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16 Jan 2006 : Column 921W—continued

Office Equipment

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) personal computers, (b) laptops, (c) servers, (d) printers, (e) scanners, (f) photocopiers and (g) fax machines (i) his Department, (ii) each (A) non-departmental public body, (B) Executive agency and (C) other public body for which his Department is responsible in (1) Scotland, (2) Wales, (3)each English region and (4) Northern Ireland owned in (x) 2003–04 and (y) 2004–05. [40086]

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

Reserve Forces

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many appeals against compulsory mobilisation under the Reserve Forces Act have been made in the last 12 months; and how many were successful. [41658]

Mr. Touhig: As at 11 January 2006, there has been one appeal made by a Reservist in the last 12 months against compulsory mobilisation under the Reserve Forces Act 1996. This was subsequently withdrawn.

Royal Flight

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) who is allowed to use the resources of the Royal Flight; on what criteria eligibility is based; and whether he has plans to alter these criteria; [42175]

(2) what plans he has for the future of the Royal Flight. [42176]

John Reid: No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron, based at RAF Northolt, is established for the support of military and government communications tasks in times of crisis and war. The Royal Household, Government Ministers and senior military officers may use irreducible spare capacity within this communications fleet when the aircraft are not being used to support named military operations or training. Such tasking is allocated according to seniority.

It is planned to replace the three commercially owned-RAF operated Twin-Squirrel Helicopters which form part of the fleet with three Agusta 109 Power helicopters under similar contractual arrangements in April.

Furthermore, an Independent Review of Royal Family and Ministerial Air Travel headed by Sir Peter Gershon is currently under way.

Royal Navy (Surface Fleet)

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the Royal Navy's surface fleet is (a) at sea and (b) available to put to sea at a week's notice. [42049]

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Mr. Ingram: On 12 January 2006, of the total commissioned Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, 32 per cent. were at sea. A further 58 per cent. could put to sea at one week's notice.

Troubles (Northern Ireland)

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of deaths in the recent period of the troubles in Northern Ireland that have been caused by armed forces personnel; and whether he intends to re-open investigations into these cases. [27355]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 11 November 2005]: The attribution of deaths in Northern Ireland is not a matter for the Ministry of Defence and it is for the Police Service of Northern Ireland to decide if they are to re-open investigations into deaths in Northern Ireland during the troubles.

UK-awarded Contracts

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department permits participation in UK-awarded contracts by firms that have engaged in activities that violate international humanitarian law. [35735]

Mr. Ingram: Violation of international humanitarian law is in law a matter of state culpability rather than of firms or companies. In awarding contracts, the Ministry of Defence's policy is to assess tenders against a number of criteria to evaluate the most suitable compliant tender providing value for money. A contract may not be placed with a company if there are reasonable doubts about its suitability.


Birth Control

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what research projects on (a) abortion, (b) contraception, (c) reproductive health and (d) the effects of coercive abortion on women have been commissioned by his Department in each of the last five years for which information is available; and what the publication arrangements were in each case. [41761]

Mr. Thomas: DFID has not explicitly commissioned work on abortion , contraception and the effects of coercive abortion but we have commissioned five major Research Knowledge Programmes in the broad area of reproductive health for the period 1999–2005 for a total commitment of £10.6 million; (2000–01 £1 million; 2001–02 £1.9 million; 2002–03 £1.7 million; 2003–04 £2 million and 2004–05 £1.9 million). All of the programmes involve numerous research activities and smaller projects in Reproductive, Maternal and Sexual Health.

In 2005, DFID commissioned two research programme consortia for the period 2005–10 for a total of £5 million. The consortia involve a number of
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different research activities in the broad areas of sexual reproductive health and rights and sexual reproductive health and HIV.

The aim of all of the programmes is to provide research that leads to better quality and a wider range of reproductive health services in developing countries.

Publication of material resulting from the programmes in appropriate journals, and other media, is the responsibility of the researchers.

Support is also provided to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the World Health Organisation Human Reproductive Health Programme and the UK's Medical Research Council.

Disaster Management

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what work his Department has undertaken to facilitate the exchange of disaster management expertise between the United Kingdom and each country affected by Hurricane (a) Ivan and (b) Emily. [42128]

Mr. Thomas: The three countries most seriously affected by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, were Grenada, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. In Grenada, we funded the provision of disaster management experts from Christian Aid UK and Oxfam UK, who worked closely on emergency projects with regional and local partners. For Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the UK Government sent two humanitarian advisers to the region who provided initial emergency support to the relief efforts. The UK also funded Oxfam UK and Save the Children UK to send disaster management experts to Jamaica. Using this close network of partnerships helped in the exchange of disaster management expertise between the countries.

For the duration of the 2005 Hurricane season, DFID placed a Humanitarian and Disaster Risk Reduction Adviser in the region based in Barbados. The Adviser liaised with and provided advice to regional agencies and other development partners dealing with Disaster Risk Reduction and the continuing response to Hurricane Ivan. He also provided input to the two Caribbean Regional Donor groups for disaster coordination and response.

Following Hurricane Emily in July 2005, the Adviser visited Grenada and the island of Carriacou, to assess the damage and provide advice on the appropriate international response. This arrangement for the placing of UK expertise in the region will continue during the 2006 hurricane season.

The UK also funds a full-time Disaster Risk Reduction adviser to the Caribbean Overseas Territories. This Adviser provides ongoing expertise to these countries to strengthen and improve their disaster preparedness. He visited the Cayman Islands in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Ivan to advise on recovery planning.

At the regional level, after Hurricane Ivan the UK funded a technical review of hazard impacts and their effects on the built environment. DFID also contributed
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to the studies of the 2004 Hurricane season that underpinned the regional lesson learning conference held in Jamaica in April 2005.


Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department will provide in the next two years to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in Commonwealth of Independent States countries. [41699]

Mr. Thomas: DFID is supporting programmes to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in Central Asia, Ukraine and Russia. Details of commitments are as follows:

Central Asia:

DFID is providing £5.4 million over four years (2005–09) for a Central Asia Regional HIV/AIDS Programme, operating in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Programme will complement the World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Regional HIV/AIDS projects in supporting the implementation of government strategies.

As part of the above work, DFID is also providing £1 million for the World Bank's Central Asia Regional HIV/AIDS Programme and £420,000 for the salaries of a Regional Policy Advisor and a Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor in the Joint United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) office in Almaty.


DFID is providing £300,000 from May 2005 to May 2007, in support of the UNAIDS work with the Government of Ukraine to improve co-ordination of HIV/AIDS interventions. In addition DFID is providing 65,000. from September 2004 to September 2006, to support the work of the non-government Substance Abuse and AIDS Support Fund and to provide technical support to the UN Global Fund.

DFID has also provided £25,000 in August 2004 for an HIV/AIDS harm reduction awareness campaign in Crimea and £350,000 from September 2004 to September 2005 for work with the Ministry of Education to highlight HIV/AIDS issues in schools and among young people.


DFID is providing £74,000 over 2006–07, comprising: (i) £22,000 in support of UNAIDS work with the Government of Russia; (ii) £47,000 to support a regional response to tackling HIV/AIDS in Nizhny Novgorod and (iii) £50,000 to disseminate findings from previous DFID funded research to help inform the Government of Russia's policies for tackling HIV/AIDS.

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