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14 Nov 2005 : Column 916W—continued

Royal Military Police Historic Investigation Team

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what legal assistance his Department will make available to those (a) serving and (b) former servicemen who face prosecution by the six Royal Military Police Historic Investigation Team; and what budget has been provided for this purpose. [27101]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence will provide whatever assistance is appropriate for serving and former servicemen who are required to assist the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) with their review of unresolved deaths in Northern Ireland. No separate budget has been provided for this purpose. The six RMP Historic Inquiries Team is not undertaking any investigative responsibilities in relation to this review.

Royal Navy (Caribbean)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will reconsider the decision to reduce the Royal Navy presence in the Caribbean station. [26883]

Mr. Ingram: British military commitments and the tasking of military assets, including the Royal Navy presence in the Caribbean during the core hurricane months, are reviewed regularly. There are no plans to change these at present.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effect on the international drugs trade of having Royal Navy ships stationed in the Caribbean; and if he will make a statement. [26884]

Mr. Ingram: None. The primary purposes of the RN deployment in the Caribbean (Atlantic Patrol Task (North)) are the promotion of UK interests in the region and the provision of security to UK Overseas Territories, including support to humanitarian operations and disaster relief. Counter-drugs activities are carried out as part of deployments to provide a tangible presence as one element of the UK's broader counter-drugs engagement in the region. These are co-ordinated by HM Revenue and Customs.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what amount of drugs the Royal Navy has been responsible for seizing in the Caribbean in each of the last five years; and what the estimated value was of such seizures in each year. [26885]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 9 November 2005, Official Report, column 558W, to the hon. Member for Kettering (Mr. Hollobone).

Royal Ordnance

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what goods have been supplied (a) to his
 
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Department and (b) to his Department's sub-contractors by BAE Systems plc from the former Royal Ordnance factory in Bridgwater, Somerset, in the last five years. [26364]

Mr. Ingram: The Bridgwater site supplies a range of explosive compounds and products including fillings for warheads, propellants and demolition stores.

A list of the individual items supplied over the last five years to the Ministry of Defence or MOD prime contractors by the BAE Systems Land Systems facility at Bridgwater is as follows. MOD deals with prime contractors only. Relations with any sub-contractors is a matter for the prime contractor.

Items

New products

Demolition products


 
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Additives

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date and on whose authority did the project of joint subsidiary take place between the Socie"te" National des Poudres et Explosifs and Royal Ordnance for the manufacture of military powders and explosives. [26365]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence is aware that discussions took place some years ago between Royal Ordnance (now BAE Systems Land Systems) and Socie"te" National des Poudres et Explosifs with a view to a joint venture. No final agreement was reached between the two companies.

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what military powders will be manufactured in the UK up to the end of 2007; and who the majority shareholders of the explosive manufacturers are. [26366]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence procures a large range of explosive products (including primer compositions and energetic materials) from a number of manufacturers, both in the United Kingdom and abroad. Details of each type of explosive substance provided are not held centrally and it would incur disproportionate costs to produce a comprehensive list. The identities of the majority shareholders of the various businesses are an issue for the companies themselves.

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what does the BAE Systems plc factory at Chorley, Lancashire, produce; and from where will future production be sourced when that factory closes. [26367]

Mr. Ingram: The main production output of BAE System's factory at Land Systems Chorley is initiators for various natures of munitions. Production at the site has been suspended since an industrial incident in March 2005. Current production remains limited to filling and assembling a small number of stores using stocks of previously manufactured compositions.
 
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Following is a list of those items which have, until recently, been manufactured at the Chorley site:

Item

BAE Systems Land Systems are responsible for the security of supply of these items and will remain so after the closure of the Chorley site. They have provided detailed plans on how they intend to achieve this and we remain confident in their ability to do so. These plans are of a commercial nature and it would not be to the benefit of the company or the Ministry of Defence to release them.

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guarantee of continuity of supply does his Department secure for ammunitions sourced outside the UK. [26368]

Mr. Ingram: It is common practise for all contracts let to foreign based ammunition suppliers to include a clause whereby if supply could not be met, the manufacturing data is passed to the Ministry of Defence to allow manufacture elsewhere.


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