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7 Dec 2006 : Column 608W—continued

Electricity Generation

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the electricity used by his Department was generated from (a) renewable sources and (b) on-site micro-generation facilities during the last period for which figures are available. [103222]

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Derek Twigg: The percentage of electricity used by the Ministry of Defence generated from renewable sources during 2005 was approximately 7 per cent. of the UK defence estate usage. The figures are published in the MOD’s Annual Sustainable Development Report 2005 published in August 2006.

Data relating to the percentage of electricity used by the Department generated from on-site micro-generation facilities is not available. This has been identified as an area for improvement and MOD is currently establishing a database of renewable energy initiatives which will include information on micro-generation facilities.

EU Co-operation

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the agreements made since 1997 to which the UK is a signatory establishing UK participation in (a) European armed services and (b) a European armaments agreement not involving NATO; and what the level of UK participation is in each. [107097]

Des Browne: There are no standing European armed services, and thus no agreements for such armed services.

Following the 1998 UK-France summit at St. Malo, the 2001 Treaty of Nice established arrangements for the EU to undertake military crisis management operations using forces contributed by member states. The UK is a full signatory to this treaty and a full participant in the arrangements which have been established to give effect to the European Security and Defence Policy.

The UK has informed the EU of forces we might be willing to make available for use in EU led operations. Any request by the EU to use UK forces would be judged on a case-by-case basis and in the context of current commitments. The commitment of national forces to an EU-led operation remains a sovereign decision for nations concerned.

The Convention on the Establishment of the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR—Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation en matiere d’Armement) was established in 1998 by Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. The UK participates in OCCAR’s management committees and the management teams for the projects that we are involved in: A400M, Counter Battery Radar (COBRA) and Principal Anti-Air Missile (PAAMS) programmes.

The Letter of Intent Framework Agreement, concerning measures to facilitate the restructuring and operation of European Defence industry, was concluded in 2000 by France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. UK officials participate in the various committees and groups which are responsible for implementing the agreement.

Although not an armaments agreement, the European Defence Agency was established in 2004 by Joint Action under the Treaty of the European Union with the objective of driving capability development among its 24 participating member states.

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There are also many bilateral and multi-lateral arrangements (including Memoranda of Understanding) covering collaboration on specific projects.

Far East Prisoners of War

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what meetings (a) he and (b)(i) Ministers and (ii) officials in his Department have had with (A) charities and (B) other organisations or individuals regarding aiding those that have not been awarded payments under the 20-year rule relating to the far east civilian internees; when the meetings took place; and if he will place reports of the meetings in the Library. [100890]

Derek Twigg: To respond to concerns that a number of those who do not qualify under the ex gratia payment scheme for far east prisoners of war and civilian internees may be suffering hardship, the Ministry of Defence has undertaken some work to investigate the feasibility of providing financial assistance to a charity supporting such individuals. I will place a copy of the record of the meeting on 25 May that gave rise to this work, between my predecessor, officials and representatives of the Association of British Civilian Internees—Far East Region and the All Party Group on Far East Prisoners of War in the Library of the House.

The Department's discussions with the charity concerned, aimed at providing financial assistance to support its work for former far east prisoners of war and civilian internees who may be experiencing hardship, have been by telephone, e-mail and letter, rather than by meetings. The charity has very recently indicated that it does not consider it appropriate to accept this support.

MOD Police

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of crimes that were classified as having a significant impact on defence capability was solved by the Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency in each of the last five years. [102590]

Derek Twigg: Information prior to 2005 cannot be given in this form since the classification of crime having a significant impact on defence capability was not introduced until 1 April 2005. The information after this date is as follows:

Percentage of crimes solved





Renewable Energy

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much energy consumed by his Department is acquired from renewable sources. [106155]

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Derek Twigg: Electricity is, at present, the only form of energy consumed by the Department that is acquired from renewable sources.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Castle Point (Bob Spink).

Service Honours

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s policy is on the publication of the names of British servicemen and women who have been honoured for service in Iraq or Afghanistan by the United States Administration. [107402]

Des Browne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 30 November 2006, Official Report, column 812W.

Support Helicopters

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with (a) the US and (b) other NATO countries on leasing support helicopters from them. [107568]

Des Browne [holding answer 4 December 2006]: We are currently considering a number of options for increasing the flexibility, deployability and sustainability of our support helicopter fleet particularly for Afghanistan. These options include encouraging our NATO partners to do more, procuring or leasing more helicopters, and ensuring we deliver maximum capability from our existing fleets.

I discuss regularly with my NATO colleagues the need properly to resource International Security Assistance Force operations in Afghanistan, including through the provision of sufficient support helicopters.

Education and Skills

Agriculture Training

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department is taking to help young people train for careers in agriculture. [105131]

Phil Hope: Land-based specialist and rural colleges will continue to be central to delivering the specialised skills required by the wide range of employers operating in this important sector. These colleges offer pre-entry courses to higher skills development to young people from 14 years and they work closely with local employers to ensure that the curriculum, facilities and qualifications reflect industry standards.

Apprenticeships are the main route available to young people seeking vocational qualifications at Level 2 and Level 3. Apprenticeship frameworks are developed by employers through Sector Skills Councils (SSCs). LANTRA, the SSC for the Environmental and Land-based Sector, is developing with five partner SSCs a Land-based and Environmental Studies Diploma that will be taught from September 2009. A
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new statutory entitlement to study for a Diploma will be in place for all 14 to 19-year-olds from September 2013. LANTRA, through its website, offers career portals dedicated for both young people and adults which signpost routes into a wide variety of careers in the sector.


Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many publicly-funded full-time equivalent chaplaincy staff there were in further education establishments in 2005-06, broken down by religion; what the cost was of chaplaincy staff in 2005-06; what estimate he has made of the costs in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08; and whether he has made an assessment of the merits of providing equivalent pastoral support for those who are not religious and who may not wish to receive such support from a religious chaplain. [105332]

Bill Rammell: Colleges are independent organisations and free to determine how best to meet the pastoral needs of their students. We therefore do not hold information on the numbers of staff involved in chaplaincy arrangements in further education, or their associated costs. As we said in the White Paper “Further Education: Raising Skills, Improving Life Chances”, good pastoral support is vital to improving the learner's chance of succeeding and is an important part of a college's responsibilities to its students. We have commissioned the Quality Improvement Agency to develop and issue guidance on effective pastoral support systems. This will include meeting the needs of all students including those with a particular faith or of none. Pastoral support arrangements are being piloted next year.

Child Care

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what consultation events were held with key stakeholders in relation to child care during 2006; which Government representatives attended such events; and what the cost to the public purse was of each event; [107545]

(2) how many structured discussions were held with parents through local forums about child care during 2006; which Government representatives attended such discussions; and what the cost to the public purse of each discussion was. [107546]

Beverley Hughes: We have consulted widely with parents and key stakeholders throughout 2006 and details of the principal events are given in the following table.

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Event Government representatives who attended Cost

Three events to support the consultation on the Ofsted Childcare Register were held for child care providers and local authorities and meetings were held with key stakeholders.

DfES officials


Eight events to consult with local authorities and Children’s Information Services on the draft regulations and statutory guidance for the duty to provide information, advice and assistance in section 12 of the Childcare Act 2006. Also one event to consult other stakeholders, including delivery organisations and interested voluntary organisations.

DfES officials


Introductory conference with local authority Pathfinders to increase the number of hours and flexibility of the free early years entitlement for three and four-year-olds.

DfES officials


Two seminars for local authorities piloting the free early years entitlement scheme for two-year-olds.

DfES officials


Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) Standards and Requirements Consultation Events: four events held in Leeds and London.

DfES officials


EYPS Standards and Requirements online consultation

DfES officials


EYPS Standards and Requirements Consultation with children and their parents and carers.

DfES officials


Standards for Leaders of Children’s Centres Consultation from 25 September to 6 November. One consultation event held in each region apart from the South East. Two events held in London. One event held for professional organisations. On-line consultation.

DfES officials


Three policy roundtables on the Transformation Fund to explore its use with the aim of ensuring the funding makes a lasting impact on the development of the early years work force into the future.

DfES officials


The Daycare Trust Listening to Families project included initial discussions with parents and children from five locations. A short film of these discussions was presented to the Trust’s National Conference on 8 November.

DfES officials


Events held to consult on the development of the Early Years Foundation Stage attended by a range of key stakeholders.

Primary National Foundation Stage Advisors


Foundation Stage HE/FE Conferences March 2006

Primary National Foundation Stage Advisors


None lead Early Years Advisors Conferences June, November/December

Primary National Foundation Stage Advisors


Joint DfES/LGA “Implementing the Childcare Strategy: National Conference for Local Authorities” showcased outcomes from the 12 Local Authorities who took part in the Childcare Implementation Project.

Minister for Children, Young People and Families DfES officials


(1) Costs were covered from within NCSL’s budget for delivering the NPQICL programme.
(2) Approximately.

In addition, the Primary National Strategies are continuing with ongoing programmes of events involving a range of stakeholders in the implementation of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

The Sure Start, Extended Schools and Childcare Stakeholder Group, announced in the Ten Year Childcare Strategy Action Plan published in April 2006, has met three times. The group, chaired by Dame Julie Mellor, which consists of members from local authorities, health, the private and voluntary sector and frontline staff, advises Ministers on the implementation of the strategy and wider early years and child care policy. To date the group has cost £6,800 to run.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many children’s centres are (a) in operation and (b) planned to open in the next 12 months; [107830]

(2) how much has been allocated to the children’s centres by his Department. [107831]

Beverley Hughes: As of 1 December 2006 there were 1,048 designated Sure Start children’s centres. We are on track to meet our 2008 target of 2,500 centres and our 2010 target of 3,500 children’s centres, one for every community.

Local authorities are responsible for planning and managing the delivery of children’s centres, and future designation dates are subject to change as they revise their plans. Authorities receive ongoing support and challenge from the Department to ensure that their overall targets are met.

The Department has allocated an indicative sum of £1.5 billion for children’s centres over 2004-08.

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