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14 Jul 2005 : Column 1251W—continued

DEFENCE

Co-operative Engagement Capabilities

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to fit the Co-operative Engagement Capability to each Royal Navy ship; and if he will make a statement. [10783]

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.

Equipment Sourcing (China)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which items of (a) Army, (b) Navy and (c) RAF kit are sourced in China; and if he will make a statement. [11878]

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.

Food Budget

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. [10719]

Mr. Ingram: For the period 1997–2001 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 2002–04 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.

Iraq

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many 16 and 17-year-old soldiers are serving in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [11879]

Mr. Touhig: 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. [11371]

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:

Medal Office

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost was of establishing the new Medal Office at RAF Innsworth. [11482]

Mr. Touhig: As at end of June 2005 the cost of establishing the Ministry of Defence Medal Office at RAF Innsworth was some £601,000. It is possible there will be some further staff related costs.

Northern Ireland

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many operational Army bases there were in Northern Ireland in each of the last 10 years. [11657]

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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DateOpen sitesClosed sites
1 September 1994(32)106
22 December 1999(33)7234
31May2004(34)4660
11 July2005(35)4066


(32)Number of sites at announcement of 1stIRA Ceasefire.
(33)Number of sites open/closed at publication of Government's Security Strategy Paper.
(34)Number of sites open/closed as detailed in Second Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission.
(35)Latest position on open/closed sites.


Nuclear Deterrence

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. [9804]

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.

Recruitment

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on recruiting civilians for the UK regular forces in each quarter since 2002. [7528]

Mr. Touhig: The total Naval Service and RAF costs of recruiting from civilian life since financial year 2002–03 were as follows:
£ million

Q1Q2Q3Q4Total cost
Naval Service
2002–035.8908.1007.0648.87329.927
2003–046.5057.3198.4668.89231.182
2004–056.3539.4777.7418.68332.254
RAF
2002–036.7177.1428.3948.75731.010
2003–047.3039.8639.0419.35635.563
2004–056.2639.1328.42012.25136.066

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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£ million
2002–0362.594
2003–0466.154
2004–0574.727

The expenditure includes:

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. [10283]

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.

The Army does not market any recruitment incentives for the Infantry.


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