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27 Nov 2006 : Column 360W—continued

Health and Safety Summons

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions since 1st April 1999 each of the armed services has received summons under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. [101917]

Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence as part of the Crown cannot be prosecuted for breaches of health and safety law. However there are administrative arrangements in place by which the MOD can be censured in respect of offences which would otherwise have resulted in a prosecution. Since April 1999 there have been five such Crown Censures taken out in respect of the Royal Navy, four in respect of the Army, and one in respect of the Royal Air Force.

HMS Invincible

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will assess the merits of disposing of HMS Invincible when it is decommissioned in 2010 to the Torbay unitary authority to create the northern arm of the Brixham harbour. [102731]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 23 November 2006]: When HMS Invincible is declared surplus to Royal Navy requirements, all disposal options will be considered.


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Iraq

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what risk assessments had been carried out with regards to personnel transfers on the Shatt-al-Arab waterway prior to the fatal attack on 12 November. [101937]

Des Browne: Risk assessments and force protection reviews are carried out constantly, in line with current and evolving threats, into all forms of movement by Multi-National Division (South East). We take the threat to our forces very seriously and a range of measures are available to minimise risks. These include protection, provided through evolving tactics, techniques and procedures as well as physical means such as armour and other technical means. Commanders within theatre have a range of options available to them and choose the most appropriate for a given task.

Joint Service Publication

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library copies of Joint Service Publication (JSP) 530 covering financial years 2000-01 to 2006-07. [101066]

Derek Twigg: Yes. I will provide copies of JSP 530 from financial years 2003-04 when the Chart of Accounts Manual was first introduced.

Music on Fire Event

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department received for the Army Benevolent Fund’s use of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for the Music on Fire event in September. [101055]

Derek Twigg: The contract drawn up between the MOD and the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF), for hosting the Music on Fire event at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 22, 23 and 24 September 2006, states that the charge will be either 15 per cent. of the net profit from the event or the direct costs to the MOD, whichever is the greater. An invoice has not been presented to the ABF, as their accounts for this event are still to be presented.

Under Government Finance Accounting regulations, there are no special arrangements for the treatment of charities, whether service or other. The fact that a charity is to be the main beneficiary of a good or service is not sufficient justification to introduce a special charging regime or to set charges aside.

Pensions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the armed forces final salary pension scheme was introduced; and if he will make a statement. [101300]


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Derek Twigg: Armed forces pensions can be traced back as far as 1831, although it was not until April 1975 when the Social Security Act 1973 changed legislation requiring pensions to be paid for those who did not serve a full career. The Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975, which incorporated this requirement to award preserved pensions, is a defined benefit scheme. Although not final salary, it is salary-related with pensions based on a representative rate of pay for the rank and length of service. This was closed to new entrants on 5 April 2005.

The Armed Forces (Pensions and Compensation) Act 2004 laid the ground for the introduction of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2005 (AFPS 05) for new entrants to the regular armed forces on 6 April 2005. The opportunity was taken to introduce the Reserve Forces Pension Scheme (RFPS) for those who started or restarted full-time reserve service on or after 6 April 2005. The legislative vehicle for the RFPS is the Reserve Forces Act 1996. AFPS 05 and RFPS are the first true final salary schemes for the armed forces. For both of these schemes members who were already in service on 6 April 2005 and still in service on 6 April 2006 were given the opportunity to transfer to the new schemes with a common Member Transfer Date of 6 April 2006.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what (a) rationale and (b) criteria the number of years of completed service for eligibility for an immediately payable pension for (i) officers and (ii) other ranks were determined. [102308]

Derek Twigg: Under the rules of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) 75 an immediate pension (IP) for officers after 16 years from age 21 reflects the career pattern of this group who now usually join the services immediately after university. The IP provides an incentive for officers to remain in the armed forces for a period deemed appropriate by the services. It also allows the services to release a proportion of personnel at a young enough age to obtain further employment while retaining those with potential for promotion.

The reason behind the IP point for other ranks is historical. Pensionable service for other ranks was from age 18. The 22 year point brought them up to age 40; the age at which the services deemed their health and fitness would begin to fall below the standard required. Even today, only those with potential to reach the rank of Warrant Officer are retained.

AFPS 05 does not feature an IP. Instead payments are made under the Early Departure Payments (EDP) Scheme Order 2005. This is because the provisions of the Finance Act 2004 prevented the payment of pensions in the new scheme before age 50 except in cases of ill-health retirement. The EDP acts as an incentive to stay in the armed forces until at least age 40 with at least 18 years service, for officers and other ranks, and provides compensation for the fact that the armed forces cannot offer the majority a career until age 55.

PFI/PPP Contracts

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many private finance initiative and public private
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partnership contracts with his Department and its agencies have been won by Halliburton or its subsidiaries in each year since 1997; what the terms were of each contract; and if he will make a statement. [101227]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 4 April 2005, Official Report, column 1114W. Since then the Ministry of Defence has let a third private finance initiative (PFI) contract and no public private partnership contracts with subsidiaries of Halliburton.

In April 2006 a contract for project Allenby/Connaught was signed with Aspire Defence a consortium comprising the UK element of the Halliburton subsidiary KBR and Carillion. The contract is for the redevelopment of army facilities at Aldershot, Tidworth, Bulford, Warminster, Larkhill and Perham Down. It involves the rebuild, refurbishment, management and operation of facilities in the largest accommodation PFI project the Ministry of Defence has ever undertaken. Service delivery under the contract commenced on 10 July 2006. The 35-year PFI contract is worth, in whole life cost terms, approximately £8 billion (excluding VAT).

President of the Regiment Institute Shops

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the President of the Regiment Institute shops operate out of military bases in the UK; and how many are run by external commercial businesses. [101808]

Derek Twigg: There are approximately 350 PRI shops in the UK. Information about the management of each PRI is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

QinetiQ

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of QinetiQ's issued share capital is held by the Government; and whether there are plans to reduce this shareholding. [101319]

Mr. Ingram: The Government hold approximately 19.2 per cent. of QinetiQ's issued share capital. Throughout the QinetiQ PPP process the Government always made it clear that ultimately it expects to sell its financial stake in the company. There are currently no plans to reduce the Government's shareholding but the Government keep its position under review.

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage shareholding his Department has in QinetiQ. [101605]

Mr. Ingram: The Department currently has a 19.2 per cent. shareholding in QinetiQ.


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Research and Development Costs

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much was spent prior to 2005-06 on (a) research and development and (b) construction of the (i) CVA, (ii) Type-45 and (iii) Astute programmes; [101438]

(2) how much was spent on (a) research and development and (b) construction of (i) ships, (ii) submarines and (iii) auxiliaries for the (A) Royal Navy and (B) Royal Fleet Auxiliary in each year from 1997-98 to 2005-06. [101439]

Mr. Ingram: Officials will have to review archived data which will take time to collate. Once this work has been completed I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

RG31

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the indicative whole life costs of the RG31 which were received from the contractor as part of the assessment phase for the future command and liaison vehicle. [101098]

Mr. Ingram: I am withholding the information on the indicative whole life costs of the RG31 as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interests.

Royal Navy

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average working hours for personnel in the Royal Navy were in each year since 2001. [101059]

Derek Twigg: The results of recent surveys of working patterns, involving approximately 6,000 naval personnel, indicate that the average hours worked by royal naval personnel in each year since 2001 were:

Financial year Average RN hours worked

2001-02

52.8

2002-03

50.8

2003-04

51.0

2004-05

49.9

2005-06

51.4


Ship Sales

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what capital receipts his Department received from the sale of HMS London and HMS Coventry to BAe; how much they were sold for to the Government of Romania; whether his Department benefited from a sell-on clause; and if he will make a statement. [101444]

Mr. Ingram: HMS London and HMS Coventry were sold to Romania under a Government-to-Government
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agreement for a combined purchase price of £116 million. The agreement covered their purchase and regeneration under a “back-to-back” contract between MOD and BAE Systems. The purchase price for the vessels under this agreement was £100,000 each. This figure represented the scrap value of the hulls and reflects the fact that the ships had been decommissioned for some time and required major regeneration work.

In total, the MOD received between £1.5 million and £2 million, including the £200,000 for the two hulls, the rest of the money being for the provision of services on a repayment basis.

Troop Transportation

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received from the Chief of the General Staff on the efficiency of handling ground troops by RAF movement staff. [100758]

Mr. Ingram: The Secretary of State has regular discussions with each of the Chiefs of Staff on a range of issues.

Type 45 Destroyers

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Type 45 Destroyers he plans to purchase; what the planned in-service date is of each; and if he will make a statement. [103536]

Mr. Ingram: In July 2004, my right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State announced plans for a class of eight Type 45 Destroyers, of which six are now on contract. A decision has not yet been made on ordering the seventh and eighth ships but all factors will be taken into account, including the affordability of industry’s proposals, value for money, and the wider implementation of the Maritime Industrial Strategy.

The planned In Service Date (ISD) for the First of Class, Daring, is 2009. The remaining five ships on contract are planned to enter service at intervals over a four-year period following the First of Class ISD.

Unestablished Posts

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many positions are on the unestablished post database, broken down by (a) service and (b) army regiment. [101350]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 20 November 2006]: The Unestablished Post Database details those individuals carrying out military tasks detailed by the Chain of Command that are generally seasonal or for short periods of time. Information is gathered annually. The following table shows the latest available centrally held statistics which were gathered in January 2006 and therefore provide only a ‘snap shot’ in time.


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Arm/Service Unit Number of Posts

Royal Armoured Corps (RAC)

Scots Dragoon Guards

5

9/12 Lancers

3

Queens Dragoon Guards

4

Royal Dragoon Guards

9

Queens Royal Hussars

4

2 Royal Tank Regiment

1

Royal Signals

1 Signal Brigade

2

11 Signal Brigade

6

7 Armoured Brigade and Signal Squadron

1

19 Light Brigade

2

20 Armoured Brigade

1

2 Signal Regiment

1

10 Signal Regiment

2

14 Signal Regiment

10

30 Signal Regiment

3

204 Signal Squadron

1

Infantry

Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment

2

1 Irish Guards

37

1 Scots Guards

51

1 Devon and Dorset Light Infantry

2

1 Green Howards

30

1 Kings

10

1 Kings Own Border Regiment

30

1 Queens Lancashire Regiment

21

1 Royal Gloucester Berks and Wilts Light Infantry

18

1 Royal Green Jackets

9

1 Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

5

1 Royal Scots

4

1 Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters

21

1 Para

34

2 Para

30

2 Royal Anglian Regiment

36

1 Prince of Wales' Own

8

2 Light Infantry

24

4 Scots

16

To be assigned

1

Royal Artillery (RA)

1 Artillery Brigade

2

12 Regiment RA

7

16 Regiment RA

5

26 Regiment RA

2

3 Royal Horse Artillery

2

32 Regiment RA

6

39 Regiment RA

7

5 Regiment RA

12

Royal Engineers (RE)

21 Regiment RE

6

22 Regiment RE

8

23 Regiment RE (Air Assault)

8

26 Regiment RE

6

28 Regiment RE

3

32 Regiment RE

6

33 Regiment (EOD)

4

35 Regiment RE

4

36 Regiment RE

5

38 Regiment RE

5

39 Regiment

4

8 Force Engineer Brigade

2

64 Wks Group

2

HQ 170 (Infra Sp) Engineer Group

2

Army Air Corps (AAC)

3 Regiment AAC

1

9 Regiment AAC

1

Royal Logistic Corps (RLC)

102 Logistic Brigade

4

104 Logistic Brigade

2

1 Logistic Support Regt RLC

6

2 Logistic Support Regt RLC

6

3 Logistic Support Regt RLC

9

7 Transport Regiment RLC

6

8 Transport Regiment RLC

9

6 Supply Regiment RLC

23

9 Supply Regiment RLC

2

10 Regiment RLC

4

13 Air Assault Supply Regiment RLC

7

23 Pioneer Regiment RLC

4

27 Regiment RLC

8

29 Regiment RLC

3

Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC)

1 Close Support Medical Regiment

5

4 General Support

6

Medical Regiment

33 Field Hospital

1

201 Field Hospital

1

207 Field Hospital

1

Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME)

1 Battalion REME

3

3 Battalion REME

1

5 Battalion REME

1

To be confirmed

8

Total

674


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