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Mr. Ingram: With the progressive introduction of competition to the majority of the Ministry of Defence's science and technology budget since 2001, the proportion of single tender work awarded to QinetiQ has diminished and will continue to do so. The NAO report The Management of Defence Research and Technology" published on 10 March 2004 shows how competition will affect QinetiQ's share of the elements of the research programme that equated to applied and corporate research. QinetiQ's assured share of these elements of the research programme will decline over time, dropping to less than 10 percent. by financial year 200809. We currently have about £80 million pounds work on contract with QinetiQ through single tender action for the Department's science and technology budget over the period of financial years 200607 to 200809. This figure is of course subject to change as new contracts are placed.
Mr. Ingram: As the Secretary of State's principal adviser on Royal Air Force issues the Chief of the Air Staff has direct access to Defence Ministers whenever he requires and Defence Ministers regularly meet him in a variety of forums.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) the reasons for designating each of the Royal Navy ships referred to in his written answer of 13 July 2005, Official Report, column 1080W, for reduced support status, with special reference to HMS Albion and HMS St. Albans, (b) the age of each of these vessels and (c) the time it would take to bring each of them to a state of readiness to serve with the fleet if required. 
Mr. Ingram: Ships are selected for reduced support status according to their future tasking within the operational programme, taking into account its position within the upkeep cycle. This was the case for HMS Albion and HMS St. Albans. No ships have ceased to be operational as a result of reduced support status. The age of the ships listed in the following table has been calculated from their original acceptance in rounded years.
|HMS Ark Royal||20|
|HMS St. Albans||4|
|HMS Leeds Castle||24|
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on the potential for Alfred McAlpine Business Systems to become a supplier of strategically important components to the Government. 
Mr. Ingram: The Secretary of State has regular discussions with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (DTI) on a wide range of procurement and industry issues including most recently matters such as the Defence Industrial Strategy. No discussions have taken place about the potential for Alfred McAlpine Business Services to become a supplier of strategically important components to the Government.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what ongoing contractual obligations the United States has to service (a) Trident submarines and (b) their nuclear payloads; and if he will make a statement. 
Decisions on any replacement for Trident have not yet been taken. Such decisions are likely to be necessary in the current Parliament, although they are still some way off. Initial preparatory work is being undertaken by officials on possible options for the future of the UK's nuclear deterrent. However, Ministers have not yet begun to consider the position on this issue in any detail. It is therefore premature to speculate on the range of options that might be available and their potential costs.
20 Oct 2005 : Column 1200W
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people are known to have served in (a) the Ulster Defence Regiment and (b) the Royal Irish Regiment home service battalions in the last 30 years in a (i) part-time and (ii) full-time capacity. 
Mr. Touhig [holding answer 18 October 2005]: Since its inception in 1921, the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAFFI) have provided armed forces personnel worldwide with retail and leisure facilities (shops and junior ranks' clubs). Support to operations is provided by the Expeditionary Force Institutes (EFI) arm of NAFFI, and support to HM ships is provided by the Naval Canteen Service (NCS).
NAFFI profits are held in trust for the armed forces and are returned to welfare funds by way of dividend payments. The dividend payments in respect of 200304 profits totalled £3.75 million. For 200405, an interim dividend payment of £0.5 million has already been made; agreement of the final dividend for 200405 is imminent.
Mr. Ingram: Under the Future Army Structures (FAS) there will be a shift from the current mix of light and heavy forces to a more balanced structure of light, medium and heavy forces. As part of the implementation of FAS we are reducing the number of Challenger 2 (CR2) armoured squadrons from 25 to 18. The reduction in the number of squadrons has reduced the total requirement for tanks and 20 CR2 have so far been withdrawn from service. We have no plans at present to reduce the number further during 200506.
Mr. Woodward: Abortion Law in Northern Ireland is contained in the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1945, and case law, particularly the Bourne judgement (1938). There are no plans for any changes in the legislate position at present.
Mr. Woodward: The Department is committed to ensuring that staff providing assistance to anaesthetists are fully trained and are competent to practice. The Department currently commissions post-registration programmes at different levels to complement the in-house training provided by the trusts. In addition, the Department is carrying out a peri-operative review of work force needs in Northern Ireland, which will examine the need for Operating Department Practitioners and other theatre roles within the theatre and anaesthetics service.
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