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5 July 2006 : Column 1099W—continued


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which organisations are being supported with public funding to encourage aspiring tennis players to stay in the sport. [82265]

Mr. Caborn: Significant levels of funding are being provided to the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to support grass roots tennis, increase participation and support talented young athletes. Sport England is providing £8 million in Exchequer funding over the period 2005-09 to support the strategic priorities contained in the LTA's Whole Sport plan. These priorities are to attract and retain juniors in the sport; to increase standards and develop better players through a strong network of tennis providers and to develop talented players and coaches to achieve sustained international success.

Over the same period the LTA has also been provided with £9.4 million in lottery funding through the Community Club Development programme to
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assist them to develop community sports clubs in order to increase participation and widen access.

The British Tennis Foundation has been awarded £455,000 in 2005-06 and £272,000 in 2006-07 to deliver the Government's PE, School Sport and Club Links programme. The programme aims to increase the take- up of sporting opportunities by five to 16-year-olds so that 85 per cent. of children by 2008 experience a minimum of two hours high quality PE and school sport within and beyond the curriculum each week.

The Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) has supported young tennis players to enable them to continue in their education while pursuing their sporting ambition. During 2004-05 and 2005-06, TASS supported 48 and 66 tennis players respectively.

In addition four tennis players have received support through the TASS 2012 programme. Over £310,000 has been provided by TASS to help athletes with their sporting costs and support services.



Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the distribution is of UK forces between Operation Enduring Freedom and security assistance to the Afghan Government; and whether personnel may be moved between each role. [81840]

Des Browne [holding answer 3 July 2006]: When the UK forces’ current deployment to Afghanistan is complete, there will be around 5,000 troops deployed to Afghanistan, of which the majority will be under the command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) with a small number, including the training teams in Kabul and a number of staff officers remaining under Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) control. Our detachment of Harrier GR7s will be available to support both ISAF and OEF. These are separate and distinct missions, although troops deployed on OEF may also act in support of the NATO mission.

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the deployment of 16 Air Assault Brigade to Afghanistan is due to cease. [81994]

Des Browne: The deployment of HQ 16 Air Assault Brigade and associated force elements will end as planned in October.

An announcement on which units will replace them will be made in the House in due course.

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 27 June 2006, Official Report, column 2511W, on Afghanistan, what the time interval was between notification of the incident to the local HQ and the arrival of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter on the scene. [82244]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 4 July 2006]: The CH-47 Chinook helicopter reaches the scene of the incident within the time period determined by the medical planning guidelines for emergency responses of this type. I am withholding the exact details as disclosure
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would, or would be likely to prejudice the security of the armed forces. However, a recently completed post-incident report found no fault with the CASEVAC service.

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the quality of the intelligence information available to coalition and NATO forces in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [82622]

Des Browne: We constantly assess and evaluate the information and intelligence available to coalition and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Such material is evaluated and, where necessary, graded to ensure only reliable and credible material is used.


Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which proposed new facilities and refurbishment projects at Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston are funded from the £1,050 million allocation announced on 19 July 2005. [79091]

Des Browne: The programme of extra investment at the Atomic Weapons Establishment embraces a range of activity necessary to sustain Trident for its remaining in-service life. Investment will be made in essential accommodation improvements, business communications, infrastructure, laser physics, hydrodynamics, materials science, high performance computing, uranium component manufacture, fissile and special materials handling, explosives handling, and assembly/disassembly. In the absence of the ability to undertake live nuclear testing in the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty era, this investment is necessary to provide assurance that the existing Trident warhead stockpile remains safe and reliable.

Colchester Garrison

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 26 June 2006, Official Report, column 20, on Colchester Garrison, (1) how many houses the Department is renting from the private sector to accommodate soldiers from the Colchester Garrison; [81780]

(2), how many bed spaces will be provided at the new Colchester Garrison; and whether he expects there to be a shortfall of bed spaces. [81781]

Mr. Ingram: Pursuant to my answer of 26 June 2006, Official Report, column 20, on Colchester Garrison, I can confirm that 55 houses/flats are rented from the private sector to house the 56 soldiers living in Substitute Service Single Accommodation (SSSA).

An additional 48 rented properties are no longer required and are in the process of being handed back to the private sector.

We can confirm that we do not anticipate a shortfall in bed spaces at the new Colchester Garrison based on the current endorsed requirement. The total number of bed spaces is 2,232 and not 2,231 as I said in my reply on 26 June 2006, Official Report, column 20.

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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average cost to his Department was of replying to a letter written (a) by an hon. Member and (b) by a member of the public in the latest period for which figures are available; and how much of that sum is accounted for by (i) officials’ time, (ii) cost of stationery and (iii) postage costs. [80473]

Mr. Watson: The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members/Peers correspondence. The report for 2005 was published on 30 March 2006, Official Report, columns 76-78WS.

The information requested is not recorded and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost, however it is of note that the Department has received a total of in excess of 15,000 letters from both hon. Members and members of the public over the past 12 months.

Credit Unions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department will provide information and membership forms for credit unions to its employees. [79942]

Mr. Watson: The Government welcome the contribution made by the various savings institutions in providing for greater choice and diversity in the financial services sector.

The Government’s guiding principles are to ensure impartiality and to help create a level playing field for all providers of financial services in order that their specific attributes can be properly harnessed.

It would therefore be inconsistent for a Government Department to favour credit unions above other financial institutions.

Employees are of course free to join in credit unions if they meet their relevant membership criteria and Departments may provide appropriate levels of support if employees wish to set up a credit union.

Deaths in Action

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Department’s policy on the publication of the names of members of the armed forces killed in action has changed since 27 June 2006; and if he will make a statement. [82620]

Des Browne: There has not been a change in the Ministry of Defence’s policy on the publication of the names of members of the armed forces killed in action.

Defence Analytical Services Agency

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Reserve Forces data TSP07 for 1 April will be available on the Defence Analytical Services Agency website. [82577]

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Mr. Watson: The anticipated publication date of Reserve Forces (TSP07) at 1 April 2006 is August 2006. Data will be made available on the Defence Analytical Services Agency website immediately upon publication. I will write to the hon. Member to confirm when this has been done.

Defence Training Review

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contribution the implementation of the two packages comprising the Defence Training Review private finance initiative programme will make to departmental targets for (a) improved quality of training, (b) cost reduction and (c) contractions of the defence estate. [81425]

Mr. Watson: The Defence Training Review Programme aims to provide the best possible living and learning environment for our people. This programme will make a positive contribution to improving the quality of training while reducing costs through the reduction of the Defence Estate. I am not in a position to make any detailed comment on the exact impact of the Defence Training Review as this will be entirely dependent on the solutions put forward by the Preferred Bidders. An announcement is not expected before the end of the year.

Departmental Premises (Security)

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are in place to ensure that no illegal immigrants are employed in the manned guarding of his Department's premises. [80800]

Mr. Watson: The Ministry of Defence has a rigorous basic check process, based on Government guidance given in the Cabinet Office's Manual of Protective Security. The basic check is applied to every employee of the MOD, and to contractors' employees working on MOD property. This employment/recruitment check aims to verify identity and nationality details, requires the applicant to declare unspent criminal convictions, and follows up the applicant's employment references.

We are aware that identity fraud is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and we are taking additional measures to increase the likelihood of illegal immigrants being detected before they are employed. These include the introduction across Government of a more rigorous baseline personnel security standard, replacing the basic check.

Extraordinary Rendition

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, further to his answer of 7 February 2006, Official Report, column 1083W to the hon. Member for Camarthen, East and Dinefwr (Adam Price), on extraordinary rendition, what records were checked in giving his reply. [75033]

Mr. Ingram: Officials consulted both operational reports and records from deployed headquarters in the relevant theatres.

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Food Supply Contracts

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 27 June 2006, Official Report, column 5WS, on defence food supply contracts, for what reasons Purple Foodservice Solutions was selected as the provider of food services; what process was followed to select the provider; and which other companies applied to be considered. [82075]

Mr. Ingram: Purple Foodservice Solutions presented the lowest risk and most technically compliant bid which, overall, offered the best value for money. The contract was run under Public Procurement Regulations, which take full account of UK and EU procurement legislation. The other companies that submitted bids were 3663, First for Foodservice, and Brakes Foodservice Solutions.

Gulf War Veterans

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps have been taken by his Department towards commissioning (a) endocrine studies and (b) genetics studies of Gulf War veterans; and if he will make a statement. [81625]

Mr. Watson: The Ministry of Defence is guided on its programme of research into Gulf veterans' illnesses by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and has undertaken studies into: the anthropology of “Gulf War Syndrome”, cancer, changing health, mortality/morbidity, neuromuscular symptoms, paraoxonase, reproductive health, testing for squalene in vaccines and vaccines interactions. I am aware of a concern on the part of the Gulf Veterans Association and National Gulf Veterans and Families Association that research should be undertaken on possible endocrine and/or genetics aspects of the illnesses experienced by veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf Conflict, as well as on the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate. We are awaiting detailed proposals which we will then refer to the MRC for their independent advice on the case for the Department commissioning such research, taking account of research already being undertaken elsewhere.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on research into Gulf War Syndrome, broken down by area of expenditure. [81626]

Mr. Watson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given in another place on 22 June 2006, Official Report, column WA99 by my noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Procurement (Lord Drayson) to the noble Lord, Lord Morris of Manchester.


Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average cost is of (a) recruitment of an infantryman and (b) training an infantryman from
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recruitment to being ready for overseas deployment in an active formation in the latest period for which figures are available. [82518]

Mr. Watson: The average costs of recruiting and training an infantryman during financial year 2004-05, the latest period for which figures are available, were as follows:

Financial year 2004-05 Costs (£)



Training phase 1 and 2—the Combat Infantryman Course


Notes: 1. Costs are calculated on an accrual basis and include non cash items such as depreciation and cost of capital. 2. Only costs that are within the Army Recruiting and Training Division spend are included. 3. There has been no apportionment of indirect headquarters costs to the training and recruiting outputs

Training of infantry recruits is conducted at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) Catterick. Since 2000 the infantry have had a combined phase 1 and 2 course at Catterick, the Combat Infantry Course, which prepares the infantryman for his first appointment with the field Army.

Once an infantryman has completed his Combat Infantryman Course at ITC Catterick, he is ready to be deployed on operational service after the completion of the appropriate pre-deployment training, the cost of which is negligible.

All infantrymen will also undergo phase 3 training during their career, known as Career Training, which provides the soldier with professional development and
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career progression once he has joined his regiment; this training is also conducted through the ITC and costs on average £8,000.

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