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23 Nov 2005 : Column 2049W—continued

Unofficial Strikes

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the Government's policy is on unofficial strikes. [25209]

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Mr. Sutcliffe: Whereas employees should be free to withdraw their labour, the Government consider that, in order to avoid disorderly industrial relations, the legal framework should encourage official over unofficial industrial action. As a result, the protection against dismissal for employees taking official, lawfully organised industrial action is significantly greater than for those taking unofficial action.


Aldermaston Weapons Establishment

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what proportion of spending on the Aldermaston Weapons Establishment has been on (a) UK subsidiary companies of US corporations and (b) US corporations in each year since 1997; [25010]

(2) what percentage of capital equipment purchased for the Aldermaston Weapons Establishment has been purchased in the US in each year since 1997; [25011]

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent at Aldermaston in each of the last three years; how much was paid to (a) in-house services, (b) UK-owned companies, (c) US-owned and subsidiary companies and (d) other companies; and if he will make a statement. [25279]

John Reid: For details of expenditure at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in the last three years, I refer to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) and my hon. Friend the Member for Islington North (Mr. Corbyn) on 10 October 2005, Official Report, column 15W.

AWE is a Government Owned Contractor Operated ('GOCO') establishment. The contract for the management and operation of AWE sites is with AWE Management Limited, and it is to this company that the Ministry of Defence makes payment against agreed milestones and requirements. Subject to the MOD proscribed national security and value for money considerations. It is for the contractor to price, place, manage and make payments against subcontracts in connection with the delivery of these requirements. Accordingly, the MOD does not maintain records of payments in the form requested.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 3 November 2005, Official Report, column 1259W, on AWE Aldermaston, what further plans he has for additional funding for AWE Aldermaston. [28513]

John Reid: No decisions are required at present on the level of investment at AWE Aldermaston beyond financial year 2007–08. The Defence budget for the period 2008–09 to 2010–11 will be set in Comprehensive Spending Review 2007.

Armed Services (Recruitment)

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the result was of his review of the documentation (a) setting out the rights and responsibilities of recruits to
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the armed services and (b) explaining the nature of commitment they are undertaking; and if he will place a copy of that documentation in the Library. [26279]

Mr. Touhig: There are a number of publications that highlight to prospective applicants their rights while joining or serving in the armed forces:

These publications are kept under constant review.

Automated Signing Machines

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether (a) he or (b) any other Minister in his Department uses (i) an automated signing machine and (ii) a stamp for ministerial correspondence purposes. [19874]

Mr. Touhig: No.

Guidance on handling ministerial correspondence is set out in 'Handling Correspondence from Members of Parliament, Members of the House of Lords, MEPs and Members of Devolved Assemblies: Guidance for Departments', copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

BAE Shipyard (Barrow)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role the BAE shipyard at Barrow will play in (a) submarine and (b) surface shipbuilding for the Department. [28007]

Mr. Ingram: The BAE Systems shipyard at Barrow will continue to play a vital role in support of Ministry of Defence's submarine build programme.

It is open to companies which have the necessary capability and capacity to bid for surface shipbuilding work.

MOD is working closely with industry to develop a Maritime Industrial Strategy (MIS), which will encompass the submarine, ship support and shipbuilding elements of the UK's maritime industry and will seek to identify ways of achieving greater efficiency and long-term sustainment. The MIS is part of the wider Defence Industrial Strategy, which will develop a clear joint understanding, across Government and with industry, of the key industrial capabilities that will be required by Defence in the future.
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Chinook HC2

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Chinook HC2 was issued with full Military Aircraft Release. [26614]

Mr. Ingram: Chinook HC2 aircraft clearances were first issued under what was then known as a Controller Aircraft Release in November 1993. The Controller Aircraft Release was re-named Military Aircraft Release in February 1999.


Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 15 November 2005, Official Report, columns 1087–88W, on fixed-wing capability, what the decommissioning dates are for HMS Illustrious and HMS Ark Royal; and what the maximum period is for which they can be postponed. [30171]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 22 November 2005]: On present plans, HMS Illustrious is due to be withdrawn from service in 2012 and HMS Ark Royal in 2013. There is no pre-determined upper limit to the service life of a warship. How long a particular ship can remain in service will depend on a range of factors, including its material condition; certification for fire safety, stability and hull strength; its continued compliance with legislative requirements; and cost.

Departmental Estate

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many empty homes his Department owns; what the locations of these properties are; how many of these properties have been empty for more than six months; and how many of these properties his Department is prepared to offer to registered social landlords for short-term leases. [28824]

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


Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost was of maintaining the garrison in the Falklands in 2004. [29404]

Mr. Ingram: The costs of maintaining the garrison in the Falklands in financial year 2004–05 were £113 million.

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the South Atlantic Medal Association regarding commemorations for the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War; and if he will make a statement. [30914]

Mr. Touhig: My predecessor met the Chairman of the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA 82) in February of this year and agreed in principle that the main official commemoration in the United Kingdom would be in London on Sunday 17 June 2007. Officials are engaged in further discussions with representatives
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of SAMA 82 and other interested organisations to develop plans. I intend to announce the detailed arrangements for the commemorations early next year.

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