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22 Mar 2005 : Column 787W—continued

Scottish Regiments

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 21 February, Official Report, columns 254–55W, on Scottish regiments, who is likely to carry out the study on the future of the Scottish Regimental museums; and when he expects the studies to be completed. [218594]

Mr. Caplin [holding answer 28 February 2005]: A study into the future of the Army's Corps and Regimental Headquarters, which might also cover issues such as the locations of the Regimental Headquarters in the light of the restructuring of the Army and the Infantry, is under consideration but no decision has yet been taken.

It will ultimately fall to the MoD and the trustees of the museums to consider their future. The Scottish Division is also looking at a range of regimental issues arising from the formation of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, including the implications for museums.

Sikh Employees

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's policy is on the wearing of the Kirpan by Sikh employees. [221668]

Mr. Caplin: The Ministry of Defence and armed forces are committed to promoting equality and diversity and recognise and respect different religious beliefs. Sikh personnel in the armed forces and MOD Civil Service are therefore allowed to wear the Kirpan.
22 Mar 2005 : Column 788W


Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 15 March 2005, Official Report, column 189W, on Trident, if he will estimate the number of potential casualties which would arise from a malfunction of a Trident nuclear warhead at the base on the Clyde. [223301]

Mr. Hoon: It is highly unlikely that a malfunction of a nuclear warhead resulting in a nuclear explosion would occur at the Naval Base on the Clyde. There are no plans to make assessments of potential casualties.


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any samples for the battledress being produced for the Cut and Sew contract which have been tested have been manufactured in Belgium. [222280]

Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 22 February 2005, Official Report, column 599W. The fabric samples tested for the combat clothing being produced under the Cut and Sew contract were manufactured in China.

Wind Turbines

Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the objections of Defence Estates to the proposal to erect two 100 metre high wind turbines at Uglow Farm, Edgworth; and what the evidential basis is for the claim that these turbines may affect the efficiency of BAE Systems radars at Warton Aerodrome. [222420]

Mr. Caplin: An initial assessment of the proposed development at Uglow Farm, Edgworth was carried out last year at the pre-planning stage. This was unfortunately based on a misinterpretation of incomplete co-ordinates provided to the Department. Now that this error has been recognised, the developer has been informed and technical advisers are carrying out an urgent review of the proposal using the correct data. The true location of the proposed wind farm is some distance from that originally assumed, but it would be premature to say whether the radar at Warton will be affected.

I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as the results of the review are known, and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Working Time Regulations

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officials working in ministerial private offices in the Department have worked more than a 48 hour week at any time in the last 12 months for which figures are available; how many of those had signed a waiver under working time regulations; and what percentage these figures represented of the total in each case. [204146]

Mr. Caplin: All officials working in the Ministry of Defence ministerial private offices have worked more than one 48 hour week in the last 12 months. Of the individuals involved, just over 10 per cent. had signed a waiver.
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The Working Time Regulations provide workers with the protection of a limit of an average of 48 hours a week working time. This is not an absolute cap of 48 hours in any one week. This average is normally calculated over a 17-week reference period, although this can be longer in certain situations (26 weeks) and can be extended by agreement (up to 52 weeks). Workers may choose to work more than 48 hours per week over the reference period by signing an opt-out agreement, but employers cannot force a worker to sign an opt-out, and workers cannot be subject to detriment for refusing to sign an opt-out.



Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs with which external consultancy companies contracts are held by his Department. [222944]

Mr. Lammy: My Department collects information on the use of external consultancies on an annual basis at the end of the financial year.

Information relating to current consultancy contracts is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The companies that provided us with consultancy services during 2003–04 are listed as follows:

Companies used by DCA/Court Service for provision of consultancy 2003–04

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Immigration and Asylum

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the cost of providing legal aid for immigration and asylum cases was in 2004 in Coventry. [222945]

Mr. Lammy: The Legal Services Commission contracts with suppliers in Coventry and elsewhere to provide a range of services throughout England and Wales. It is therefore not possible to identify precisely the amount paid for services provided exclusively in Coventry. However, the Legal Services Commission estimates £1.6 million was spent on immigration and asylum cases to suppliers in the Coventry area during 2003–04.

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