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25 May 2006 : Column 1991W—continued

Military Aircraft

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Canberra, (b) Nimrod and (c) Tornado GR4A aircraft are (i) in service and (ii) fit for purpose. [71920]

Mr. Ingram: The following table shows the numbers of Canberra, Nimrod and Tornado GR aircraft that are planned to be in service at the end of March 2007, and that were fit for purpose (FFP) last month.

Aircraft type Total fleet Number of Aircraft FFP (Average for April 2006)( 1)







Tornado GR(4)



(1) Figures are rounded to the nearest whole number.
(2) The Canberra fleet is due to be withdrawn from service this year. Because of the small size of the Canberra fleet, FFP is recorded in terms of sorties.
(3) Includes Nimrod Rl and Nimrod MR2 aircraft.
(4) Tornado GR4A fleet numbers are not recorded separately.

Aircraft are deemed fit for purpose if they are capable of undertaking the required task on a given day. Aircraft are not available for tasking if they are undergoing scheduled maintenance, modification programmes or any other unforeseen rectification work that can arise on a day to day basis. The figures do not reflect the fact that an aircraft assessed as not fit for purpose may be returned to the front line at very short notice to meet the operational need.

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Military Vehicles

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many working armoured Land Rovers were in the Army's possession in each year since 2001. [72080]

Mr. Ingram: Between 2001 and 2006 a fleet of 982 protected Land Rovers has been maintained. However, as it is not the Ministry of Defence policy to have the whole fleet available to support the front line at all times, vehicles are subject to an ongoing programme of maintenance or repair. The numbers of available Land Rovers is therefore subject to change and the information requested is not held. During the period all operational and training requirements have been met. Those vehicles damaged on operations are either repaired or replaced as necessary.


Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what direct funding the UK has allocated to the Royal Nepalese Army in 2006-07. [73723]

Mr. Ingram: Following action in February 2005 by the King of Nepal to assume direct personal rule, UK military assistance to the Royal Nepalese Army was significantly reduced. The funding planned for military assistance this financial year (2006-07) is £7,523,000. It covers human rights training, explosive ordnance disposal equipment and training, help to develop professionalism and aid to develop a military engineering capability. In light of the welcome political changes currently taking place in Nepal, HMG is currently reviewing its policy of assistance to the country.

Nuclear Powered Submarines

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the procedure is for dealing with reactor start-up effluent from nuclear powered submarines using X berths; and if he will make a statement. [73322]

Mr. Ingram: Effluent is not produced by reactor start up but by the warming up process. Reactor warm up effluent from Swiftsure and Trafalgar class nuclear powered submarines using X berths is dealt with in accordance with standard operating procedures. At HM Naval Base Clyde it is collected in a primary effluent tank and taken for treatment prior to disposal. At HM Naval Base Devonport effluent is collected either directly into the effluent treatment system or in a primary effluent tank and taken for treatment prior to disposal. For Vanguard class submarines (and the Astute class when they enter service) the effluent is kept on board the submarine and reused when the reactor has cooled down.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with whom responsibility lies for (a) monitoring of any discharges from nuclear powered submarines using (i) Z berths and (ii) X berths and (b) clean-up operations which may be required; and if he will make a statement. [73323]

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Mr. Ingram: Discharges directly to the environment from nuclear powered submarines at Z berths and X berths are not permitted.

The responsibility for monitoring and clean-up operations, should any be required, rests with the dockyard companies, naval base commanders or the Royal Navy, depending on the location of the berth.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Environmental Sciences Department monitors the level of radioactive pollution around Z and X berths as part of its wider marine environmental survey programme, the findings from which are published annually.

Priory Clinic Group

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has paid to the Priory Clinic Group for psychiatric services in each of the last five years. [73737]

Mr. Watson: The Ministry of Defence’s contract with the Priory Group, which commenced on 1 April 2004, only provides in-patient care. Community-based care is available to every military unit through our 15 Departments of Community Mental Health, located in military establishments in the UK, with additional satellite units in Germany and Cyprus. Medical diagnosis is performed by fully trained and accredited mental health personnel with a full range of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) platinum standard psychiatric treatments. These help to ensure better access to mental health support within or close to an individual’s unit or home. Community-based psychiatry also means Defence Medical Service mental health staff work within their local service community, and so are more closely aligned with their operational role.

The following table gives the sums paid by MOD to the Priory Group since April 2004, plus costs for interim services provided by the Priory Group between December 2003 and the start of the current contract. This figure takes into account the cost of assessing patients as well as any treatment programmes provided. The Priory contract replaced the care provided by the Duchess of Kent Psychiatric Hospital whose costs in its final year of operation were some £10 million.

25 May 2006 : Column 1994W
Financial year Amount spent (£)







2006 to date




Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether military psychiatric services were contracted to the Priory Clinic Group without open tender, with particular reference to an opportunity for the NHS to submit a bid. [73739]

Mr. Watson: The requirement for the provision of a regionally based in-patient psychiatric healthcare service was put out to competitive tender by the Ministry of Defence Commercial Branch in Glasgow in accordance with MOD policy. During the tendering process, an Industry Day was held on 15 April 2003, attended by four out of the five companies who had originally responded to the relevant adverts. Subsequently, Invitations to Tender were issued to three of the four companies who had attended the Industry Day. The Priory Group's tender best met our requirements for high quality in-patient care, without delay and on a regional basis, and they were awarded the contract. Whilst NHS providers did have the opportunity to bid, there were no expressions of interest from the NHS.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 3 June 2005, Official Report, columns 242-3W, on the private finance initiative, what total value of assets and liabilities for each of the listed private finance initiatives and public private partnerships is recorded on the Government Balance Sheet; what proportion of assets and liabilities is listed; what the accounting treatment is for assets and liabilities; and whether it is compatible with (a) generally-accepted accounting practices and (b) international financial reporting standards. [15963]

Mr. Ingram: 10 projects are on the Ministry of Defence Balance Sheet from the 49 Private Finance Initiative Projects (PFI) listed in my reply of 13 June 2005, Official Report, column 16W. The following table provides details of the 10 On Balance Sheet projects, their asset and liability values and values of these projects expressed as a proportion of the Department totals. The financial data given in the Table accords with the data published in the MOD Annual Reports & Accounts 2004-05.

25 May 2006 : Column 1995W

25 May 2006 : Column 1996W
MOD On Balance sheet PFI projects—FY 2004-05
Project Title Asset Liability

Defence Animal Centre (DAC)



Defence Electronic Commerce Service (DECS)



Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS)



Field Electrical Power Supplies (FEPS)



Heavy Equipment Transporters (HET)



Joint Services Command and Staff College—Excluding DHE Off Balance Sheet Element



Main Building Refurbishment



Naval Communications



RAF Fylingdales (Power)



RAF Lossiemouth Family Quarters






Proportion percentage of all MoD



The Storage Facilities PFI Project has never resided on the MOD Balance Sheet; it resides on the DTI Balance Sheet.

The Accounting Treatment judgements applied to assets and liabilities are based on:

The objective of the Technical Note (TN) is to provide additional practical guidance to public sector bodies on certain areas of the Application Note to ensure that the overarching principles of the Application Note are consistently applied.

The Accounting Treatment judgements are made in compliance with UK Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (UKGAAP). International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) have not yet been adopted by HMG for Public Sector reporting.

It should be noted that differences between asset and liability valuations arise due to timing differences emanating from respective write down procedures; Assets are written down on a straight line basis whereas financial liabilities are written down on an actuarial or equivalent basis in accordance with MoD accounting guidance.

Private Members' Bills

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those Private Members' Bills in respect of which his Department has adopted a policy of neutrality in each session since 2001-02; and if he will make a statement. [72478]

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

RAF Heavy Lift

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to augment the RAF's heavy lift capability. [72284]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 22 May 2006]: We keep our airlift capability under review to ensure that we have access to sufficient capacity to support operations and, where necessary, we charter heavy lift aircraft. We plan to purchase from Boeing the four in-service C-17s currently on lease, and we are looking at the possibility of purchasing a fifth, though we have not yet made a final decision. The RAF's lift capability will also be considerably enhanced when the A400M comes into service early in the next decade.

Training Areas

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many tactical training areas there are in the West Midlands region. [73461]

Mr. Watson: There are seven training areas in total in the West Midlands, of which only three are designated as tactical training areas. These are at Swynnerton, Nesscliff and Leek/Upper Hulme.

Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent research has been commissioned by his Department into the development of unmanned combat aerial vehicles. [71524]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence is pursuing a twin-track strategy for exploring the conceptual thinking and the underlying technology for unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs).

The first strand of this strategy concentrates on the concepts of employment, interoperability and cost effectiveness of UCAVs with specific emphasis on a UK/US coalition warfare environment. This work is being carried out as a collaborative Government-to-Government project arrangement under the auspices of the US Joint Unmanned Combat Air System Programme (J-UCAS) and began in March 2005.

The second strand ensures we continue to work with UK industry to develop and explore critical technologies which have relevance to all types of Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles (such as survivability, propulsion and vehicle management). Central to this, and as set out in the Defence Industrial Strategy, will be a Technology Demonstrator Programme. Subject to a satisfactory value for money proposal, we hope to proceed with this later this year. It will be aimed at giving us and industry a better understanding of our indigenous capabilities, to inform any potential acquisition by the UK of a future UCAV capability.

Veterans Day

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer about the (a) merits and (b) timing of a Veterans’ Day (i) prior to and (ii) after the decision was announced. [59677]

25 May 2006 : Column 1997W

Mr. Watson [holding answer 20 March 2006]: HM Treasury and Defence Ministers regularly discuss issues relating to defence and security matters, including measures to ensure Veterans receive the recognition they deserve. One such discussion, which had been informed by prior consultation with the Confederation of British Service and Ex-Service Organisations (COBSEO) led to the announcement on 13 February by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer about Veterans Day. The announcement had been preceded by a joint presentation of medals to Veterans by the Chancellor and the then Secretary of State for Defence.

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