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3 Nov 2005 : Column 1257W—continued

Army Board

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions the Army Board has requested that the Attorney General review specific military cases since 1997, in relation to cases in which all proceedings are complete. [23204]

Mr. Touhig: On one occasion since 1997.

AWE Aldermaston

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the recently announced additional £1 billion to be spent on maintenance of the Trident nuclear warhead at Aldermaston is (a) new money and (b) a first payment of the 25-year contract for £5.3 billion already allocated for this purpose to AWEML. [16497]

John Reid: The £l billion to be spent at AWE, which I announced on 19 July this year, is in addition to the £5.3 billion which was announced in 2003 when the original contract was extended to 2025.

Central Asia

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) training programmes and (b) visits have been undertaken by UK military forces in (i) Uzbekistan, (ii) Tajikistan, (iii) Kyrgyzstan and (iv) Turkmenistan. [20975]

Mr. Ingram: The United Kingdom has modest defence programmes with the nations of central Asia. Ministry of Defence engagement in the region began in 2001 and aims to support efforts to reform defence management and to raise professional standards in the armed forces. We also seek to encourage greater regional co-operation.

Training programmes in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan are outlined as follows.

Uzbekistan—The MOD's directorate of standardisation held a seminar on NATO standards in June 2003, following advisory visits by the MOD directorate of management consultancy services in February and September 2003, a personnel management advisory team (PMAT) provided training in military human resource management in November 2003 and April 2004. A peacekeeping exercise, TIMUR EXPRESS, took place in September 2004, preceded by two planning visits. The UK contingent was a Territorial Army infantry company. The Defence
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Geographic and Imagery Intelligence Agency ran a mapping course in October 2004. In November 2004, the junior staff officer course ran a partnership for peace seminar. Following a briefing by the commander of the British military advisory and training team (BMATT) on the training BMATT could provide, and reconnaissance visits, non-commission officer (NCO) training took place in October-November 2002, October-November 2003, June-July 2004, September 2004 and February-March 2005. Following the events in Andijan on 13 May, the UK withdrew from direct military co-operation with Uzbekistan.

Tajikistan—BMATT provided NCO training in May 2005. The joint arms control implementation group conducted arms control and counter-proliferation training in June 2005.

Kyrgyzstan—The joint doctrine and concepts centre conducted a seminar on peace support operations in Bishkek in May 2004. BMATT provided NCO training in October 2004. A PMAT ran a military human resources seminar in November 2004.

Turkmenistan—The UK has not undertaken any military training in Turkmenistan.

The following visits have taken place.

Uzbekistan—In June 2002,102 logistics brigade undertook a reconnaissance of Uzbek facilities that might be used in support of operations in Afghanistan. The Defence Geographic and Imagery Intelligence Agency made a liaison visit in September 2003. The joint arms control implementation group conducted a Vienna document evaluation (confidence and security building measures) in January 2004.

The chief of the general staff visited Uzbekistan in May 2004 and staff from the joint services command and staff college visited the Uzbek Defence Academy in November 2004.

Tajikistan—The chief of the general staff visited Tajikistan in May 2004.

Kyrgyzstan—The Royal Marines, together with BMATT, have scoped the requirement for assistance to Kyrgyzstan with border security and undertook a reconnaissance visit in May 2003. The courses have yet to take place.

Turkmenistan—There have been no visits.

Departmental Spending

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on items of art in 2004–05. [23475]

Mr. Touhig: The sum of £232,000, excluding VAT, was spent on works of art, as part of the Ministry of Defence Main Building Redevelopment programme during 2004–05.

Estate Disposals

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 20 October 2005, Official Report, column 1212W, on estate disposals, what assessment has been made in relation to the
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possible presence of (a) asbestos and (b) other toxic substances on each of the named sites; and if he will make a statement. [23631]

Mr. Touhig: The information requested will need to be obtained from a number of separate sources and will take a little time to collate. I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Future Carrier Programme

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he first considered the possibility of co-operating with France in the future carrier programme; and what was the origin of this proposal. [23599]

Mr. Ingram: As both the UK and France are embarking on major, complex carrier procurement projects, it is natural that areas of mutual benefit and opportunities to deliver economies are being examined. This began in the summer of 2000.

Information Infrastructure Project

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what mechanisms have been put in place to monitor the performance of EDS in the Defence Information Infrastructure project; and what discussions have been held with (a) HM Revenue and Customs, (b) the Department for Work and Pensions and (c) the Passport Office on the company's performance on contracts undertaken for them. [23632]

Mr. Ingram: The Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) contract has a rigorous performance regime in place to manage the Delivery Partner (in which EDS is the Prime Contractor). The Delivery Partner's overall progress and performance will be monitored on a weekly basis against a range of Key Performance Indicators, and actual service delivery measured against targets and used as the basis for payment.

Prior to contract award, the MOD discussed the past performance of both Bidders with a range of Government Departments and other organisations, including the HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions. In addition, Learning from Experience sessions and consultations were conducted with a wide range of organisations on best practice methods in the management of large IT contracts; this included the Passport Office.


Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many helicopters have been privately contracted for use by UK forces in Multinational Division South East, Iraq; what the cost is; and if he will make a statement. [23148]

John Reid: The MOD does not contract any private or civil helicopters for use in Iraq.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of armed forces personnel who have served in Iraq were (a) Welsh, (b) Scottish and (c) English. [19420]

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Mr. Touhig: Information on the countries of birth of all the service personnel who have served in Iraq is not held centrally.

Literacy and Numeracy

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many employees in his Department requested training to improve their (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills in each year since 2002. [23375]

Mr. Touhig: The Ministry of Defence does not collect this information. Literacy and numeracy training is provided to some personnel as part of wider training and educational programmes, such as apprenticeship schemes. In addition, the Department provides networks of tutors and advisers that can offer direct support or refer personnel to appropriate provision elsewhere, either internal or external. Significant Basic Skills training is directed rather than voluntary so the number requesting training would only give a partial picture in the context of the MOD's broader approach.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of new recruits to his Department do not have a level 2 qualification in English and mathematics. [23780]

Mr. Touhig: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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