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19 Oct 2005 : Column 1023W—continued

Avon Skin So Soft

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. [18581]

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.

Bentley Priory

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many firm bids there have been for Bentley Priory, Middlesex. [19380]

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 2007–08.


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. [17812]

19 Oct 2005 : Column 1024W

Mr. Touhig [holding answer 17 October 2005]: My noble Friend, the Minister for Defence Procurement, wrote on 14 October 2005.


Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many RAF fast jet pilots have passed through Cranwell in each of the last 10 years; [15398]

(2) how many RAF fast jet pilots he expects to enter Cranwell in 2006. [15399]

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.

Financial year
Number of pilots entering
basic fast jet training

The numbers of fast jet pilots who successfully completed advanced training in each of the last 10 years are set out as follows:
Financial yearNumber of trained pilots

19 Oct 2005 : Column 1025W

Five basic fast jet training courses are planned for each of the financial years 2005–06 and 2006–07 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 2005–06 and 2006–07.

Defence Exhibition

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; [18177]

(2) what public expenditure was incurred in support of the London Defence Systems and Equipment Exhibitions in 2005. [17479]

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.

Defence Reductions

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; [17654]

(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. [17655]

John Reid: 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
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adjustments at the margins of the defence programme, including those related to delivery of the MOD's efficiency targets.


Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his latest estimate is of the sales of the Eurofighter in the first five years of operation. [16489]

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.

Gloucestershire Airport (Invoices)

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. [19089]

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.

The DBA does maintain aggregated records, by monthly and annual volume of valid and correctly presented invoices, which confirm that the Agency pays all such bills within 11 calendar days of receipt.

Military Personnel

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. [18250]

Mr. Touhig: Strength of UK regular forces (trained and untrained) at 1 September 2005 by Service, marital status and age group is shown in the following tables:
Naval Service

MarriedNot married
All ages16,70022,795
24 and under56011,700
25 to 291,5205,290
30 to 343,9252,910
35 to 395,1851,705
40 to 443,270865
45 and over2,240325

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The Naval Service groups those who are not married together, so it is not possible to produce separate analysis for those who are single, divorced or separated.

All ages55,02048,5753,515230
24 and under36,6404,46560
25 to 2912,5309,30540015
30 to 343,98512,6701,09025
35 to 391,35013,5451,37050
40 to 443605,17042575
45 and over1553,42017065

1.Single includes the categories single" and widower".
2.Married includes the categories married (legally separated revoked)", married" and married (Decree Nisi revoked)".
3.Divorced includes the categories divorce nisi absolute" and single marriage annulled".
4.Separated includes the categories legally separated" and divorce Decree Nisi".


All ages19,77526,6752,1202,250
24 and under10,1751,15020115
25 to 295,6002,885120355
30 to 342,3255,095425520
35 to 391,0707,655755625
40 to 444005,440485410
45 and over2054,455315225

1.Single includes the categories single" and widower".
2.Divorced includes the categories divorce absolute" and marriage annulled".
3.Separated includes the categories legal separation", divorce nisi" and estranged/mutually separated.

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