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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effectiveness of 'Avon Skin So Soft' as an alternative to the mosquito repellent issued to armed forces personnel in the West of Scotland. 
Mr. Touhig: The Defence Medical Services routinely test products to see if more effective alternatives can be found. To our knowledge, no research is currently being undertaken on the effectiveness of 'Avon Skin So Soft' as a mosquito repellent.
Mr. Touhig: Although the Ministry of Defence is considering the disposal of RAF Bentley Priory, no final decision to proceed is expected before spring 2006. At this time, therefore, the Department has neither sought nor received firm bids for the purchase of RAF Bentley Priory, although we are in the process of selecting an industry partner who might in due course market the site on our behalf. On current estimates, a sale is not anticipated before 200708.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will reply to the letters dated 26 July and 31 August from the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and transferred to him. 
Mr. Touhig: The information is not held in the form requested. trainee pilots pass through initial officer training and complete elementary flying training before being allocated to a particular flying specialisation; fast jet, rotary wing or multi-engine.
The number of pilots selected after elementary flying training to enter basic fast jet training is detailed in the following table for the last seven financial years. Information for years preceding this is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
|Number of pilots entering|
basic fast jet training
|Financial year||Number of trained pilots|
Five basic fast jet training courses are planned for each of the financial years 200506 and 200607 with eight trainee fast jet pilots on each course. It is planned to deliver 40 pilots who have successfully completed advanced fast jet training in each of the financial years 200506 and 200607.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence(1) what estimate he has made of the cost of servicing the Defence Systems and Equipment International Exhibition in September in respect of (a) armed forces equipment and personnel, (b) hosting foreign delegations and (c) policing; 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 17 October 2005]: The cost of hosting official overseas delegations at the Defence Systems and Equipment International 2005 exhibition was largely met from funds provided by the exhibition organisers, Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd. The balance of these costs, currently estimated to be approximately £110,000, was met from Defence funds. Personnel-related costs, mainly travel and subsistence, and minor costs for equipment movement not covered by commercial sponsorship, were met by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) from a number of budgets and have not been centrally identified. No estimate has been made of costs for which MOD is not responsible, such as the policing of the area surrounding the exhibition site.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans he has for further reductions to the number of (a) warships, (b) aircraft and (c) ground vehicles beyond those outlined in the 2004 Defence White Paper; and what discussions he has had on such reductions; 
(2) what plans he has for further reductions in the manpower of the UK armed forces beyond those outlined in the 2004 Defence White Paper; and what discussions he has had concerning such reductions. 
The 2004 'Future Capabilities' Command Paper set out an updated assessment of future force structure and service manpower requirements. Since its publication, the Department has also announced plans to form a Joint Special Forces Support Group (JSFSG) and the Formation of Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR). As part of the normalisation process in Northern Ireland, I announced on 1 August this year that the Home Service Battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment will disband at the end of Operation Banner in Northern Ireland. However this does not affect the force structure or manpower numbers announced in July 2004 as the Royal Irish (Home Service) manpower is excluded from figures on the size of the Regular, trained Army. I have no plans at present for further significant adjustments to capabilities or service manpower. As part of the day-to-day running of the Department, however, there will continue to be routine
19 Oct 2005 : Column 1026W
adjustments at the margins of the defence programme, including those related to delivery of the MOD's efficiency targets.
Mr. Ingram: Under the terms of the four-nation Memorandum of Understanding, the four partner nations (Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) have undertaken to procure a total of 620 Eurofighter-Typhoons in three tranches. The first two tranches of 384 aircraft are already under contract.
As a world-class aircraft, Typhoon has strong export prospects. An order for 18 aircraft has already been placed by Austria, and a number of other countries have also expressed an interest in acquiring the aircraft.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average time taken by his Department to settle invoices submitted by Gloucestershire airport with respect to landing fees and fuel was in the last period for which figures are available; what steps are being taken to reduce this time; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Touhig [holding answer 18 October 2005]: The Defence Bills Agency does not maintain records to illustrate the average length of time taken to pay particular suppliers' invoices. Establishing this degree of information for Gloucestershire Airport Ltd. would require detailed IT and manual investigation beyond the cost threshold for answering a parliamentary question.
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many serving military personnel in the (a) army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force are (i) single, (ii) married, (iii) divorced and (iv) separated, broken down by the age ranges (A) 24 and under, (B) 25 to 29, (C) 30 to 34, (D) 35 to 39, (E) 40 to 44 and (F) 45 years and over. 
|24 and under||560||11,700|
|25 to 29||1,520||5,290|
|30 to 34||3,925||2,910|
|35 to 39||5,185||1,705|
|40 to 44||3,270||865|
|45 and over||2,240||325|
|24 and under||36,640||4,465||60|||
|25 to 29||12,530||9,305||400||15|
|30 to 34||3,985||12,670||1,090||25|
|35 to 39||1,350||13,545||1,370||50|
|40 to 44||360||5,170||425||75|
|45 and over||155||3,420||170||65|
|24 and under||10,175||1,150||20||115|
|25 to 29||5,600||2,885||120||355|
|30 to 34||2,325||5,095||425||520|
|35 to 39||1,070||7,655||755||625|
|40 to 44||400||5,440||485||410|
|45 and over||205||4,455||315||225|
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