Previous Section Index Home Page

23 Jan 2007 : Column 1628W—continued


23 Jan 2007 : Column 1629W

Defence

Defence Exports

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what estimate he has made of the percentage of total employment accounted for by defence export sales; [115806]

(2) if he will publish a paper on the economic costs and benefits of UK defence exports. [115807]

Mr. Ingram: Information on UK employment dependent on MOD expenditure and defence exports was published in UK Defence Statistics 2006. Table 1.9 shows that in 2004-05, the most recent year given, 65,000 jobs in the UK were supported by defence exports, 21 per cent. of the total dependent on UK defence expenditure and defence exports.

The Defence Industrial Strategy, which explained the benefits to defence objectives from defence exports, referred to a study by a group of independent and MOD economists entitled “The Economic Costs and Benefits of UK Defence Exports”, published by the University of York. We have no plans to undertake further work on this subject.

Defence Industry Employment

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many people are employed in the defence industry in England and Wales; [115292]

(2) how many people are employed in the defence industry in Scotland. [115330]

Mr. Ingram: The latest available estimate for those people employed directly in industry and commerce in England and Wales in those companies that receive contracts directly from MOD is approximately 126,000 full-time equivalent jobs and approximately 9,000 for Scotland.

It is not possible to prepare estimates for indirect employment in the supply chain other than for the UK as a whole due to quality of the underlying administrative data.

Aggregate estimates for the UK detailing direct and indirect employment which separate those involved with employment on MOD equipment, MOD non-equipment, and defence exports are produced by the Defence Analytical Services Agency (DASA) in Table 1.9, “UK Defence Statistics 2006”; a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.

Defence Training Review

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what price premium for the Defence Training Review his Department expects to pay in return for transferring risk to the private sector. [116273]

Derek Twigg: The concept of PFI passes risk to a private sector partner who is better able to manage these risks. The primary determinant of whether to proceed with a PFI approach is the assessment of the value for money of the bidder's proposal against a public sector comparator on a whole life, risk adjusted
23 Jan 2007 : Column 1630W
basis. MOD relies on open competition to drive out value for money and ensure that any price premium paid is appropriate for the risk transferred.

Departmental Travel

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's expenditure was on foreign travel, including accommodation, in (a) 1996-97 and (b) 2005-06. [114044]

Des Browne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave on 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 1808W to the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Robathan) and the answer my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Watson) gave on 19 June 2006, Official Report, column 1581W, to the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies).

Housing

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to apply the Decent Homes Standard of fitness policy applicable to social housing to service accommodation; and if he will make a statement. [115558]

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to apply the Decent Homes Standard of fitness policy applicable to social housing to family houses for service personnel in Colchester constituency. [116178]

Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence has its own well defined criteria for assessing the condition of its properties. This consists of a list of over 100 individual attributes that are assessed to arrive at an overall Standard for Condition (SFC) score for the property. SFC scores are banded into categories 1 to 4 from the best condition to the worst. SFC assessment includes aspects such as the structure of the property, its energy efficiency, health and safety features, security arrangements and sanitary items as well as an assessment of the kitchen and bedrooms.

We are confident that the current SFC system used by MOD fully takes into account the four basic tenets of the Decent Homes Standard. In short, these are to be fit for habitation by meeting statutory housing regulations, to be in a reasonable state of repair, to have reasonably modern facilities and to have a reasonable degree of thermal comfort. Rather than simply conforming to a minimum acceptable level of accommodation, MOD aspires to provide accommodation to a higher standard; and this is reflected in the criteria that must be met to achieve standard 1 for condition.

It is for these reasons that it is not the intention to use the less demanding Decent Homes Standard and to continue to use a more stringent set of criteria, endeavouring to meet the high standards that service personnel deserve.

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans he has to modernise the family housing for service personnel based in Colchester constituency in each of the next three years; [116175]


23 Jan 2007 : Column 1631W

(2) how many family houses for service personnel were available in Colchester constituency in (a) 1997, (b) 2001 and (c) 2005; [116176]

(3) what plans he has to increase the number of family houses for service personnel in Colchester constituency in each of the next three years. [116177]

Derek Twigg: The information requested will take a little time to collate. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Meat Supplies

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the meat supplied to British troops under the food supply contract which commenced on 1 October 2006 is from British farms. [116191]

Mr. Ingram: Since the beginning of the current contract, 44 per cent. of the meat (which does not include poultry, gammon and bacon products) supplied to the British armed forces has been bought from British farms.

Nuclear Submarines

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the submarine supply chain could be maintained for the construction of future ship submersible nuclear submarines in the absence of a positive decision on a Vanguard successor; and if he will make a statement. [116646]

Mr. Ingram: As noted by the Select Committee on Defence in its recent report “The Future of the UK's Strategic Nuclear Deterrent: the Manufacturing and Skills Base”, submarine build rates will need to be maintained in order to sustain the industrial skills base.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will answer Question 101443, on the naval bases review, tabled by the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South on 20 November 2006. [115914]

Mr. Ingram: I replied to the hon. Member on 18 January 2007, Official Report, column 1264W.

Procurement

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of his Department's spending was allocated to procurement in each of the last 10 years; what the original budget allocation on procurement was in each of those years; and what outturn was in each year. [114137]

Mr. Ingram: For equipment procurement expenditure for financial years up to and including 2000-01, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 12 February 2003, Official Report, column 738W.

There are no directly comparable figures for subsequent years, reflecting the introduction of
23 Jan 2007 : Column 1632W
resource accounting and budgeting in 2001-02 which changed the way in which expenditure is accounted for and recorded. Publication of equipment procurement figures in UK Defence Statistics was discontinued after 2000-01.

The figures in the following table show the Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) financial resourcing adjusted for depreciation and certain nuclear items over the past five years and the proportion this represents of the entire MOD expenditure.

The budgetary information provided is drawn from the main supply estimates. These are an early estimate of requirements and as such are subject to amendment as final resource allocations are adjusted to meet in-year departmental needs. Budgetary allocations for the DPA are not readily available for financial years earlier than 2001-02 and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The DPA budget/outturn figures relate to the procurement of new equipment and associated overheads, excluding depreciation and provisions.

All the figures are in resource accounting terms.

Financial year DPA budget allocation (£ billion) DPA outturn (£ billion) Percentage of MOD Budget

2001-02(1)

6.1

5.6

26

2002-03(1)

5.6

6.2

23

2003-04

6.9

6.7

24

2004-05

7.0

6.8

23

2005-06

8.1

7.4

26

(1) 2001-02 and 2002-03 budget and outturn figures exclude non-cash items in line with accounting policy at that time.

Scottish Regiments

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) recruitment targets and (b) achieved recruitment were for (i) The Royal Scots Battalion, (ii) King’s Own Scottish Borders Battalion, (iii) The Royal Highland Fusiliers, (iv) The Black Watch, (v) The Highlanders and (vi) The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in each month since January 2006; and if he will make a statement. [115429]

Derek Twigg: The Army does not set recruitment targets for individual battalions but does have whole infantry targets. I refer to my answer given on 11 January 2007, Official Report, column 712W, to the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart), which gave details of achievement against targets for the infantry between 1999-2001 and 2005-06.

In my answer of 8 January 2007, Official Report, column 104W, to the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox), I provided the number of recruits that were loaded to the Scottish Division each month between December 2005 and November 2006. The number loaded in December 2006 was nil.

Separation Allowance

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the financial payment would be to a soldier serving 600 days in a two-year period under (a)
23 Jan 2007 : Column 1633W
existing longer separated service allowance rates and (b) new longer separation allowance rates; [104600]

(2) what the financial impact on an individual soldier will be of scrapping (a) the Longer Service Separation Allowance (AT) and (b) (AT+) bonuses. [104601]

Des Browne: For the Army, longer service separation allowance (LSSA) and the associated bonuses are scheduled to be replaced by the longer separation allowance (LSA) on 1 April 2007. The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force have already transferred to LSA as part of an ongoing roll-out of a new tri-service allowance package. The new operational bonus has nothing to do with this reform of existing allowances. There is therefore no question of ‘giving with one hand and taking away with the other’. The new bonus is coming out of entirely new money—over £60 million this year. The reform of existing allowances, decided three years ago and endorsed by the independent armed forces pay review body, was not about 'cuts'—it was about making the system fairer—all the money stays in armed forces allowances and benefits. So overall our soldiers, sailors and airmen are now over £60 million better off.

LSA is a fairer system and has a number of advantages over the LSSA and AT/AT+ bonus system it replaces. For example, LSA is less divisive and removes the unfairness of soldiers on the same deployment either just qualifying for or missing out on the accumulated turbulence (AT) and/or accumulated turbulence plus (AT+) bonuses. From 1 April 2007 LSA will also be payable immediately, with no initial qualifying period, as opposed to 12 months service under LSSA. This benefits soldiers (and sailors, airmen and airwomen) who deploy on an operational tour in their first year of service who, by the end of a six month tour, would have received 180 days extra payment (£1,080, before tax, at £6.02 per day; LSA Level 1 and LSSA Basic Rate are both £6.02 per day) and accrued more days of qualifying service so that they would qualify for the next level of payment earlier than they would have done under LSSA. Under both LSSA and LSA a soldier moves to the next rate after each 300 days qualifying service. More significantly, there are 14 rates of LSA rather than the three of LSSA, with a top rate of £25.42 as opposed to £12.82.

The financial impact on an individual soldier of removing the accumulated turbulence (AT) and accumulated turbulence plus (AT+) bonuses is dependent upon how long they have been serving, how many days qualifying separation they have accrued and where they are in the rolling two window that is used to calculate the AT bonus calculation. AT bonus is paid after 280 days qualifying separation in a rolling period and AT+ after a total of 365 days qualifying separation in a rolling two-year period. The AT and AT+ bonus are both worth £1,350 before tax. The vast majority of soldiers did not qualify for the bonuses on a normal deployment pattern. For example, only 1 per cent. of the Army qualified for the AT+ bonus in 2005. The number of soldiers serving 600 days in a two-year period is very infrequent and estimated to be no more than a handful.

In these rare cases the net change of the move to the new system depends on length of service. Under the LSA rules a soldier who accrues considerable QS
23 Jan 2007 : Column 1634W
during the course of a career enjoys significant financial benefit compared with LSSA. This is demonstrated by the following example cases:

Junior soldier serving 600 days separated service in a two year period, initial six-month tour within first 12 months service.

£

Old: LSSA( 1)

Initial 180 days

300 days @ £6.02 (Basic rate)

1,806

120 days @ £9.41 (Mid rate)

1,129

AT Bonus

1,350

AT+ Bonus

1,350

Total

5,635

New: LSA( 2)

300 days @ £6.02 (LSA Level 1)

1,806

300 days @ £9.41 (LSA Level 2)

2,823

Total

4,629

(1)12 months qualifying period (2) with no initial qualifying period

Senior soldier serving 600 days separated service in a two year period, having undertaken seven years of separation.

£

Old: LSSA

600 days @ 12.82 (Top rate)

7,692

AT Bonus

1,350

AT+ Bonus

1,350

Total

10,392

New: LSA

300 days @ 18.93 (LSA Level 8)

5,679

300 days @ 20.01 (LSA Level 9)

6,003

Total

11,682


Next Section Index Home Page