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Panther Command and Liaison Vehicle

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) available payload and (b) personnel capacity will be of the (i) armoured and (ii) unarmoured Panther Command and Liaison Vehicle when fitted with Bowman. [34369]

Mr. Ingram: PANTHER is only being procured as an armoured Command and Liaison Vehicle. The BOWMAN fit is designed to provide a range of configurations to meet the needs of the User. PANTHER has been designed to be operated with a minimum crew of two, however it has the capacity to carry a crew of four in some roles. The payload capacity after fitting BOWMAN varies between 590kg and 1100kg, dependant upon configuration and functionality such as the Overhead Weapon Station.


Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library copies of the Airworthiness Review report into the Puma aircraft. [21754]

Mr. Ingram: I have today placed copies of the Puma Airworthiness Review report from March 1996 into the Library of the House. Third party information not relevant to the request has been withheld.

RAF Bases

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will undertake a comprehensive strategic review of the defence capability of the 50 national defence airfields. [30984]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 23 November 2005, Official Report, column 2055W.

Royal Navy

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will designate a new Royal Navy ship with the name HMS Shrewsbury. [35177]

Mr. Ingram: The Ships Names and Badges Committee has the task of assessing all the possible names for new ships before making their recommendation through the First Sea Lord and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence for final approval by Her Majesty the Queen.

The new class of Royal Navy destroyers (the type 45 or D class) are to bear names beginning with the letter 'D', so Shrewsbury cannot be a candidate for any of these. Similarly, the names for the new astute class of
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submarine will all begin with the letter 'A'. However, I shall ensure that Shrewsbury, of which there have been three ships previously with the name, who earned four battle honours, is among the names considered for future suitable vessels.

Service Medical Personnel

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service medical personnel are deployed in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [30929]

Mr. Touhig: There are currently 240 UK medical personnel (health professionals) serving in Iraq and 12 in Afghanistan. These figures exclude Regimental Medical Assistants, who deliver first line medical care within their own regiments.

Service Schools

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether children in service schools are tested and assessed in a way comparable to state schools. [34962]

Mr. Touhig: All service children's education (SCE) schools follow the statutory requirements and guidance on the national curriculum assessment arrangements as outlined in the Education Act 2000. This includes assessing pupils for the foundation stage profile and attainment at the end of all key stages. Older pupils undertake GCSE and A" level examinations in common with English state schools.

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the (a) test and (b) examination results of pupils at service schools are published; and whether pupils' records are transferred when they move into the state sector. [34963]

Mr. Touhig: All performance data on Service Children's Education (SCE) Agency schools is published internally to schools and the Agency Owner's Board, on which the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) is represented. In addition, SCE Head teachers are responsible for ensuring that a written report is provided to all parents, detailing their individual child's performance. Information on the overall performance of the school is also provided directly to parents by way of a formal Annual Report. As SCE does not come under the jurisdiction of the DfES, SCE's school results are not included in the 'Achievement and Attainment Tables' published by that Department. However, the overall performance of the Agency against its Key Targets, which includes achievement at Key Stages 1 to 3 and GCSE and 'A' level, is published each year in the Agency's Annual Report and Accounts, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

SCE schools follow the statutory requirement to send specified pupil records to the receiving school. This is the case for all pupils moving to either a local education authority (LEA) maintained or independent school.


Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 28 November 2005, Official Report, column 124W, on Trident, if he will ensure that opportunities are provided for full and
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informed public and parliamentary debate prior to decisions being made on a replacement for the United Kingdom's Trident nuclear missile capability. [35333]

John Reid: The issue of the possible replacement of Trident has been raised on numerous occasions in the House of Commons, most recently during defence questions on 14 November and the 'Defence in the UK' debate on 17 November. I also discussed this issue with the House of Commons Defence Committee on 1 November.

Although decisions are likely to be necessary in the current Parliament they are still some way off and there will be many further opportunities for Parliament to debate the issue. It is too early to say what further formal or informal procedures might be used to underpin future decision-making by the Government in this area.

White Phosphorus

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the use of white phosphorus by the British Army. [33289]

John Reid: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given in another place on 29 November 2005, Official Report, column WA23, by my noble Friend Lord Drayson, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement.



Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the date of appointment was of each member of the (a) Civil Renewal Practitioners Group, (b) Criminal Records Bureau Consultative Panel, (c) Insurance Cover Working Group, (d) Race Equality Advisory Panel, (e) Steering Group on the Lawrence Enquiry Action Plan, (f) Task Force on Child Protection on the Internet, (g) Correctional Services Accreditation Panel, (h) Animal Procedures Committee, (i) Police Arbitration Panel, (j) Surveillance Commissioners, (k) Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel, (l) Asylum Support Adjudicators, (m) Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, (n) Independent Police Complaints Commission and (o) Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner; what the length of appointment is in each case; how much has been claimed in expenses by each person; and what the cost of each body was in (i) 2003–04 and (ii) 2004–05. [11951]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The information requested will be placed in the Library.


Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many families subject to the pilot implementation of section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004 (a) are being supported as a family and (b) are receiving support for children only from their local authority. [31185]

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Mr. McNulty [holding answer 21 November 2005]: I have not been informed of any cases where, following a withdrawal of support by NASS because of lack of co-operation on a voluntary return, the local authority has made a formal decision to support the family as a unit.

There are a number of cases where a local authority is accommodating a family temporarily, pending an assessment of the children's needs under the Children Act. There are three cases where a local authority has decided to provide support to cover the children's needs only.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost of housing asylum seekers in (a) London, (b) Havering and (c) Romford was in the last five years. [33919]

Mr. McNulty: The information is not available in the precise format requested. Information on the costs of providing accommodation to asylum seekers supported directly by NASS for the years 2000–01—2003–04 is provided in the following table. Annual payments to local authorities by NASS from 1999–2000 can be found at:

We are unable to provide information on the amount of grant used to pay for accommodation.
Costs of accommodation for asylum seekers supported directly by MASS

£ million
Financial yearExpenditure on dispersal accommodationExpenditure on emergency (initial) accommodationTotal expenditure

n/a=Not available

Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers have been prosecuted for document infringements under the rules introduced by the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. [34204]

Mr. McNulty: Section 2(1) of the Asylum and Immigration (treatment of Claimants etc.) Act 2004 makes it an offence for a person not to have, at a leave or asylum interview, an immigration document which is in force and which satisfactorily establishes his identity and nationality or citizenship. The offence contained in Section two is not included in the list of offences covered by Section 31 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

The figures for prosecutions could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, according to locally collated management information, which may be subject to change, there have been 350 convictions under Section two of the Asylum & Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc) Act 2004 since it came into force on 22 September 2004 until 20 October 2005.
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