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9 Mar 2005 : Column 1820W—continued

Military Abuse (Iraq)

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what pension rights the three men recently convicted of abuse of Iraqi civilians will have; and if he will make a statement. [219795]

Mr. Caplin: The Armed Forces Pension Scheme has a provision to reduce the award of pension benefits in exceptional cases of severe misconduct. However, in common with other contracted out occupational pension schemes within the public sector, the Scheme will be obliged to award pensions at least equivalent to the minimum amount they would be entitled to if they had contributed to, and subsequently received benefits under the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme.

Personal data such as an individual's pension entitlement is a matter between employer and employee.


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) trained strength and (b) establishment is of each of the parachute regiments. [219050]

Mr. Caplin: The information requested is shown in the table.
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Strength and establishment of the Three Battalions of the Parachute Regiment as at 1 January 2005

1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment570580
2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment540580
3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment530580

1. The figures quoted are as at 1 January 2005 and are for UK Regular Trained Army Officers and Soldiers only and therefore exclude TA, Mobilised Reserves, Full-Time Reserve Service, Gurkhas and Home Service Battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment.
2. The Establishment figures include only the infantry posts and exclude attached personnel of other Arms and Services such as chefs, clerks etc.
3. The strength figures do not include officers and soldiers in the Parachute Regiment serving outside the battalion, or personnel from other cap badges attached to the battalion. The officer element excludes personnel with the rank of colonel and above.
4. We cannot be precise about the strength in each battalion as the means by which these data are collected does not allow for separate attribution. The split is derived from an estimate based on the strength by Unit Identity Number.
5. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.


Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the male to female ratio is in the Royal Air Force. [212361]

Mr. Caplin: At 1 January 2005, the ratio of male to female personnel was 7.3:1, as 12 per cent. of the total strength was female.

Figures on strength by gender are published monthly in Tri-Service Publication (TSP) 1 Strength, Intake and Outflow of UK Regular Forces".

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many new recruits to the Royal Air Force there have been per year on average over the past five years. [212362]

Mr. Caplin: The intake from civil life to the regular RAF for the past five years is as follows:
Annual average3,750

1. Figures show all intake to UK Regular Forces including re-enlistments and rejoined Reservists.
2. Figures are for UK Regular Forces (including both trained and untrained personnel) and therefore exclude Full-Time Reserve Service personnel and mobilised Reservists.
3. All figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Royal Air Force's recruitment targets were met in the financial year 2003–04. [212366]

Mr. Caplin: No. The table shows that against the set targets, 93 per cent. of officers and non-commissioned aircrew and 89 per cent. of other ranks were recruited and entered training.
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TargetNumbers entering training
Officers and non-commissioned aircrew564524
Other ranks4,0253,581

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for recruitment to the Royal Air Force. [212380]

Mr. Caplin: Recruiting will continue to ensure the future Royal Air Force has the correct balance of skills and experience. However, the Service is reducing its recruitment targets by some 4,000 (to around 6,000 in total) over the next three financial years as part of the RAF manpower drawdown, announced by my right hon. Friend, the Minister for the Armed Forces on 9 December 2004, Official Report, column 103WS, in order to minimise redundancies.

RAF Menwith Hill

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the policing arrangements are at RAF Menwith Hill; how many people have been arrested there; and what discussions the local police have had with demonstrators on peaceful protest. [220211]

Mr. Caplin: The Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) exercise full constabulary powers, in an armed and unarmed capacity, at RAF Menwith Hill. MDP also contribute to the effective safety and security of the station, its residents, employees, and passing members of the public, by carrying out external patrols and joint Counter Terrorist Unit armed patrols with North Yorkshire police, to prevent unauthorised entry and interference with the station and its mission, reducing the potential for unlawful activity.

In the last three years (March to February) the MDP have made the following arrests:

Larger organised demonstrations involve communication between the police, the demonstration organisers and other interested parties in the community; with North Yorkshire police taking the lead outside the establishment. Close liaison with the organisers is maintained and meetings based on intelligence led strategies are held to ensure effective co-operation and enable peaceful protest.

MDP liaise with the organisers of the smaller more regular demonstrations, when those demonstrations take place. A supervisory officer in charge of the police officers present at the demonstration, conducts a briefing to protesters, detailing the intentions of the police to allow a lawful and safe demonstration, while ensuring that others in the area are permitted to go about their lawful activities without interference. The briefing also advises that where unlawful activity takes place appropriate police action will be taken. Any concerns raised by the protesters are, wherever possible examined and resolved.
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Service Accommodation

Mr. Wilkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many additional hirings from private sector landlords his Department expects to take on in the first year of his policy to house Armed Forces personnel of the same sex living together in partnerships in service accommodation. [218021]

Mr. Caplin: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave him on 24 February 2005, Official Report, column 806W.


Attorney-General (Iraq)

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether Lord Irvine was involved in (a) framing, (b) drafting and (c) drawing up the parliamentary answer given by the Attorney-General on 17 March 2003 on Iraq. [220626]

Mr. Leslie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General, to the hon. Gentleman for Stone (Mr. Cash), on 1 March 2005, Official Report, column 1074W.

EU Constitution

Mr. Drew: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs when he expects to announce what public monies will be made available to assist promotion of the forthcoming referendum vote on the EU constitution; and whether expenditure will be granted to both sides of the debate. [220654]

Mr. Leslie: Under the terms of the European Union Bill the Electoral Commission is given powers to encourage voting at the referendum. It will be for the Electoral Commission in due course to present an estimate for the cost of that activity to the Speaker's Committee.

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 provides for the Electoral Commission to designate one permitted participant to represent those campaigning for each outcome of the question. Where the Electoral Commission have made such designations, each designated organisation will be eligible for the following forms of assistance:

The same level of financial and non-cash assistance will be available to each designated organisation.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs if he will undertake research to assess what the implications would be of the introduction of a minimum turn-out threshold for the referendum on the Constitutional Treaty for the European Union. [220715]

9 Mar 2005 : Column 1824W

Mr. Leslie: The Government have no plans to undertake research on this issue.

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