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Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Predator unmanned aerial vehicles his Department expects to purchase in the next 12 months; what the cost of these will be; and when they are expected to come into service. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 4 December 2006]: We intend to procure two American Predator B unmanned air vehicles which are expected to come into service during late 2007. The total acquisition cost will be in the region of $80 million. Definitive costs will not be known until the US Air Force has formally replied to our request.
Mr. Ingram: The number of goats that have died during the experiments and have been humanely killed following exposure to experiments at QinetiQ Alverstoke in each year since 2000 are detailed in the following table. The number of procedures in each year is also presented.
|Number of goats that died during an experiment||Number of goats humanely killed following exposure to experiments||Number of procedures|
|(1) Year to 31 October 2006|
Derek Twigg: In line with the Government's policy on controlling public sector pay, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) pay submission has been subject to close scrutiny by the Ministry of Defence and HM Treasury. This has taken some time to complete; but the RFA pay remit has now been received from the Treasury, and a meeting is to be held with the Maritime Trade Unions on 12 December to begin formal pay negotiations. There is no projected date yet for the completion of these negotiations or of the pay review.
Among many measures in hand, we recently announced, at Selly Oak, additional allowances for service in-patients, including incidental expenditure allowance worth up to £10 per day and separated service allowances worth up to £12 per day. All hospitalised operational casualties wounded in one of the three qualifying theatres will continue to receive the new tax-free operational allowance.
Travel and subsistence payments have been extended to the wider families of hospitalised service personnel and we have also extended home units' eligibility to claim families' support money to include the duration that an operational casualty is an in-patient.
We have provided broadband internet connections in Alexandra Wing, Royal College of Defence Medicine (RCDM) and included service in-patients in the operational welfare package Christmas free postal packet scheme.
Des Browne [holding answer 30 November 2006]: While all ocean-going vessels, including submarines, operating on the surface of the water can theoretically be detected from space, it may be assumed that a submarine operating under the surface in any of the world's oceans is undetectable from space.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will assess the suitability of the Trident weapons system as a deterrent during the rest of its serviceable lifetime; and whom and what Trident is intended to deter. 
Des Browne [holding answer 7 December 2006]: I refer the hon. Member to the statement my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave on 4 December concerning the future of the United Kingdoms nuclear deterrent and the White Paper published on the same day.
Des Browne: No. The US has no veto over the launch of the UKs Trident missiles, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear in his statement on4 December 2006, Official Report, columns 21-38.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the proportion of the defence budget which would be accounted for by Trident's successor in each year of its development and operation. 
Des Browne: Our initial estimates of the costs involved in sustaining our independent nuclear deterrent capability were set out in the White Paper: The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent (Cm 6994), published on 4 December.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts at the United Nations on human rights training for troops seconded to UN missions. 
Des Browne: Defence Ministers have had no discussions with the UN about human rights training for troops seconded to UN missions. All UK troops are trained as appropriate in the law of armed conflict and receive specific training before an operational deployment, including those in support of the UN.
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 6 December 2006]: The MOD's food supply contract was re-let in June this year. The transition between contractors means that information on the proportionate volume from particular countries of origin is not available without incurring disproportionate cost.
There are however, over 1,200 different products currently procured by the food supply contractor for the UK armed forces; over 800 of these are British. The remaining 400 include products such as fresh fruit and vegetables which are sourced from various countries on a seasonal basis, and others that are not produced in this country, such as coffee and bananas.
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 6 December 2006]: The MOD has a single global food supply contract with Purple Foodservice Solutions under which the contractor is responsible for supplying food to the armed forces both in the UK and on operations worldwide. In accordance with the MODs procurement policy the contractor is encouraged to purchase British produce whenever it is competitive and consistent with meeting the quality standards. The MOD is currently working with DEFRA and industry to maximise the competitiveness of British produce.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make the Bellwin scheme of emergency financial assistance to local authorities applicable to terrorist incidents. 
Mr. Woolas: Section 155 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 gives the Government powers to make a contribution to costs incurred by a local authority in taking immediate action to safeguard life or property or to prevent severe inconvenience following an emergency or disaster. Each case has to be considered on its merits but, in the past, it has not been deemed appropriate to apply the Bellwin scheme to terrorist incidents.
Mr. Woolas: As in other areas, it will be up to local people in London to decide if they want a parish council set up in their area. Parish councils in London will be able to levy a precept in the same way as other town and parish councils.
Mr. Woolas: The council tax received by Eastbourne borough council in each of the last 10 years is shown in the following table. The figures shown for each year include both arrears received for previous years and prepayment of council tax for subsequent years.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many summonses were issued by each local authority in England for non-payment of council tax in 2004-05; what percentage change there was in each figure since 1999-2000; and what percentage the number of summonses in 2004-05 represented of all council tax payers in each case. 
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the forward work programme is for the (a) communities and equalities and (b) tackling disadvantage programme directives. 
Mr. Woolas: Programme Executives have been established within Communities and Local Government to give strategic leadership to cross-cutting work and drive the delivery of critical projects and programmes.
The Communities Programme Executive aims to ensure that local communities have the powers they need to respond to challenging economic, social and cultural trends, and to create cohesive, thriving, sustainable communities capable of both fulfilling their own potential and overcoming difficulties. The Equalities Programme executive seeks to lead in the
delivery of the Governments policies for equality across the UK, and mainstream equality within the Department.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) marketing, (b) information, (c) communications, (d) public affairs and (e) public relations staff the (i) Standards Board of England and (ii) Adjudication Panel employs. 
Mr. Woolas: The Standards Board's communications unit comprises nine staff who deal with all the matters listed to a varying degree. The Adjudication Panel does not employ dedicated staff on these matters.
Angela E. Smith: The Department is currently in the process of appointing a Director General of Equalities. The grade of the post, when filled, will equate to what was previously referred to as Grade 2 level but is now referred to in the Department as Director General.
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