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Mr. Ingram: We are conducting an assessment of the options for providing the Co-operative Engagement Capability. Our studies will be considering the numbers and types of platforms across the joint land, air and maritime environments which may contribute to providing the capability, and no decisions have yet been taken.
Mr. Ingram: It is assumed my hon. Friend refers specifically to clothing as opposed to other items of equipment used by the Armed Forces. The Defence Logistics Organisation, which is responsible for the procurement of clothing for the Armed Forces has not let any contracts for clothing directly to Chinese companies, although contractors have let sub-contracts to Chinese based companies.
Clothing items for use by the Army, Navy and RAF that have been supplied under sub-contract from China to date, are jackets, trousers, smocks, coveralls, underwear, shirts, one item of headwear and one of footwear, in the main these are for tri-service use.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the armed forces' food budget was sourced from UK farmers (a) in 1997 and (b) in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Ingram: For the period 19972001 the annual food budget for the British Armed Forces Worldwide Food Supply was approximately £70 million. An average of £30 million was spent per year on meat, fresh produce, dairy and eggs of which 50 per cent. by value was purchased from UK farmers and growers.
During the period 200204 the annual food budget increased to approximately £94 million. Of around £33 million spent on meat, fresh produce, dairy and eggs, 47 per cent. by value, was purchased from UK farmers and growers.
It is not British Army policy to deploy soldiers under the age of 18 on overseas operations. Detailed operational information for non-UK forces is a matter for the coalition authorities.
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Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions in each month between July 2001 and February 2002 (a) coalition aircraft and (b) UK aircraft patrolling the southern No-Fly Zone in Iraq (i) detected violations of the No-Fly Zone, (ii) detected a direct threat to coalition aircraft and (iii) released ordnance, broken down by (A) amount and (B) type of ordnance released; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: British and American aircraft patrolling the No-Fly Zones in order to monitor compliance with UN SCR 688 were regularly threatened by Iraq's air-defence system, and subjected to anti-aircraft fire and surface-to-air missile attacks. Between July 2001 and February 2002, the coalition response was as follows:
In July 2001, there were two aircraft violations in the Southern No-Fly Zone, and a further 23 ground-based threats detected. Five US air-to-ground (AGM) missiles were released. In August 2001, there were two aircraft violations and at least a further nine ground-based threats identified. 10 UK Paveway laser-guided bombs and 28 US Glide Bomb Unit (GBU) and AGM missiles were released. In September 2001, there was one aircraft violation and a further 23 threats identified. Seven UK Paveways and 27 US GBU and AGM missiles were released. In October 2001, there were eight threats identified. Two UK Paveways and 16 US GBU missiles were released. In November 2001, six threats were identified. Two US GBUs were released. There were three threats identified but no ordnance was released in December 2001. In January 2002, there were 11 threats identified and 15 US GBUs dropped in response. In February 2002, there were at least two threats recorded but there was no coalition ordnance dropped in the Southern No-Fly Zone.
All UK operations in support of the No-Fly Zones were carried out in lawful-self defence, directed at targets which were an actual or imminent threat to coalition aircraft or were contributing to such a threat, and directed only against elements of the Iraqi integrated air-defence system.
Mr. Ingram: The information requested on the number of operational Army bases in Northern Ireland is not readily available broken down by each of the last 10 years and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
However, the following information on military sites (military bases, training areas, joint PSNI/military bases, communications sites and observation towers) is available at the dates set out in the following table:
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|Date||Open sites||Closed sites|
|1 September 1994(32)||106|||
|22 December 1999(33)||72||34|
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will meet Mr. Robert McNamara to discuss the contribution the UK may make to nuclear disarmament and nuclear war proliferation; and if he will make a statement. 
John Reid: I have no appointment to meet Mr. Robert McNamara. The UK has a very strong record on nuclear disarmament and we have reduced the explosive power of our nuclear forces by over 70 per cent. since the end of the Cold War. We are committed to the global elimination of nuclear weapons. We are most concerned about nuclear proliferation and active in efforts to combat it. This is demonstrated by the negotiations we, France and Germany, in association with the EU, are conducting with Iran concerning its nuclear programme, and by the assistance we and the US gave to Libya in implementing its announcement of December 2003 to abandon its nuclear weapon and other WMD programmes.
The Army's recruitment costs are not held centrally on a quarterly basis; details could be provided only at a disproportionate cost. Nevertheless the annual amount spent on recruitment over the same period was:
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Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of (a) £8,000 golden hellos and (b) other incentives on recruitment to the Scottish infantry regiments since January; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Touhig: The Golden Hello and Army Vocational Bursary Scheme were launched in October 2003. The scheme aims to encourage entrants into selected Army Operational Pinch Points in the Royal Engineers, Royal Logistic Corps, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Intelligence Corps and Army Medical Services (AMS). Awards range from £500 to £8,000. As at 6 July 2005, the Army had awarded 247 golden hellos at attestation. These awards, which are only available to soldier entrants, are paid on the completion of Phase 2 training and all candidates must complete the minimum four-year engagement. To date the scheme has not been as successful as envisaged and it is currently under review.
Other awards, in the form of Scholarships and Undergraduate Bursaries, are open to officer entrants but golden hellos are available only for professionally qualified applicants for the Army Medical Services.
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