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Mr. Ingram [holding answer 7 July 2005]: The Royal Navy is expected to be able to fulfil its operational commitments during the current period of focussing logistic support on those ships undertaking high priority tasks or being held at high readiness for operations. Determining the most efficient and effective use of available resources is a routine element of departmental planning, and specific decisions are not normally the subject of special notification to the House.
Mr. Touhig: It is not the policy of the Ministry of Defence to 'mothball' sites against undefined future defence uses. The only exception would be in the case ofArmy Barracks, where a site might be vacant for a few months as a result of unit rotations to overseas locations. There are currently no sites in this category.
All possible alternate defence requirements will be considered for a site before it is declared surplus. Once declared surplus a site will be disposed of as quickly as possible to ensure it is bought back into productive use at the earliest opportunity.
Where disposal is anticipated to take some time, buildings may be wind and weatherproofed to minimise deterioration. It is also our policy, where possible, to encourage temporary commercial use of vacant sites pending disposal.
Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 16 November 2001, Official Report, columns 95556W, to the hon. Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne). The number of armed forces personnel (Army, Navy and Air Force) stationed in Northern Ireland since then is set out in the following table:
|As at 31 October||Number of troops|
The General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland (GOC NI) also has under his command troops that are rear based in Great Britain that can be called forward to
18 Jul 2005 : Column 1322W
the Province as and when required. In addition, other troops can be made available to the GOC NI from LandCommand if required, for example during the marching season.
|Arm/service||Establishment||Strength||Percentage of establishment|
|The Household Cavalry/Royal Armoured Corps||5,300||5,670||107|
|Royal Regiment of Artillery||7,580||7,510||99|
|Corps of Royal Engineers||10,020||8,870||88|
|Royal Corps of Signals||8,580||8,780||102|
|Royal Highland Fusiliers||(8)||600||(8)|
|Kings Own Scottish Borderers||(8)||580||(8)|
|Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders||(8)||590||(8)|
|Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment||(8)||1,330||(8)|
|Royal Regiment of Fusiliers||(8)||1,300||(8)|
|Royal Anglian Regiment||(8)||1,320||(8)|
|Kings Own Royal Border Regiment||(8)||620||(8)|
|1 Prince of Wales' Own Regiment||(8)||660||(8)|
|Queen's Lancashire Regiment||(8)||660||(8)|
|Duke of Wallington's Regiment||(8)||670||(8)|
|Devonshire and Dorset Regiment||(8)||620||(8)|
|Royal Welch Fusiliers||(8)||660||(8)|
|Royal Regiment of Wales||(8)||590||(8)|
|Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment||(8)||640||(8)|
|Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment||(8)||620||(8)|
|The Light Infantry Regiment||(8)||1,320||(8)|
|Royal Green Jackets||(8)||1,290||(8)|
|The Parachute Regiment||(8)||2,080||(8)|
|The Royal Irish Regiment (General Service)||(8)||660||(8)|
|Army Air Corps||2,160||1,930||89|
|Royal Army Chaplains Department||160||140||87|
|The Royal Logistics Corps||16,390||15,570||96|
|Royal Army Medical Corps||3,280||2,780||86|
|Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers||9,580||9,760||102|
|Adjutant General's Corps (Provost Branch)||2,020||2,020||100|
|Adjutant General's Corps (Staff and Personnel Support Branch)||4,400||4,570||104|
|Adjutant General's Corps (Educational and Training Services Branch)||330||340||103|
|Adjutant General's Corps (Army Legal Service)||120||90||72|
|Royal Army Veterinary Corps||200||190||94|
|Small Arms School Corps||160||150||97|
|Royal Army Dental Corps||440||370||84|
|Army Physical Training Corps||440||430||98|
|General Service Corps||(8)||(8)||(8)|
|Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps||1,100||820||74|
|Corps of Army Music||920||980||106|
|Long Service List||480||610||127|
|Total trained regular Army and FTRS||100,770||98,940||98|
|Full-time trained Army||104,170||102,260||98|
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence who meets the cost of the new uniforms and mess-dress of existing personnel up to the date of changeover for the future (a) Mercia, (b) Yorkshire and (c) Scottish regiments. 
The answer I gave stated that officers received a tax-free allowance to enable them to maintain their uniform and dress. It has now come to my attention that officers in fact receive an annual tax-credit, known as income tax relief for maintenance of uniform", rather than an allowance as such. This means that a certain proportion of their salary is not subject to income tax. For dismounted male officers below the rank of colonel, and therefore all personnel belonging to those regiments identified in your original question, this annual rate amounts to £589.29 of earnings against which income tax is not paid.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the mascot of the (a) Queen's Lancashire Regiment and (b) King's Own Borderers is; and what the value of silverware held by each regiment is. 
The silverware of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment and the King's Own Royal Border Regiment belongs to the regiments themselves. The funding for the purchase, maintenance and insurance of the silverware comes from non-public funds and is therefore a private matter for the trustees of the regiments.
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