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9 Oct 2006 : Column 172W—continued


Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the Ugandan Government's resettlement plan for internally-displaced people; and if he will make a statement. [89573]

Hilary Benn: The Government of Uganda have developed an Emergency Action Plan, which is intended to improve the humanitarian situation over a six month period, and they have also recently circulated a draft peace recovery and development plan covering a three year period. Both plans include the resettlement of internally displaced persons.

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Donors (including DFID) and UN agencies continue to have extensive discussions with the Government of Uganda on the details of these plans, including resettlement. We greatly welcome the fact that it is possible for people to return home, and donors have made it clear to the Government that we are willing to provide assistance to help ensure that this is successful. In our discussions with the Government, however, we do continue to stress the importance of ensuring that resettlement is voluntary, and done in full consultation with displaced people themselves.

We have also made sure that the humanitarian aid we are providing in 2006-07 (including £7 million to the World Food Programme, £1.3 million to UNICEF and £800,000 to the Red Cross) can be used to improve conditions in the camps where this is required, and also to provide support to people returning home in other areas as the situation permits.

West Africa

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of (a) the situation of Liberian refugees in (i) Côte d’Ivoire and (ii) other neighbouring countries and (b) the likely effects of the closing of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees transit centre in Tabou; and if he will make a statement. [89714]

Hilary Benn: By 2004, 15 years of civil conflict in Liberia had dispersed some 350,000 Liberian refugees across West Africa. About one third, 117,000, returned to Liberia spontaneously through 2004 and 2005 after the peace agreement and deployment of UN peacekeepers. Following elections in October 2005 and the improving prospects for peace and recovery, the
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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) began actively promoting and assisting voluntary repatriation from camps and communities in neighbouring countries. Up to July 2006, 71,000 refugees were assisted to return home, leaving a residual case load of 162,000, of whom 38,000 are in Côte d’Ivoire, mainly integrated with local communities, rather than living in camps. While the rate of return this year has been initially slower than forecast, it is expected to accelerate markedly with the approaching end of the agricultural season and continued investment in basic services in Liberian home communities. UNHCR predict that 70 per cent. of the remaining refugees will have returned home by June 2007.

The closure of the transit centre in Tabou, Côte d’Ivoire, is a positive move. It had housed 2,400 refugees for several years, though it was designed as a temporary shelter for arriving asylum seekers. Its closure, made possible by the residents finding alternative living and livelihood arrangements in local communities, is good for their dignity and well-being, and signifies the diminished likelihood of further influxes of refugees.

Between 2002 and 2005, DFID provided about £1 million p.a. to support the care and maintenance of Liberian refugees in camps across the region. DFID has also invested significantly in Liberia over the last three years to encourage and assist refugees to return home. £3.5 million p.a. has been allocated to support the restoration of basic infrastructure and services (health, water, sanitation, shelter, education) as well as boosting livelihood prospects. In addition, in 2005 and 2006, DFID has provided £2 million to UNHCR to support the voluntary repatriation of refugees from Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ghana.

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 9 October 2006



Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost is of publication of “Preview”, published by the Defence Procurement Agency; how it is funded; and to what individuals and groups it is distributed. [91154]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 18 September 2006]: The cost of the printing and publication of “Preview,” and its associated organisational wall charts covering the Defence Procurement Agency and the Equipment Capability Customer, in the financial year 2005-06 was £106,575 including VAT. Publication costs were fully met through advertising revenue, which in the financial year 2005-06 totalled £238,917 including VAT, generating a surplus income of £132,342. Preview is distributed to individuals and groups through individual and bulk circulation to the following organisations, bodies and individuals: the Defence Procurement Agency, the Defence Logistics Organisation, MOD Ministers' private offices, MOD senior officials' private offices, MOD central staffs, other Government Departments, units of the armed forces, defence industry bodies, defence contractors, defence attaches in UK-based embassies and High Commissions, UK defence attaches, foreign Government defence procurement organisations, UK media organisations and Members of Parliament.


Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the mission is of 16 Air Assault Brigade in Afghanistan. [92318]

Des Browne: Elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade were deployed to Afghanistan as part of the UK force package in support of the UN-authorized, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The ISAF is there to prevent Afghanistan from again harbouring terrorism, to build security and government institutions so that the progress of recent years becomes irreversible, and to combat Taliban insurgency and illegally armed groups, which remain threats to Afghan security and stability.


Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of each helicopter type in the (a) Army Air Corps, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force are deployed; and where they are deployed. [89639]

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Mr. Ingram: The number of helicopters deployed on enduring operations, as at 12 September 2006, are shown in the following table:

Total deployed

Army Air Corps

Apache Mk 1 AH


Gazelle AH 1


Lynx AH 7


Lynx AH 9


Royal Navy

Sea King HC 4


Lynx HAS Mk 3


Merlin HM Mk 1


Royal Air Force

Puma HC 1


Merlin HC 3


Chinook HC 2/2a


Total for each location


A breakdown by location of where these helicopters are deployed cannot be provided as to do so could compromise operational security.

Air-to-Air Refuelling

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to enlarge the Tristar fleet by (a) purchasing and (b) leasing second-hand aircraft to meet air-to-air refuelling capacity shortfall. [71918]

Mr. Ingram: We have no such plans.

Armoured Vehicles

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the annual running costs of (i) Warrior and (ii) RG-31 armoured vehicles with particular reference to the intervals between replacing track sets; and if he will make a statement. [90086]

Mr. Ingram: The RG31 is not in service with the UK armed forces and no research has been undertaken recently to evaluate its annual running costs. The full capitation costs for the Warrior armoured fighting vehicle (all variants) based upon peace time usage is calculated for financial year 2006-07 as £154.04 per kilometre. There is no requirement to hold specific cost data for replacement track set intervals for the Warrior.

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many operational Warrior armoured fighting vehicles are in use by the Army. [92323]

Mr. Ingram: I can confirm that out of a fleet of 794 Warrior armoured fighting vehicles (all variants) 735 are in use by the Army. Of these 109 are used in training and 626 are deployed with units. The remainder of the fleet is undergoing programmed maintenance and repair, in storage or with the design authority.

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Christmas Leave

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to ensure that servicemen and women stationed in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq scheduled for UK leave over the Christmas period will be able to travel to the UK as planned. [92154]

Mr. Ingram: I fully appreciate the significance of ensuring that our people, who are on rest and recuperation, can return to the UK over the Christmas period and indeed throughout the year. We make exhaustive efforts to provide transport to enable personnel to travel to the UK and other destinations as planned and to accommodate each Theatre's requirements for personnel movements over the Christmas period.

Departmental Contracts

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which private companies hold contracts with his Department to develop weapons and technology. [89275]

Mr. Ingram: It is not possible to provide specific details on private companies with which the MOD holds contracts to develop weapons and technology without incurring disproportionate cost. However, based on the Type of Work Code classification, in this case “Demonstration”, allocated to each contract recorded on the Defence Bills Agency database, which covers 95 per cent. of MOD’s business, it has been possible to identify a list of all companies currently engaged in these contracts which include “development”. The details are as follows:

List of companies holding “Demonstration” contracts with MOD

Company name

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