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25 July 2006 : Column 1542W—continued

Peacekeeping

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the capacity of the Army to undertake its peacekeeping roles effectively. [88806]

Mr. Ingram: While we recognise that the Army is busy I am confident that it is able to meet all its current peacekeeping commitments.

Piracy

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent steps his Department has taken to counter the threat posed by piracy in international waters. [87705]

Mr. Ingram: United Kingdom Government policy for counter-piracy primarily rests with the Transport Security and Contingencies Directorate of the Department for Transport and also the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They have a coordinated counter-piracy strategy and action plan designed to protect seafarers and ships from piracy attack. This work has been presented to the International Maritime Organization and other international organisations and States to encourage a more coordinated effort to combat the problem.

Royal Navy ships, while not specifically committed to counter-piracy duties, will, whenever they are on hand to do so, take all appropriate measures to respond to incidents of piracy on the high seas in accordance with international law. Furthermore, the Royal Navy works closely with the Department for Transport on shipping protection issues and maintains a worldwide Maritime Trade Operations policy which enables it to offer a number of options to support merchant shipping. These range from provision of routine advice and guidance, through to active protection of merchant vessels.

Private Military Companies

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to establish (a) operating standards and (b) licensing controls for the regulation of private military companies. [88108]

Dr. Howells: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply (UIN 87939) on the current Government position regarding regulation of private military and security companies. The review of options for regulation covers both of the issues raised by the hon. Member.


25 July 2006 : Column 1543W

Project MASS

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made on project MASS (Munitions Acquisition the Supply Solution). [86656]

Mr. Ingram: Project MASS is currently in its Assessment Phase which seeks to identify the best options to provide us with the operational capability our armed forces need combined with the best long term value for money.

Service Personnel (Dismissal)

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel have been sacked from the armed forces on the grounds of their sexuality since the first year for which figures are available; how many have been compensated; what the (a) highest and (b) average amount of compensation is; how many whose cases have not yet been determined remain to be compensated; how many have had compensation refused; how many were denied compensation on a Limitation Act 1980 based defence; and if he will make a statement. [87790]

Mr. Watson [holding answer 24 July 2006]: The Ministry of Defence does not hold centralised records of those personnel who left or were dismissed on grounds of their sexual orientation. However, 38 personnel have received compensation. The highest compensation award was £147,875, with the average award being £35,598. 62 claims remain to be settled. 57 had compensation refused. The Ministry of Defence has not relied upon the Limitation Act 1980 in defence of any of these claims.

Spare Parts

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the spare parts availability shortfall rate is for (a) Typhoon and (b) Hercules C-130 aircraft. [87036]

Mr. Ingram: For the Typhoon aircraft I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 14 June 2006, Official Report, column 1236W, to the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth).

For the Hercules fleet, spares demands satisfied from MOD stocks average 90 per cent. for the C-130K, and 75 per cent. for the C-130J. Spare parts availability for the Hercules fleet as a whole has been sufficient to meet its operational commitments.

Submarine Flotilla

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made on the development of a programme level partnering agreement with a single industrial entity for the full life cycle of the submarine flotilla; and if he will make a statement. [86664]

Mr. Ingram: We remain convinced of the need for consolidation in the submarine industrial base and detailed discussions with industry on the scope of a
25 July 2006 : Column 1544W
possible programme level partnering agreement are continuing. Improved supply chain management must also take place to safeguard capability and to incentivise better performance; working level negotiations continue with the key elements of industry on this basis. Given the number of industrial players in the submarine domain, consolidation to one entity may not be possible; other solutions such as an alliance or a joint venture are also being examined. MOD is considering a number of possible options with industry; none of these have yet resulted in an acceptable way ahead, but negotiation is under way.

Systems (Core Load)

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what progress his Department has made in arriving at a common understanding of the core load required to sustain high-end design, systems engineering and combat systems integration skills; and if he will make a statement; [86660]

(2) when he expects to produce a sustainability strategy for key maritime industrial capabilities; and if he will make a statement. [86662]

Mr. Ingram: We are making progress on assessing the Core Work Load required to sustain the maritime Key Industrial Capabilities, though we have not achieved the target of completing this within six months of publication of the Defence Industrial Strategy. This work is complex and it is important to ensure the links and coherency between the surface ship, submarine and support programmes are right. Industry has been, and will continue to be, involved. As the sustainability strategy for key maritime equipment industrial capabilities is intimately linked to this work, this has also been delayed. We will ensure that this work is completed efficiently and effectively and as quickly as possible.

Tour Intervals

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) average, (b) shortest and (c) longest tour interval was for the (i) RAF Field Regiment, (ii) RAF Rapier, (iii) RAF Biological Detection and (iv) Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment squadrons. [87021]

Mr. Ingram: All Royal Air Force personnel are liable to be deployed overseas to support operations. The following table gives the details of tour intervals between operational deployments of formed units during the three year period from July 2003 to June 2006.


25 July 2006 : Column 1545W
Months
Average tour interval Short tour interval Longest tour interval

RAF Regiment Field Squadrons

13

12

16

RAF Rapier Squadrons

12

5

18

RAF Biological Detection Squadron(1)

Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment Squadrons(1)

(1) Neither the RAF biological detection squadron (embedded within the Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment) nor any of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment squadrons have deployed as a formed unit during the period.


US Missile Defence Agency

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many UK personnel are attached to the US Missile Defence Agency; [86666]

(2) how many US personnel are attached to the UK Missile Defence Centre. [86667]

Des Browne: The US and UK have been exchanging personnel under the terms of the Strategic Defence Initiative Memoranda of Understanding since the 1980’s. Four US personnel are currently seconded to the UK, two in the Missile Defence Centre, and two in Missile Defence Centre sponsored posts in the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. Four Ministry of Defence personnel are currently seconded to the US Missile Defence Agency.

Constitutional Affairs

Advertising Campaigns

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what advertising campaigns the Department has run between 2000 and June 2004; and what the (a) date and (b) cost was of each. [87069]

Ms Harman: The Department for Constitutional Affairs was created on 12 June 2003. My Department has conducted two advertising campaigns from then to 30 June 2004:

Project (a) Date (b) Cost (£)

Magistrate recruitment

November 2003 to June 2004

444,000

Operation Payback

March 2004

230,000


Benefit Claims (Appeals)

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many successful appeals against decisions to grant (a) disability living allowance and (b) attendance allowance as a result of (i) mistakes in interpreting medical evidence and (ii) unusable medical assessment forms there were in the last period for which figures are available. [87248]

Bridget Prentice: The information asked for is not available in the format requested as data is recorded by outcome rather than the grounds for the tribunal’s decision.

The following table gives details of the total number of disability living allowance and attendance allowance appeals received, the number cleared at a hearing and those appeals that were decided in the appellant’s favour.


25 July 2006 : Column 1546W
AA and DLA appeals, April 2005 to March 2006: Total received, cleared and cleared in favour of appellant
Benefit Received Cleared at hearing Cleared in favour

AA

7,220

5,605

2,300

DLA

82,330

71,125

35,495

Notes:
1. All figures are subject to change as more up to date data becomes available
2. Figures are rounded to the nearest five and may not sum due to founding
3. ‘Cleared in favour’ is an abbreviation of ‘Cleared in favour of the appellant’
Source:
100 per cent. download from the Generic Appeals Processing System (17-07-2006)

Community Justice Centre (North Liverpool)

Simon Hughes: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what percentage of defendants attending the Community Justice Centre in North Liverpool since May 2005 have (a) re-offended and (b) complied with their sentence. [88501]

Ms Harman: At this stage it is too early to give statistics on re-offending and compliance with sentences. The standard measure for re-offending rates is measured over two years from the date of sentence.

However, the Community Justice Centre is undergoing a comprehensive evaluation which is due to report in January 2007. This evaluation will provide an early anecdotal position on both re-offending and sentence compliance which will be compared to the same measures at a comparator court. This includes offenders being asked in telephone survey interviews and in the in-depth face to face interviews about any changes in their offending behaviour and their compliance with sentencing.

Crown Court Convictions

Simon Hughes: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment she has made of the reasons why the percentage of convictions in Crown courts which were successfully appealed against between 2000 and 2005 has increased. [88497]

Ms Harman: My Department has not made any assessment of this.

Family Court Sentences

Tim Loughton: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) how many people were sentenced to a term in prison by the family courts in each of the last five years, broken down by sex; [88035]

(2) how many people were remanded in custody by the family courts in each of the last five years, broken down by (a) sex and (b) reason. [88036]

Ms Harman: Information on how many people have been sentenced to a term in prison by the family courts in each of the last five years is not recorded.


25 July 2006 : Column 1547W

The following table shows the number of people remanded into custody upon breach of an order made under the Family Law Act 1996. The table also shows the number of people remanded on bail or for medical reports. It is not possible to break them down by gender nor reason.

Financial year Bail Custody Medical reports Total

2001-02

158

352

9

519

2002-03

203

504

16

723

2003-04

217

616

8

841

2004-05

225

565

10

800

2005-06

253

576

2

831


The above figures relate to the county courts and High Court only. Figures for family proceedings courts are not held centrally and could only be produced at disproportionate cost.


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