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Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to paragraph 5.6 of the Departmental Report, what the Treasury spending teams are; and how many people were employed in each of them at the end of (a) the 2004-05 and (b) the 2005-06 financial years. 
The Treasury Spending Teams monitor departmental spending along with service delivery and provide advice to Treasury Ministers on any matters
arising. The number of people employed in spending teams in 2004-05 was 143 and in 2005-06 148.
Des Browne [holding answer 11 September 2006]: As I announced to the House on 10 July 2006, Official Report, column 1133WS, 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines will replace 16 Air Assault Brigade as the Helmand taskforce this winter. The Brigade is the UK's only specialist mountain and cold weather brigade. It is fully trained and equipped for this role and has considerable personal and collective experience of winter and mountain operations.
In addition to the normal temperate and desert issue equipment, brigade personnel have been issued with a winter supplement, based on those specialist items that would normally be used during winter training in Norway. The key items are cold weather boots and socks, inner and outer winter gloves and a winter sleeping bag. Should the nature of the operations require additional specialist winter equipment in order to support particular operational requirements, these can be drawn on by the in-theatre HQ.
Des Browne [holding answer 11 September 2006]: The loss of an RAF Nimrod MR2 in Afghanistan on 2 September, and the tragic loss of life of the 14 military personnel on board, is currently being investigated. The factors leading to the loss of the aircraft cannot be confirmed until the investigation is concluded, but all the indications are that it was not the result of hostile action. The incident serves to remind us of the risks that our military personnel are facing on behalf of us all, and the debt that we owe them.
Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will reply to the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweeds letters of 1 December 2005 and 28 February 2006 concerning replacement documents for a constituents late husbands war service (MoD Ref: 05651/2005). 
Des Browne [holding answer 11 September 2006]: My hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Watson), wrote to the right hon. Gentleman on 24 August. This regrettable delay was because it took much longer than expected to trace the necessary documents.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the annual expenditure on vehicles for (a) his Department and (b) each (i) non-departmental public body, (ii) executive agency and (iii) other public body for which he is responsible in (A) Scotland, (B) Wales, (C) each of the English regions and (D) Northern Ireland in each of the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure is for 2005-06. 
Derek Twigg: Expenditure on the purchase or hire of vehicles for the movement of personnel and freight for administrative purposes in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has been as follows:
|England, Scotland and Wales||Northern Ireland||Total|
These figures reflect activity by the Defence Logistics Organisation, who account for the majority of MOD vehicle expenditure, and Headquarters Northern Ireland. Some other expenditure is incurred locally, but
could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Most vehicles are operated under lease or short-term hire arrangements.
For details of expenditure on ministerial vehicles provided to the MOD by the Government Car and Despatch Agency, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the letter of 20 December 2005 from the chief executive of the Government Car and Despatch Agency to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker). Copies of the letter are available in the Library.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many fire appliances the armed forces own, broken down by age; and how many could be used to provide emergency fire cover for the general population in the event of a strike by firefighters. 
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence owns a total number of 216 fire appliances. Of these 79 are Major Foam Airfield Crash Vehicles (MFV) and 82 are Rapid Intervention Airfield Crash Vehicles (RTV). There are also 55 Domestic Vehicles which are used to tackle fires in buildings and other parts of the Defence Estate and are similar to those operated by local authority fire and rescue services.
|Age by years|
All fire appliances owned by the Ministry of Defence are there to support armed forces operational activity and could not be assigned to provide emergency cover in the event of a strike by firefighters whether on a national or local basis.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) C130K and (b) C130J Hercules aircraft are based at RAF Lyneham; how many Hercules are fit for purpose; how many Hercules are deployed (i) in Iraq, (ii) in Afghanistan, (iii) to Cyprus and Lebanon and (iv) elsewhere; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: There are a total of 24 C130Ks and 25 C130J Hercules aircraft based at RAF Lyneham of which a number are deployed to operational theatres. I am withholding information about how many Hercules aircraft are deployed to which operational theatre, as this might prejudice the operational security of our armed forces.
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 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.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Government's policy is on UK troops remaining in Iraq after all provinces controlled by the UK are handed over to the Iraqi Government; what information has been issued to the media on the UK's plans; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 11 September 2006]: As we have consistently made clear, coalition troops will remain in Iraq until the conditions for drawdown are right. The transfer of provincial security responsibility to the Iraqi Security Forceswhile an important stepwill not necessarily result in the complete withdrawal of UK troops. Coalition troops will need to
remain in Iraq for some period after provincial transfer to continue training and mentoring of the Iraqi Security Forces, and to assist with the provision of security until we, the Iraqi Government, and our coalition partners are confident that the Iraqi Security Forces can operate without our support.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which parent unit the members of the composite company of the Royal Rifle Volunteers shortly to be deployed on Operation Herrick are from, broken down by (a) rank and (b) company. 
|(1) Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire|
(2) Royal Wessex Yeomanry
(3) Devon and Dorset
(4) Royal Green Jackets
(5) Honourable Artillery Company
(6) Royal Rifle Volunteers
(7) Highlanders. This individual is a Regular Reservist
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