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17 Jan 2007 : Column 1169W—continued

Regional Development Roads Service and NCP

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which performance indicators under the contract between the Department for Regional Development Roads Service and National Car Parks (NCP) qualify for additional performance-related payments; and what the maximum annual amount payable to NCP is, including performance payments. [115238]

David Cairns: The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr. Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the hon. Gentleman in response to this question.

Letter from Dr. Malcolm McKibbin, dated 17 January 2007:


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Defence

Afghanistan

Ms Gisela Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many notifications have been sent by Afghan forces to the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission in accordance with the memorandum of understanding (MOU) concerning the transfer by UK armed forces to Afghan authorities of persons detained in Afghanistan since the signature of the MOU. [108816]

Des Browne: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the right hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Sir John Stanley) on 8 January 2007, Official Report, columns 76-77W.


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Eurofighter Typhoon

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department made of the economic impact of the threatened cancellation by Saudi Arabia of the Eurofighter Typhoon contract. [115161]

Des Browne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 20 October 2006, Official Report, columns 1477-78, to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone).

Future Aircraft Carriers

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether agreement has been reached with the Aircraft Carrier Alliance on the cost of the Future Aircraft Carriers. [114290]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 11 January 2007]: Agreement on the cost of the future aircraft carriers has not yet been reached. Decision on the CVF programme will only be taken once we know with confidence the risks, the costs and the associated contractual framework involved in building the carriers. This work is part of the current demonstration phase.

Gibraltar

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will meet the Gibraltar Services Police Staff Association to discuss the contents of their letter of 15 December 2006 to the Head of Human Resources, Chief of Joint Operations, Northwood HQ; and if he will make a statement. [113710]

Derek Twigg: The Gibraltar Services Police Staff Association should discuss the issues they have raised in their letter of 15 December with local MOD management. They are encouraged to do so within the framework of the Joint Consultative Committee that has been established in Gibraltar to facilitate constructive dialogue on employee relations issues between the Association and management.

Iraq

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to provide troops on operational duties in Iraq with extended rest periods. [114764]

Mr. Ingram: The aim of rest and recuperation is to provide Service personnel, who have been mentally and physically challenged by continuous service in an operational area, time to rest out of line and “recharge their batteries” in order to sustain operational effectiveness.

The decision to grant rest and recuperation rests with the in-theatre operational commander, who will consider a number of factors such as the threat, the operational requirement and minimum force levels, to determine the practicality of rest and recuperation.


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Rest and recuperation is not leave and is to be taken at a time, location and for a duration specified by the operational commander. Rest and recuperation may only be granted to individuals and units on periods of continuous operations in excess of four months.

Military Aircraft

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times (a) Harrier, (b) Jaguar, (c) Tornado GR4 and (d) Typhoon aircraft have been cannibalised in the last 12 months. [110449]

Mr. Ingram: The removal of serviceable parts from one aircraft for use on another is a short-term, temporary measure to ensure that the maximum number of aircraft are available to the front line.

The number of these instances over the last 12 months is given in the following table.

Aircraft type Number of cannibalisations

Harrier

(1)1,105

Jaguar

66

Tornado GR4

2,048

Typhoon

481

(1) Statistics for Harrier aircraft operating in Afghanistan are not available for the period requested as information was not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost and by diverting staff from operational support tasks. As of 1 January 2007 instances of the cannibalisation of Harrier aircraft in Afghanistan are being recorded centrally.

Mothballing

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the purchase cost was of each ship which is (a) mothballed and (b) proposed to be mothballed; what the estimated cost of mothballing each ship is; and what the estimated cost is of returning each ship to full operational capability. [114134]

Mr. Ingram: HMS Invincible is the only Royal Navy ship currently in a very low state of extended readiness in which it would take approximately 18 months to return her to the operational service. The build cost of Invincible was £184.5 million. It has so far cost £2.5 million to prepare and maintain the ship for her period of extended readiness. A further £1.4 million has been allocated to take her through to 2010 when she is due to be withdrawn from service. As there are currently no plans to return Invincible to operational service, no formal assessment of the cost of doing so has been undertaken.

There are currently no plans to place any further warships into this state of readiness.

Red Arrows

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to reduce the budget of the RAF Red Arrows display team in the next two years. [114802]

Mr. Ingram: As part of the Department's current planning round, we are examining a range of proposals for the defence programme, to enhance investment in
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certain areas and also to reduce investment in areas of lower priority. Ministerial decisions on the forward defence programme will be taken in the first quarter of 2007 and appropriate announcements will be made in that timeframe.

Royal Navy Vessels

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Navy vessels previously consigned to a reduced state of readiness have subsequently been reactivated. [116006]

Mr. Ingram: The normal operating cycle of every warship includes periods of lower readiness, typically for maintenance or refit, interspersed with periods in which the ship is held at high readiness for operations.

As I indicated in my answer to the hon. Member on 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 773W, I am in the process of writing to him on this subject.

Saddam Hussein

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether UK (a) forces and (b) intelligence played a role in the capture of (i) Saddam Hussein and (ii) co-defendants of Saddam Hussein. [114529]

Des Browne: UK forces, military or defence intelligence played no role in the capture of Mr. Saddam Hussein, or the seven co-defendants in the Dujail case.

Service Personnel: South African Citizens

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that South African citizens serving in the British armed forces may continue to do so under South African law; [115792]

(2) what representations he has made to the South African Government on the Prohibition of Mercenary Activities Bill. [115793]

Mr. Ingram: We have been following the development of the draft Prohibition of Mercenary Bill very closely and are urgently investigating the potential consequences for South African personnel currently serving in the UK armed forces, should the legislation be enacted, so that we can support those who may be affected. We value, greatly, the service given by South African personnel.

Representations have been made by the Secretary of State for Defence to the South African Defence Minister on the potential implications the proposed legislation would have on recruitment and retention of personnel into the UK armed Forces. A visit is being planned to South Africa to enable MOD officials to hold face-to-face discussions with the South African Department of Defence to try and resolve some of the uncertainties.


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Work and Pensions

Frozen Pensions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the Minister for Pensions will meet Mr. John Markham of the International Consortium of British Pensioners to discuss frozen pensions of UK pensioners living overseas; and if he will make a statement. [116005]

James Purnell: I met with Mr. Markham on 17 January 2007.


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