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21 Feb 2005 : Column 115W—continued

Departmental Policies

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to Pendle constituency, the effects on Pendle of his Department's policies and activities since 2nd May 1997. [214976]

Mr. Caplin: The Ministry of Defence has a small presence within Pendle, in the form of an Army Cadet Force centre at Barnoldswick, this has not undergone any significant changes since 1997.

Since 2 May 1997, the Department has placed a number of contracts with companies based within Pendle, most notably with Euravia Engineering & Supply Co of Barnoldswick and TUF Tools Ltd. of Colne.
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Departmental Staff and Facilities (Scotland)

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated human resources bill associated with his Department's facilities in Scotland is for the 2004–05 financial year. [215059]

Mr. Caplin: Estimates of personnel costs by region will be published in the Country and Regional Analysis 2005 as part of the Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis, which is due to be published in May 2005.

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many armed forces personnel are based in Scotland; [215061]

(2) how many armed forces civilian support staff are based in Scotland. [215060]

Mr. Caplin: The Defence Analytical Services Agency is currently reviewing the source data and process by which UK location statistics are compiled. New figures will not be available until the review is complete. The outcome of this review is due to be announced later this month.

There are 6,980 civilian personnel based in Scotland at 1 January 2005.

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated capital value is of his Department's buildings and facilities based in Scotland. [215062]

Mr. Caplin: The value of the defence estate in Scotland is £1.25 billion, excluding property in the course of disposal. This figure, taken from the 2002 quinquennial revaluation of the estate which is the most recent available, is an asset valuation.

The estate is currently being revalued on a rolling programme, which will be complete in 2007.

Electoral Registration

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British service personnel are serving overseas; and how many of these have submitted overseas service declarations to their electoral registration officer (a) in 2004 and (b) to date in 2005. [215285]

Mr. Caplin: As at October last year, when data was last collated centrally, there were approximately 42,000 service personnel based permanently overseas or engaged on operations.

Service personnel overseas may opt to register to vote as a service voter or overseas voters. It is not possible to identify service voters separately from overseas voters. Neither it possible to identify separately service personnel registered in the UK as ordinary voters, nor whether service registered voters are based in the UK or abroad.

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons the advice contained in the Army Families Advice Bureau Factsheet 7.1 on the Ministry of Defence website states that a serviceman only needs to complete F/Vote/33 once during his career unless there is a change of circumstances; and if he will make a statement. [215488]

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Mr. Caplin [holding answer 9 February 2005]: The latest instruction to service personnel on voter registration options was Joint Service Defence Council Instruction issued on 28 January 2005. It was placed on the MOD's internal website, reinforced with the release of a Defence Internal Brief, signal and distribution of an information leaflets to all units, and TV and radio coverage on British Forces Broadcasting Service. A press brief was also offered to in-house MOD publications.

I can however confirm that out of date information remained on the Army Welfare Service information pages. This was an oversight which was corrected immediately when it came to our attention.

European Armaments Research and Military Capabilities Agency

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the objectives are of the Government's policy on the European Armaments Research and Military Capabilities Agency. [215771]

Mr. Ingram: The Government are a strong supporter of the European Defence Agency, as it is now known. The Agency will drive forward work on improving European defence capabilities by encouraging and supporting the efforts of individual EU member states.

By rationalising and harmonising capability requirements, and linking those directly to industrial and research efforts, the Agency will significantly strengthen both the European Security and Defence Policy and Europe's contribution to NATO.

Falcon Communications System

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to make a decision on the procurement of the Falcon secure communications system. [214607]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 31 January 2005, Official Report, column 730W to the hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope).

Falklands Anniversary

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what talks have taken place between (a) Falklands veterans, (b) Falklands representatives and Government and (c) the British Legion and his Department on marking the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War. [216234]

Mr. Caplin: I met the Chairman of the South Atlantic Medal Association (82) on 1 February to discuss the form commemorations might take. The Falkland Islands Government has recently set up a committee to consider the 25th anniversary of the war in 2007 and Ministry of Defence officials will be liaising with that committee through the Falkland Islands Government office in London. The Department has had no talks with The Royal British Legion on this subject.

Harrier Aircraft

Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to replace Harrier jets deployed in Afghanistan with Jaguars. [216318]

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Mr. Ingram: There are no plans to replace the Harriers based at Kandahar with Jaguars.

Infantry Regiments

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2005, Official Report, column 730W, on infantry regiments, what other options were proposed as names for the new regiment; and for what reason the name does not include the word Royal. [216056]

Mr. Ingram: As has been made clear in previous responses, the process of restructuring the infantry has been worked through by the Army in consultation with the divisions and regiments concerned. As part of this process, infantry divisions were asked to suggest options for new regimental titles. 'The Royal Lancashire Regiment' was put forward by the King's Division as an option for the new regimental title. However, of the options put forward by the Division, the proposed title of the 'King's, Lancashire and Border Regiment' was judged by the Army Board to best reflect all the antecedent regiments from which it will be drawn. This was felt to be particularly important because of the fact that this reorganisation involved the merging of three previously distinct regiments, into a two-battalion regiment. That the word 'Royal' is not included in the new title should not be taken as an omission. Rather it simply reflects the fact that, of the options put forward by the Division, the one settled upon by the Army Board happened not to contain the word 'Royal'.


Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the financial value of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines' equipment which remains in the possession of the Iranian authorities. [215486]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 9 February 2005]: The estimated financial value of the equipment held by the Iranian authorities is just over £130,000.

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