to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) I estimated that the average running cost for a Type 23 frigate was £10.3 million.

MOD Efficiency Programme

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the planned cashable savings attributable to his Department's efficiency programme are for the (a) Army Base Repair Organisation, (b) Defence Aviation Repair Agency, (c) Defence Science and Technology Laboratories, (d) Meteorological Office and (e) UK Hydrographic Office for financial years (i) 2006–07 and (ii) 2007–08. [209331]

Mr. Caplin [holding answer 18 January 2005]: The Ministry of Defence Efficiency Programme does not include cashable savings from these agencies.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his priorities are for the nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference in May 2005; and whether the UK will request that replacement of Trident be placed on the agenda. [209883]

Mr. Hoon: The United Kingdom's goals for the review conference are to make the case for stronger and more effective counter-proliferation measures and to emphasise the importance of compliance with the treaty. We will do this in the context of emphasising the UK's good record on nuclear disarmament, and we will produce a final report of the studies that we have conducted on the verification of nuclear disarmament. The nuclear non-proliferation treaty defines the purpose of the review conference as being "to review the operation of this treaty with a view to assuring that the purposes of the preamble and the provisions of the treaty are being realised." The agenda for the 2005 nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference is yet to be agreed by state parties to the NPT.

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