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Naval Repairs and Refits

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent in each of HM Dockyard on repairs and refits of warships and auxiliaries in each year since 1997. [339]

Mr. Ingram: A record of the Department's expenditure in each financial year (FY) since 1997 is set out in the table.
£ million


n/a = Not available

The comparatively low figures for Portsmouth reflect the decision taken in 1992 that it would concentrate on repairs and support to surface ships based there. Devonport and Rosyth retained full dockyard capability to undertake major refits and repairs, and following a decision in 1993, submarine refit work is now concentrated at Devonport.

The data relating to FYs 1997–98 to 2001–02 has been taken from the Statements of Ship Refitting and Repair Activity, which were produced annually. These statements were discontinued when the Warship Support Agency was formed in 2002, as key elements of the Agency's performance were published in its audited Annual Report and Accounts.

The figures for FY 2002–03 and beyond, which are not held centrally, include the cost of work specified in the contract; work that cannot be specified with any certainty at the start of a contract (emergent work); and equipment which has been upgraded to improve capability and performance. They exclude costs relating to materials supplied by the Department and to the overhaul of any spares that can be repaired and re-used in other vessels. Costs directly attributable to the Warship Support Modernisation Initiative (WSMI) contracts at the naval bases have also been excluded.

In FY 2001–02 the Department moved from a cash accounting system to resource-based accounting. This means that figures for the years up to and including FY
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2001–02 reflect cash payments made in each of those years. However, from FY 2002–03 onwards, the figures reflect the value of the work completed in each year, rather than the year in which payment was made, which may be different.

Nuclear Explosion (Urban Area)

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the (a) physical, (b) environmental and (c) health impacts of the detonation of a single trident nuclear warhead in an urban area. [272]

John Reid: The impacts of the detonation of a nuclear weapon would depend on a wide range of variable factors. These include the yield and design of the weapon; the accuracy of the delivery system; the nature and construction of the target; the geographical characteristics of the surrounding terrain; geological conditions in the target area; the height of weapon burst; and the weather conditions at the target.

RAF Innsworth

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of RAF Innsworth. [68]

Mr. Ingram: RAF Innsworth is the Headquarters of RAF Personnel and Training Command and it is currently being considered as part of the Process and Organisation Review into the collocation of the two RAF Headquarters. An announcement will be made shortly.

Scottish Infantry (Recruitment)

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recruitment targets were established for each of the Scottish infantry regiments for (a) 2001, (b) 2002 and (c) each month since January 2003; and what the level of recruitment was in each case. [348]

Mr. Touhig: Recruitment targets are not set for individual Infantry regiments.

The Army Training and Recruiting Agency (ATRA), which is responsible for the recruitment and training of soldiers, recruits Infantry soldiers to the three Infantry Career Employment Groups (CEGs). These are: Line (which includes all the regiments in the Scottish Division), Parachute and the Guards.

The following table shows the number of soldiers enlisted and the annual enlistment target for the three Infantry CEGs for each financial year since 2001–02. Monthly targets are not set.

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Shoeburyness/Foulness (Explosions)

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has received concerning explosions emanating from Shoeburyness and Foulness Island between 13.45 and 14.00 on Monday, 16 May; and if he will make a statement. [101]

Mr. Touhig: Three batteries were active at Shoeburyness during the time in question. One was conducting a trial involving repetitive gun firings. The other two were engaged in the destruction of life-expired ordnance.



Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Government have held with (a) the Russian Government and (b) the Chinese Government regarding the placing of the situation in Burma on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council. [651]

Ian Pearson: The British Government have not had any recent discussions on Burma with the Russian Government. We regularly raise our concerns with China about the situation in Burma, most recently as part of the EU-China Ministerial Troika held in Beijing on 11–12 May 2005. At present there is no consensus for bringing Burma before the United Nations Security Council. But there is occasional informal discussion of the situation in Burma among Security Council members, and we will remain in close touch with these partners and other interested UN member states. We are also in close and frequent contact with the UN Secretary-General's special envoy for Burma and his staff.

EU (UK Presidency)

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which events to be held during the UK presidency of the EU Scottish Executive Ministers have been invited to attend. [349]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Ministerial participation at events being held during the United Kingdom's presidency of the European Union has not yet been finalised. Each Government Department will decide whom to invite to the UK presidency events they are organising.
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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which events to be held during the UK presidency of the EU will be held in Scotland. [350]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: At present there are 30 confirmed events taking place in Scotland during the United Kingdom's presidency of the European Union. A list of these events can be found on the Scottish Executive website at


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will institute a departmental inquiry into the Iraq Oil Programme for Food (a) to examine whether there was British involvement and (b) to assess the likely impact on relations with (i) Russia, (ii) France and (iii) China. [58]

Dr. Howells: There are no plans to institute a departmental inquiry into the Iraq Oil for Food Programme. We are following closely the work of the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) established by the UN Secretary-General in April 2004 to investigate allegations of corruption and mismanagement of the UN's Iraq Oil for Food Programme. We support the inquiry and are co-operating fully with it. So far, the IIC has published two interim reports and we expect a final report this summer. Once the IIC has completed its investigations the Government will judge what further action might be appropriate as a result of any findings against British nationals or entities.

We have no evidence to suggest that any findings relating to the role of the British Government at the UN Security Council, or the involvement of British nationals or entities in the Oil for Food Programme, will impact significantly on UK relations with Russia, France or China.

As permanent members of the UN Security Council we worked closely with the Governments of Russia, France and China during the lifetime of the Oil for Food Programme and continue to do so on a wide range of issues.

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