Previous Section Index Home Page

4 Sep 2006 : Column 1695W—continued

Deposited Papers

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the deposited papers placed in the Library by his Department since 2000; and when they were published. [81289]

Mr. Watson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend, the Leader of the House, on Monday 3 July 2006, Official Report, column 729W.

4 Sep 2006 : Column 1696W

Detached Duty

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) average, (b) highest and (c) lowest number of days detached duty over the last 12 months was for each of the Royal Air Force pinch point trades identified in his Department's annual report and accounts 2005-06. [87035]

Mr. Watson: Separated service information for the period 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006 is shown in the table(1).

The table shows all types of detachment including operational deployments (formed and non formed units). South Atlantic deployments and pre-deployment training, routine tasks, formal staff visits, non operational unestablished commitments such as the Royal International Air Tattoo and routine career training not associated with a planned operational deployment. Separated service for the RAF is only reported for absence of three or more consecutive nights.

Average days Highest days Lowest days

Junior Officer Pilots




Weapons System Operators (Air load Masters)




Weapons System Operators (Linguists)




Operations Support (Fighter Controller)




Operations Support (Provost Security)




Medical Officers




Princess Mary RAF Nursing Service




Disability Access

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any building in his Department falls short of disability access regulations. [73091]

Mr. Watson: Within the Ministry of Defence access requirements can vary between buildings, dependent on their use, occupancy and following a risk assessment. This Department acts within the disability regulations and Part M building regulations. Government Departments are subject to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which requires them to make reasonable access arrangements for disabled people.

Factors such as the practicability of making an adjustment to premises and the extent to which these overcome the difficulties faced by disabled people may be taken into account in determining what is reasonable.

Commanding officers and heads of establishments are responsible for defence establishments and carry out risk assessments in line with departmental guidance to ensure compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act and other relevant regulations.

4 Sep 2006 : Column 1697W

Disabled Staff

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was paid to his Department from the access to work scheme for adjustments for disabled staff in the last year for which figures are available; from what budget he plans to meet the costs of reasonable adjustments for disabled staff following withdrawal of access to work funding for central Government departments; and if he will make a statement. [89019]

Mr. Watson: Although the Ministry of Defence makes full use of Access to Work in assessing the needs of its disabled staff for reasonable adjustments in the workplace, it does not collect the numbers of disabled staff receiving adaptations and equipment paid for by access to work nor do we keep a central record of the associated costs for such reasonable adjustments.

The MOD currently funds all reasonable adjustments from a budget held centrally. This budget will be disaggregated to the MoD's business units with effect from April 2007. They will be responsible for funding all reasonable adjustments in the workplace in their areas.


Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place (a) in the Library and (b) on his Department’s website a copy of the presentation made by the Atomic Weapons Establishment to the 2005 nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference on verification aspects of disarmament, referred to in paragraph 59 of his Department’s annual report and accounts for 2005-06, HC1394. [86904]

Des Browne: The presentation to the 2005 nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference related to the UK working paper on the Atomic Weapons Establishment’s research into the verification aspects of nuclear disarmament. Following the review conference in May last year, it has been available on the FCO website ( I have now made it available on the MOD website ( and will arrange for it to be placed in the Library of the House.


Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the official visits made to major units and bases of the (a) Royal Navy, (b) Army and (c) Royal Air Force in each of the past three years by Ministers holding non-Defence portfolios. [56583]

Mr. Watson [holding answer 6 March 2006]: The information is not held centrally and could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

Equipment (Unaccounted)

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) weapons, (b) ammunition and (c) equipment could not be accounted for in each year since 2000. [64249]

4 Sep 2006 : Column 1698W

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


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether modifications made to airframes of Ethiopian MiG fighters undertaken by Hunting Engineering prior to the Eritrea-Ethiopian conflict of 1998 to 2000 required the approval of his Department; what discussions took place between (a) his Department and (b) the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency and (i) Hunting Engineering and (ii) the Ethiopian Government on this contract; and what the purpose of the modifications were; [65534]

(2) when he expects to answer Question 65534, on Ethiopian MiG fighters, tabled by the hon. Member for Stroud on 20 April. [84394]

Mr. Ingram: Available records for the period before the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea indicate that an official of the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) was briefed in December 1996 on the requirement of the Ethiopian Air Force to upgrade its MiG21 aircraft. Records indicate that DESO made arrangements for Ethiopian officials to visit the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) and Hunting Engineering (now Insys) in March 1997. Subsequently, DERA won contracts for project management advice on the upgrade programme. We have found no evidence of discussions involving the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Government. Nor have we found any record of actions by Hunting Engineering connected with the programme for which the approval of the Ministry of Defence was required.

Far East Civilian Internees

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made by the working group on the introduction of the 20-year residence criterion for the settlements for second world war far east civilian internees; and if he will make a statement. [85463]

Mr. Watson: I announced the agreement and implementation of the detailed rules for the new 20-year residence criterion for the ex-gratia payment scheme for former far east prisoners of war and civilian internees on 26 June 2006, Official Report, column 9. A copy of the detailed rules has been placed in the Library of the House. The Veterans Agency is presently writing to applicants who they are aware may qualify and the Association of British Civilian Internees Far East Region has agreed to highlight the implementation of the new criterion through their newsletter. In view of the age of those who may be eligible, we are working to consider applications as quickly as possible, and I am pleased to say that the first payment was made on the day of the announcement.

4 Sep 2006 : Column 1699W


Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many helicopters were in service with the (a) Army Air Corps, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force in each year since 1997. [84804]

Mr. Ingram: The number of Army Air Corps, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in each year since 1997 is shown in the following table:

Army Air Corps Royal Navy Royal Air Force Total















































Peter Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has for facilities for afloat primary casualty receiving capabilities. [72581]

Mr. Watson [holding answer 25 May 2006]: RFA Argus is designated as the primary casualty reception ship. We are considering options for the future provision of afloat medical capability.

ICT Training

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many army recruits have undergone basic information and communications technology training in each year since 2001. [87700]

Mr. Watson: On enlistment, Army recruits join a Phase 1 training establishment and undertake an intensive 14-week period of basic training. During this period of basic training, there is no formal IT training provided.

Junior entry (JE) recruits at the Army Foundation College (AFC) undertake a 42-week course and IT training forms part of their vocational education leading to the award of a foundation modern apprenticeship. From financial year 2001-02 to 2005-06 5,080(1) JE soldiers completed their training at the AFC. This figure also includes those JE soldiers who passed through the Army Technical Foundation College Arborfield prior to its merger with the AFC in September 2004.

At those Phase 2 training establishments where trainees are required to have a comprehensive understanding of IT, such as the Defence College of Communications and Information Systems, soldiers receive appropriate IT training for them to be able to operate the Army's increasingly complex weapons and communication systems.

4 Sep 2006 : Column 1700W

Injured British Servicemen (Treatment)

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British troops were aero-medically evacuated from Iraq by US forces for treatment at US facilities in Ramstein, Germany in each of the last 12 months. [82052]

Mr. Ingram: In the last 12 months nine UK soldiers have been aero-medically evacuated from Baghdad to Ramstein by US forces.

All of them were subsequently returned to the United Kingdom and are included in our current TELIC Aeromed reporting published on the Ministry of Defence website.

International Anti-terror Exercise

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the Stepnoy Orel-2006 (Steppe Eagle) international anti-terror exercise; and what (a) UK and (b) international forces were involved. [54406]

Mr. Ingram: Exercise Steppe Eagle takes place annually, and focuses on increasing interoperability between Kazakh and UK—and, therefore, NATO —forces, in the realm of peace support operations. The exercise involves the deployment of a UK infantry company to Kazakhstan for joint training.

This year's exercise is due to take place at the beginning of September, and will comprise:

Military officers from the United States, Turkey and Kyrgyzstan took an observer role in last year's Steppe Eagle. This year, 22 personnel from the United States will take part in the exercise itself, and there will again be Turkish observers.

Next Section Index Home Page