I refer the hon. Members to the Statement my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State
for Defence made on 24 July 2006, Official Report, columns 74-76WS. As he announced, the review recommended we buy around 100 Forces Protection Inc. Cougar, in addition to increasing the number of VECTOR vehicles being procured, and uparmouring and upgrading further FV430 vehicles. The Cougar is the vehicle best able to meet our requirement. It will provide an additional option for commanders to use as they see fit to best meet the mission and counter the threat. It will not replace the SNATCH land rover which will remain the most appropriate vehicle for some tasks.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what evaluation his Department has carried out of the (a) ADI Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle and (b) BAE systems Iraqi Light Armoured Vehicle in respect of the protection afforded from improvised explosive devices and other explosive devices; and how these vehicles compare with the Armoured Pinzgauer on order for British troops in Afghanistan; 
(2) whether his Department has evaluated the potential role of the Force Protection Inc. Buffalo Mine Clearance Vehicle in operations in Southern Iraq; and what assessment he has made of the possible role these vehicles have in developing proactive measures to reduce the improvised explosive devices threat to British Army patrols in the region; 
(3) what level of protection is afforded from mines and other explosive devices by the BAE Systems/OMC RG-31 when exploded (a) under any wheel and (b) under the cabin; and how this compares with the protection afforded by the Iveco Panther FCLV; 
(4) what evaluations have been carried out by his Department of the BAE Systems Scarab Armoured Patrol Vehicle; and what level of protection is afforded by this vehicle from mines and other explosive devices when exploded (a) under any wheel and (b) under the cabin; 
(5) whether his Department has carried out an evaluation of the protection offered by the US Navy Ultra concept vehicle project from the threat of (a) improvised explosive devices and (b) rocket-propelled grenade 7s. 
Mr. Watson: I refer the hon. Member to the statement my right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary gave on 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 75WS. Among other vehicles, the review considered the BAES OMC RG-31, the ADI Bushmaster, the US Ultra Armoured Patrol concept vehicle and the Force Protection Inc Buffalo. As the Defence Secretary announced, the review recommended that we buy around 100 Force Protection Inc Cougar as the vehicle best able to meet our requirements.
In light of the review, it was also announced that we will be increasing the number of VECTOR vehicles being procured (a Pinzgauer-based protected patrol vehicle) to supplement SNATCH. We will be up-armouring and upgrading a further 70 FV430 vehicles beyond those already on order. To safeguard our and our allies troops we do not comment on the detail of our vehicles protection levels. However, the
need to provide enhanced protection against the key threats currently faced in Iraq and Afghanistan was a key factor in our decisions.
John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many visits by Cabinet colleagues to soldiers in hospital as a result of injuries sustained in overseas missions his Department facilitated in 2006. 
The MOD facilitated a visit by the Secretary of State for Health (Ms Hewitt) to injured soldiers at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham in June 2006. This was part of a wider visit to Selly Oak NHS hospital.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the memorandum on the UK's strategic nuclear deterrent provided by his Department to the Defence Committee in November 2005, whether his Departments (a) Ministers and (b) officials are in a position to agree to the Defence Committees request for them to give evidence to their inquiry, The Future of the UKs Strategic Nuclear Deterrent: The Strategic Context. 
The Ministry of Defence has done all it can support the work of the Defence Committee on the future of the strategic nuclear deterrent. We produced
an initial memorandum, which was published on 20 January 2006. My predecessor also discussed this issue with the Defence Committee in some detail on 1 November 2005, as did I during my oral evidence session on 11 July this year. We have provided a detailed and substantive response to the Committees first report, which was published on 26 July this year, and also made arrangements for the Committee to visit key nuclear establishments over the summer recess. We will continue to do all that we can to support future inquiries by the Committee in this area.
Des Browne: We have received three requests from the House of Commons Defence Committee for information and evidence on the future of the UKs strategic nuclear deterrent. In response, we produced an initial memorandum, which was published on 20 January 2006. My predecessor also discussed this issue with the Defence Committee in some detail on 1 November 2005, as did I during my introductory session on 11 July this year. We have provided a detailed and substantive response to the Committees first report, which was published on 26 July this year, and will continue to do all that we can to support future inquiries by the Committee in this area.
|Secretary of State
|Minister for the Armed Forces
|Minister for Defence Procurement
|Under-Secretary of State
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 24 May 2006]: The total spend in financial years 2004-05 and 2005-06 by the Defence Logistics Organisation on general munitions was £228 million and £199 million respectively.
Mr. Ingram: As part of the operational welfare package, personnel serving on operations overseas are allowed 20 minutes of free telephone calls each week to anyone anywhere in the world. The financial allowance for people serving in non-operational locations overseas includes an element that is intended to cover the difference between the cost of 20 minutes of telephone calls in their location and the cost in UK.
Publicly funded telephone calls are only one component of both the operational welfare package and the calculation of local overseas allowance. While accepting that more time would be welcome, there is a balance to be struck against expenditure on other elements of support. The complete operational welfare package has recently been reviewed and the operational commanders do not see a need to re-balance it.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many seaborne attacks by armed gangs there were (a) in the Persian gulf, (b) in the vicinity of Umm Qast and (c) near the Basra oil terminal in (i) 2004, (ii) 2005 and (iii) 2006. 
Mr. Ingram: I am unable to answer the question in the format requested. However, coalition statistics on the number of maritime criminal incidents that occurred in the north Arabian gulf in 2005 and 2006 are set out in the following table. Information relating to the number of incidents in 2004 is not held.
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence has encountered a relatively low number of cases of corruption in relation to the volume and value of its contractual activity. The MOD does not use defence integrity pacts as an anti-corruption device because it considers that its existing, well established processes have served it well (see the Guideline for IndustryCode of Procurement Ethics and the Defence Condition 520Corrupt Gifts and Payments of Commission, both available through the commercial toolkit at www.ams.mod.uk).
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many public appointments are within his patronage; what (a) salary and (b) other emoluments are attached to each; and what the comparable figures were in (i) 1976, (ii) 1986 and (iii) 1996. 
Mr. Watson: The Ministry of Defence sponsors 32 public bodies: six executive non-departmental public bodies; 24 advisory non-departmental public bodies; one public corporation and one independent monitoring board. In total, these Bodies comprise 424 public appointments. These 32 public bodies include the Defence Nuclear Safety Committee which was formed in 1999 and the Central Advisory Committee on War Pensions, plus 13 War Pension Committees, which moved over to the Ministry of Defence from what is now the Department for Work and Pensions in 2001.
Details of the public appointments to the public bodies sponsored by the Ministry of Defence can be found in Public Bodies, copies of which are in the Library of the House. Public Bodies has been published annually since 1980 and the most recent edition provides figures for 2005. Each edition of Public Bodies contains details on the number of public appointments and remuneration details for that particular year. Comparable information for 1976 in respect of Ministry of Defence could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Between 1980 and 2001 Public Bodies published remuneration figures for both chairs and members of public bodies. This practice ceased in 2002 when the remuneration figures for Members were not included in the publication. The most recent details of remuneration for chairs (as at 31 March 2005) is published in Public Bodies. Details are set out below in respect of the eight Ministry of Defence public bodies who remunerate its members; the remaining 24 do not.
Member: £210 per meeting
Member: £200 per day
Member: £300 per meeting/visit
Member: £210 per day