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Following the decision by the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland, in consultation with the Chief Constable of the PSNI, that the 1st Battalion King's Own Scottish Borderers will not be replaced when they complete their tour in August 2006, a study is under way to look at the wider implications of this change, including the implications for our estate.
13 Jul 2005 : Column 1080W
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the (a) Royal Navy and (b) Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels which have been given thereduced support status referred to in paragraph 2.9 of the National Audit Office report on military readiness. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 7 July 2005]: The process of designating ships to receive the reduced level of support referred to by the National Audit Office enables the Royal Navy to maintain its ability to mount a medium scale operation at short notice and maximise its ability to undertake priority peacetime tasks. The Royal Navy ships placed on reduced support status are as follows:
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) FV430 series, (b) Scimitar, (c) Sultan, (d) Samson, (e) Samaritan, (f) Spartan, (g) Striker, (h) Sabre, (i) Scorpion and (j) Saxon vehicles are in working order. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which minehunters are to be fitted with the very shallow water unmanned underwater vehicle system (REMUS); what the in-service date is; whether all minehunters will be fitted with this system; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The very shallow water unmanned vehicle system (REMUS) is a man portable system. It is not intended to be fitted to any minehunters, although it will be possible to deploy it from these, and other, vessels. The system is expected to be in service in 2006.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his oral answer of 4 July 2005, Official Report, column 6, to the hon. Member for Sunderland South (Mr. Mullin) on the nuclear deterrent, when he expects to reply substantively to the question tabled by the hon. Member for New Forest East on 21 June, ref 7290. 
Mr. Ingram: The majority of ordnance stored by the Ministry of Defence equates to 183,611m 3 held by the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency (DSDA) at the following locations: Defence Munitions Centres Beith, Crombie, Kineton, Glen Douglas, Gosport, Longtown and Eastriggs and Plymouth.
Ordnance is also held on Royal Navy vessels, Royal Fleet Auxiliary supply vessels, with Field Army units, airfields and individual barracks. The information on these quantities is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the (a) average and (b) maximum time was in which Ministers in his Department wrote to hon. Members following a commitment to do so in reply to parliamentary questions in the last Session; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) on how many occasions in each of the last eight years Ministers in his Department have not written to hon. Members in reply to parliamentary questions following an undertaking to do so; and if he will make a statement. 
The Ministry of Defence is currently in the process of building a new parliamentary business database which will store much more comprehensive information on parliamentary questions and ministerial correspondence received by the Department. It is hoped that this will be in operation by the end of the summer recess.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what procedures his Department has in place to (a) monitor and (b) ensure the fulfilment of commitments made by Ministers to write to hon. Members in reply to parliamentary questions; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) whether his Department has a set time period after which it considers commitments made by Ministers to write to hon. Members in reply to parliamentary questions to have lapsed; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what guidelines his Department has in place with regard to following up commitments made by Ministers to write to hon. Members in reply to parliamentary questions; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Touhig: Defence Ministers strive to answer all parliamentary questions within the timescales set by Parliament. The Ministry of Defence's parliamentary branch monitors the progress of all parliamentary questions tabled to Defence Ministers. Every effort is made to use I will write" responses sparingly and to follow them up as soon as possible.
The Ministry of Defence follows the Cabinet Office guidance on answering parliamentary questions and guidance from the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons on the handling of I will write" responses. Where, regrettably, responses remained outstanding when the House was dissolved for the General Election at the end of the last Parliament, the parliamentary question was considered to have lapsed. It is open to the Member concerned to re-table the question.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Hendon (Mr. Dismore) of 27 June 2005, Official Report, column 1209W, on Prisoners of War (Compensation), what account Ministers took of the document in formulating their advice to hon. Members. 
Mr. Touhig: As I made clear in that answer, the document was not written in connection with the formulation of policy on the Ex Gratia Scheme and thus was not relevant to the formulation of advice given to hon. Members.
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