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23 Jun 2005 : Column 1149W—continued

RAF Innsworth

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his plans are for the site at RAF Innsworth. [6245]

Mr. Ingram: As part of the estate rationalisation work, Defence Estates will carefully examine any opportunities for alternative defence or public use of the Innsworth site. Unless an alternative defence use can be found, it is envisaged that the Innsworth site will close by the end of 2008 and be offered by Defence Estates for disposal.

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what service units (a) are and (b) are planned to be co-located at RAF Innsworth. [6250]

Mr. Ingram: Together with RAF Innsworth, HQ Personnel and Training Command and an element of the Armed Forces Personnel Administrative Agency are located on the RAF Innsworth site. There are no plans for any other units to be collocated at RAF Innsworth.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the budget is for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary for
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2005–06, broken down by (a) cost of running vessels at sea, (b) land based administration, (c) maintenance of ships and (d) other expenses; and if he will make a statement. [6168]

Mr. Ingram: CINC FLEET does not manage costs on the basis of platform types but on functions. The RFA does not therefore have a distinct, identifiable budget. However, the following indicative figures were used for planning purposes for the costs to FLEET and the DLO for 2005–06.
£ million
(a) Cost of Running Vessels at Sea
Direct Costs134
Indirect Costs (Depreciation and cost of capital)108
(b) Land Based Administration
(c) Maintenance of Ships
(d) Other Expenses
RFA Cadet Nautical School Training1


David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the Department has spent on taxis in each of the last five years. [6498]

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

Territorial Army

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will announce the changes to the Territorial Army under the future army structure. [6304]

Mr. Ingram: The future Territorial Army (TA) structure will ensure a more relevant, efficient and usable operational capability. There will be some adjustments to its capabilities to meet new requirements and ensure that it best supports the Regular Army on operations. These changes will provide TA manpower for new specialist areas, such as Intelligence, Engineers, Military Provost staff and Attack Helicopter support teams. The final structure is in the process of being worked through, in close consultation with the reserves community, and will be confirmed by the end of the year.

Uglow Farm, Edgworth

Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his review of the proposed development at Uglow Farm, Edgworth, is complete. [5946]

Mr. Touhig: Yes. Following a joint review of the case by the Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems Warton, the objection to the proposed wind turbines at Uglow Farm has been lifted.
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Blackburn and Darwen borough council and the developer have been informed.


Colonel Hamid Pourmand

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government are making to the Government of Iran on the trial on charges of apostasy of Colonel Hamid Pourmand. [6015]

Dr. Howells: We have pressed the Iranian authorities many times over Mr. Pourmand's detention, and called for his immediate release. European Union representatives raised his case most recently on 20 April, at our request. I understand that Mr. Pourmand continues to serve a three-year prison sentence for allegedly failing to inform his employers of his faith. Mr. Pourmand was acquitted of additional charges of apostasy on 28 May. According to press reports, the judge noted that he had received a large number of calls for these charges against Mr. Pourmand to be dropped. I will continue to follow his situation closely.

Departmental Relocation

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of his Department's posts (a) have been relocated and (b) are under consideration for relocation from London to the deprived areas of the south-east. [6256]

Mr. Straw: My Department is implementing the Lyons Review recommendations to relocate 450 jobs out of London, to Hanslope Park, Buckinghamshire, by 2010. This will not exclude consideration of relocating other posts to relatively deprived areas in the south-east and other parts of the UK. So far, my department has not identified any post suitable for transfer to deprived areas in the south-east.

Diplomatic Cars

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the makes of car used by (a) governors, (b) ambassadors and (c) consuls; and what his policy is on using UK-built cars. [6330]

Mr. Straw: Procurement of vehicles for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is based on achieving value for money, normally by competition and in a manner which conforms with appropriate UK regulations and EU directives. Within that approach, we prefer British missions abroad to buy British cars, where they are readily available and represent value for money.

The FCO has negotiated framework contracts with Jaguar, Land Rover and MG Rover. Currently 88 per cent. of our flag vehicles are built in the UK. A detailed listing of vehicles against the categories is shown in the following table.
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Embassies/High commissionsConsuls generalGovernorsTotal
Land Rover6012274
Rolls Royce22

Jerusalem (Homes' Demolition)

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of Israel on the proposed demolition of homes in the el-Bustan area of Silwan Village in East Jerusalem; and if he will make a statement. [6174]

Dr. Howells: We were disturbed to hear of plans by Israel to demolish 88 homes in Silwan in East Jerusalem. We raised our concerns with the Israeli authorities. We are encouraged to hear that there is now no intention to issue orders to demolish these homes.


Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the numeric strength of the Taliban in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Pakistan. [6789]

Dr. Howells: It is not easy to distinguish former Taliban and their sympathisers from other groups hostile to the current political process in Afghanistan. We believe that at any given time the number of former Taliban actively involved in insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan is in the very low thousands. But the remoteness and geography of the Pakistani border region with Afghanistan, the difficulty of maintaining border controls, and the movement of people across the border, makes it difficult to give an accurate assessment.



Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effect of the existence of aggravating factors in an assault on the willingness of the prosecuting agency to prosecute. [5163]

Paul Goggins [holding answer 20 June 2005]: The Government have not conducted any research into the effects of aggravating factors in assaults on the willingness of prosecuting agencies to prosecute.

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