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Cadet Corps (Rifles)

Mr. Borrow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what discussions he has had with cadet organisations concerning rifle (a) stocks and (b) replacements; and if he will make a statement; [60258]

(2) what plans are in place to replace (a) obsolete and (b) unusable rifles used by cadet organisations in the UK; and what the timetable is for rifle replacement for cadets. [60261]

Mr. Ingram: There have been no discussions with the cadet organisations about rifle stocks and replacements. There are currently sufficient stocks of all types of cadet rifles. Future options, including replacement and extending the life of the. current weapons, will be considered as part of the Department's normal planning process.

Civil Contingency Reaction Force

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel from each of the 14 Territorial Army infantry regiments are signed up for Civil Contingency Reaction Force duties. [62638]

Mr. Touhig: This information is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria he uses to decide whether potential contractors are a bad financial risk. [60579]

Mr. Ingram: It is not the Ministry of Defence's practice to place a contract with a supplier if there are reasonable doubts about that supplier's ability to meet its contractual obligations.

The policy guidance currently available to MOD commercial officers when assessing a potential supplier's financial status is in the public domain and can be found on the MOD's Acquisition Management website at: under the Commercial Managers Toolkit (CMT)/Guidance/Topic Guidance/A-ZTopics(from drop down menu)/"Company Financial Status", particularly paragraphs 33 to 46 headed Financial Capability Assessment".


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British troops are deployed in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan. [62402]

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Mr. Ingram: As of 28 March there are around 8,000 United Kingdom forces deployed in Iraq. The UK currently has approximately 2,400 service personnel in Afghanistan both as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission and the International Coalition. This figure includes personnel deployed as part of the commitment of forces to Southern Afghanistan that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 26 January.

Far East Prisoners of War

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many claims for the Far East Prisoner of War ex gratia payment have been paid to claimants who were interned in Red Cross and Church Homes. [62540]

Mr. Touhig: We do not have figures for the total number of claimants who may have been paid in these categories, in particular because place of internment was not investigated for this who qualified on the basis of lists of those who had been eligible either individually or as the child of a head of family", under the 1950s scheme based on liquidated Japanese Assets. The information held is as follows:

These payments were made in error, mostly during the early stages of the scheme before it was decided that these locations should not qualify as internment".

First World War (Pardons)

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 27 March 2006, reference 60973, how many (a) letters, (b) emails and (c) petitions he has received in each year since 1992 which support the argument that posthumous pardons should not be granted to those soldiers executed in the First World War; and how many signatures were on each petition. [62616]

Mr. Touhig: This information is not held in the format requested. The figures relating to the numbers of the communications received since 1992 on the subject of pardons for the soldiers executed during the First World War and to the views expressed have not been collated. It is understood that some of the earlier correspondence may not have been retained and the cost of the work required to compile the information requested would in any event be disproportionate. I can, however, say that the communications opposing posthumous pardons represent a small proportion of the total.


Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there was British (a) military and (b) civilian involvement in the initial incident involving two vehicles in Basra on 6 March 2006; and whether British troops discharged their weapons in the aftermath of the incident. [58252]

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Mr. Ingram [holding answer 13 March 2006]: There was no UK military or civilian involvement in the initial incident. UK military responded, during which they came under fire and fired six shots in reply. As far as we are aware no one was injured as a result.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK reservists, and from which regiments, will be serving in Iraq in May in 2006. [61842]

Mr. Touhig: I refer the hon. Member to the written statement made by my right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary, 6 December 2005, Official Report, column 85–6W about the number of reservists that we plan to deploy to Iraq. On current plans, RAF and Army reservists will be called from the following regiments, arms and branches:

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what strategy is in place in Iraq to achieve the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration on non-state militia (a) nationally and (b) in multi-national sector (south-east). [61843]

John Reid: With our coalition partners we continue to press the Iraqi authorities, both at a national and provincial level, to recognise and take action on the issue of militias. The new Iraqi constitution continues the broad policy reflected in the Coalition Provisional Authority Order 91 which set out to integrate individuals, rather than formed militia units, into the Iraqi Security Forces.
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Once a new Government is in place, we will strongly encourage it to enact further legislation to control and, ultimately, disband these groups. The development of professional and politically neutral Iraqi Security Forces will be key for the Iraqi Government to have a monopoly on the use of force.

The strategy in multi-national division (south-east) is in line with the national approach and at the local level we are engaged with the provincial chiefs of police in order to make progress on the militia issues.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of security contractors employed by private military companies in Iraq. [61849]

John Reid: The Ministry of Defence does not contract any private military companies or private security companies in Iraq, and we do not monitor the numbers employed by third parties.

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated cost was of (a) deploying and (b) recovering troops and equipment to and from (i) Iraq and (ii) Kuwait between April 2003 and December 2005. [61852]

Mr. Ingram: Operational costs directly relating to the deployment and recovery of troops and equipment from Kuwait and Iraq were subsumed within the overall operation in Iraq. The annual audited figures for the costs of operations in Iraq for the financial year 2003–04 were £1,311 million and 2004–05 £910 million.

Estimated annual costs for operations in Iraq of £1,098 million in 2005–06 were included in spring supplementary estimates published in February. Final figures will be published in the Ministry of Defence's annual report and accounts for 2005–06 following audit by the National Audit Office.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the replacement costs of military equipment damaged and destroyed in Iraq since the start of the war (a) in total and (b) for (i) tanks and other armoured vehicles, (ii) aircraft and (iii) helicopters; and whether these costs are included in the net additional costs of operations in Iraq. [62189]

Mr. Ingram: The cost of replacing military equipment damaged and destroyed in Iraq is estimated at around £100 million, including £40 million for aircraft and £28 million for helicopters. We do not currently plan to replace any tanks or armoured vehicles as we assess their fleet sizes are sufficient to meet planned out of service dates. These figures are included in annual estimates of the net additional cost of the operation as they are incurred.

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