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24 Jan 2005 : Column 50W—continued

Infantry Future Army Structure

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether Sandhurst Officer Cadets will be able to apply for the individual battalions rather than the new regiments when the new Infantry Future Army Structure is in place; [208291]

(2) whether the individual battalions in the new regiments within the Prince of Wales, Kings and Scottish Divisions will be allowed to recruit officers in the new Infantry Future Army Structure. [208292]

Mr. Ingram: Recruitment of officer cadets under the Infantry Future Army Structure will be by regiment, rather than individual battalion. Recruits will remain entitled to state their interests and preferences, and, although every effort will be made to accommodate each recruit, there can be no guarantee that these will be met.

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Infantry battalions will have training time free of operational call up when the Infantry Future Army Structure is in place. [208295]

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Mr. Ingram: The Army is implementing, under Future Army Structures, a strategy to deliver both training and commitments known as the Force Operations and Readiness Mechanism (FORM); a replacement for the Formation Readiness Cycle. All Army units, including Infantry battalions, will programme their training and operational commitment activities according to the principles of FORM.

FORM enables the Army to meet its outputs (force elements ready for both programmed operations and contingent operations) from within the force structure. The sequence of activity for any one force element, such as an Infantry battalion, is in five separate six month phases: recuperation; unit and battlegroup training; formation training; high readiness; and an operational deployment.

Inglis Barracks

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects British Forces Post Office to vacate their site at Mill Hill, Inglis Barracks; and if he will make a statement. [202972]

Mr. Caplin: A project is in place to provide a new facility at RAF Northolt for the British Forces Post Office. It is planned that this facility will be occupied during 2007, at which time Inglis Barracks will be vacated.


Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Iranian authorities have returned the Royal Marine boats, weapons and equipment that were seized during the recent Gulf hostilities; and if he will make a statement. [209821]

Mr. Ingram: The Iranian authorities have not returned the boats and equipment which they seized on 21 June. We continue to press for their return.

Royal Regiment of Scotland

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the future Royal Regiment of Scotland will be able to maintain the establishment for five battalions under present recruiting levels. [208293]

Mr. Ingram: The ability to man the five battalions of the Royal Regiment of Scotland will depend on a number of factors. It is not possible to predict its establishment until it is clear what roles the battalions of the regiment will be assigned. Recruitment to the Scottish Division has recently been slightly depressed not least by coverage of 'Save the Regiment' campaigns. However, assuming that the establishment of the future battalions remains broadly similar to current levels and a return to the recruiting levels achieved in recent years, levels of enlistment to the Royal Regiment of Scotland should be sufficient to sustain five battalions.


Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the people working within his Department on secondment from the private sector,
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broken down by (a) the organisation or industry they came from and (b) the policy responsibilities they have been given. [208630]

Mr. Caplin: The information is as follows:

Inward Secondments

There are currently 24 staff seconded in to the Ministry of Defence from the Private Sector. Information available on these staff is as follows:

Parent organisation
Area of responsibility
within MOD
Number of staff
BAE SystemsProcurement1
AWEProject Management2
Lockheed MartinProject Management1
Rolls RoyceProcurement1
Burgess SalmonLegal1
British AerospaceDefence Export Sales
Partnerships UKCommercial1
Grant ThorntonLogistics1
BAE SystemsLogistics2
Babtie Group Ltd.Logistics2
Halcrow GroupLogistics3
MS Ltd.Scientific Research1

Staff Vacancies

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on advertising staff vacancies in (a) 2002 and (b) 2003. [209581]

Mr. Caplin: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Tsunami (Military Assistance)

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason flights scheduled to deliver aid to areas affected by the tsunami in Asia have been held up at RAF Lyneham. [209728]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 January 2005]: Flights to deliver aid to the areas affected by the tsunami have not been held up. The Ministry of Defence is carrying out operations as tasked by DFID. DFID has agreed to transport appropriate relief items procured by Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) agencies in response to specific and stated needs on the ground. The MOD originally made available one C17 and five C130 (Hercules) aircraft to assist the relief operation. In fact, C17s and KC1 (Tristar) aircraft have been used more extensively due to the distances and types of cargo involved.


Employment Services

17. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what changes are (a) under way and (b) planned in Greater London in the provision of employment and related services. [209988]

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Malcolm Wicks: The rollout of fully integrated Jobcentre Plus offices is continuing, with over 500 new style offices providing a modern, customer focussed service to over a million people every week.

Over 40 new Jobcentre Plus offices are already delivering to customers in London with the remainder to be rolled out in the next two years.

Employment Advisers

18. Mr. Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the role that placing employment advisers within GPs' surgeries might have on encouraging people into work. [209989]

Alan Johnson: I refer my hon. Friend to the oral answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Miss Begg).

Customer Services

19. Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on progress being made to improve customer service in those offices in his Department which work directly with the general public. [209990]

Malcolm Wicks: In recent years DWP has received massive investment to enable us to deliver an improved, modernised and more efficient service to our customers—particularly those staff dealing directly with the public. For example, we are putting an extra 10,000 staff in to front line roles. Roles like Jobcentre Plus Personal Advisers who offer personal, tailored services to help get individuals back into work and build on our, already, record levels of employment.

Disability Discrimination Act

21. Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what support is provided for people with disabilities taking action under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. [209992]

Maria Eagle: Under provisions in the Disability Rights Commission Act 1999, the DRC provides advice and information to disabled people about how they may enforce their rights under the Disability Discrimination Act. The Commission has powers to provide assistance in relation to proceedings in certain circumstances, and it operates a conciliation service for disputes under Parts 3 and 4 of the Act.

Disabled people taking action under the DDA may also obtain advice from sources such as disability organisations, trade unions and Citizens Advice Bureaux.

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