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7 Nov 2005 : Column 95W—continued

Tax Credits

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effects of (a) research and development tax credits, (b) vaccines research relief and (c) contaminated land tax credits; and if he will make a statement. [24556]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to him on 14 June 2005, Official Report, column 341W on R&D tax credits. The results from the survey of R&D companies mentioned in that reply are expected to be published later this year on the HM Revenue and Customs website.

The impact of contaminated land tax credit (CLTC) is being examined by a research study commissioned by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) that is currently being undertaken by the university of Ulster. Once completed, the findings of this research should be made available on the Departments' websites.

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the Paymaster General's evidence to the Treasury sub-committee on 26 October, if he will place in the Library a copy of the new and agreed tax credit award notice to be issued from April 2006. [25228]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer my right hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 24 October 2005, Official Report, column 53W.
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Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what percentage of adults of working age were (a) unemployed and (b) economically inactive in each year since 1997, broken down by constituency. [24099]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell to Julia Goldsworthy, dated 7 November 2005:


0870 Numbers

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the occasions in the last five years on which 0870 telephone numbers have been used by his Department as contact numbers for members of the public; and how much revenue was received from the use of 0870 contact numbers in each of the last five years for which records are available. [24457]

Mr. Touhig: The use of 0870 numbers in the Department is determined at local level in accordance with individual business requirements. Records of 0870 numbers and the revenue received from them is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Air Support Units

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 17 October 2005, Official Report, column 659W, on air support units, what air support was available to British forces in northern Afghanistan during the week commencing 24 October. [24493]

John Reid: The United Kingdom Forces in northern Afghanistan serve as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and are based in Mazar-e-Sharif (MeS), northern Afghanistan.
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A wide range of air assets were available to ISAF in support of its mission in northern Afghanistan during the week commencing 24 October including: combat and reconnaissance air capability provided by the Belgians, Dutch, French, UK and the US; transport aircraft provided by the French, Germans, Swedes and UK; and, support helicopters for casualty evacuation provided by the German army. During the period in question, the Netherlands also operated a heavy lift helicopter in support of the Afghan election process.

Armoured Vehicles

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his plans are concerning extending the service life of the current fleet of armoured vehicles before the Future Rapid Effect System comes into service. [23043]

Mr. Ingram: FRES, together with the Panther Command and Liaison Vehicle, is planned to replace the Saxon, FV430 and CVR(T) vehicle families. How best to align the removal from service of these vehicle families with the introduction of FRES, while ensuring continuity of the required capability, will be informed by the work conducted during the FRES initial assessment phase.

Carbon Management Programme

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department will sign up to the Carbon Trust's Carbon Management programme. [23722]

Mr. Touhig: Ministry of Defence officials are continuing to discuss with the Carbon Trust what might be appropriate for the Department regarding the Carbon Management Programme within the context of the current partnership agreement.

In August 2004 the MOD entered into a formal partnership agreement with the Carbon Trust. Through the agreement, the Carbon Trust is providing support to the MOD on gaining an overall understanding of climate change and assistance in improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions. A programme of work under the partnership arrangement has been implemented which builds on energy surveys carried out on MOD establishments and funded by the Carbon Trust or its predecessor organisation. Individual projects range from identifying the estate wide opportunities for installing renewable energy technologies through to detailed appraisals of energy use on individual sites.


Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to improve the Department's performance in replying to correspondence from the general public. [24770]

Mr. Touhig: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 2 November 2005, Official Report, columns 1067–68W.

Defence Expenditure

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the trend in real terms expenditure on defence since 1997. [24569]

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Mr. Ingram: Under the spending review 2004 settlement, the Ministry of Defence budget will increase by £3.7 billion from £29.7 billion in 2004–05 to £33.4 billion in 2007–08, representing 1.4 per cent. average annual growth in real terms over the next three years. This has cemented the longest sustained increase of the defence budget in 20 years and by 2007–08, planned near-cash defence spending will be some 7.5 per cent. higher in real terms than in 1997; currently it is 4.4 per cent. in real terms above 1997 levels.

Departmental Skills Development Plan

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which individual is responsible for developing and implementing his Department's skills development plan. [23852]

Mr. Touhig: The Department's skills development plan is developed by a number of MOD central directorates on behalf of the deputy chief of the Defence staff (personnel) and the Department's personnel director. Implementation is taken forward by central directorates, working closely with the staffs of the principal personnel officers in the single services and the MOD civil service.

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's Skills Development Plan. [23872]

Mr. Touhig: We will place copies in the Library of the House shortly.

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