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29 Jan 2007 : Column 18W—continued


Mr. Crabb: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many cases of theft inside the House of Commons estate were reported in each of the last five years. [111323]

Nick Harvey: The number of cases of theft across the parliamentary estate in each of the last five years was as follows:












Union Flag

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the answer of 10 January 2007, Official Report, columns 504-05W, on the Union flag, what health and safety grounds prevent the use of the flagpole on Portcullis House; and what the cost would be of making access to the flagpole safe. [111869]

Nick Harvey: As I said in my reply to the right hon. Member for Warley (Mr. Spellar) on 24 January 2007, Official Report, column 1763W:

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Water Usage

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what volume of water was consumed by the parliamentary estate in each year since 2004. [111526]

Nick Harvey: The volume of water consumed by the parliamentary estate in each year since 2004 is as follows:

Cubic metres
Mains water Borehole water Total













(1) Nine months.

Borehole water is used primarily for cooling and toilet flushing in Portcullis House.



Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average tour intervals were for each unit deployed on the Helmand Task Force roulement. [110433]

Des Browne: Average tour intervals, from 1997, for the Royal Marines Commando units deployed on the Helmand Task Force roulement are shown in the following table:

Unit Average tour interval (months)

42 Commando Royal Marines


45 Commando Royal Marines


Commando Logistics Regiment


28 Engineer Regiment


28 Engineer Regiment rarely deploys as a fully formed unit. Elements of the Regiment are deployed to Helmand Province and I have informed the House on 6 November 2006, Official Report, column 793W, of the tour interval for those personnel involved.

RAF units operate differently to those of the Army or Royal Marines. While a unit might be deployed for five months, RAF personnel can rotate through the unit rather than remain with it throughout. Therefore unit and personnel tour intervals are not necessarily the same.

RAF unit Average tour interval (months)

3 Force Protection Wing


2 Sqn RAF Regiment


Aircraft Carrier Demonstration Phase

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the RN future aircraft carrier demonstration phase. [116371]

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Mr. Ingram: Good progress is being made on the demonstration phase work, which is aimed at maturing the risks, costs and the contractual framework for building the carriers. The culmination of this work will enable us to get a robust, affordable deal negotiated and take a decision to commit to manufacture.

Armed Forces Recruitment

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Muslims were recruited to the armed forces in each month since January 2006. [117172]

Derek Twigg: The Muslim intake from civilian life to UK Regular Forces in 2006, by month is as follows:

All services( 1)























(1) Due to the introduction of a new personnel administration system, RAF data on the religion of recruits are not available from 1 April 2006, and naval service data from 1 November 2006 are provisional and subject to review.
(2) Denotes fewer than 5.
(3) Denotes provisional.
1. All numbers are rounded to the nearest 5.
2. Due to the rounding methods used, totals may not always equal the sum of the parts.

Figures provided are for the 11 months from 1 January 2006 to 30 November 2006. December 2006 intake from civilian life data are not yet available.

BAE Systems

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations have been made by the US Administration to (a) officials and (b) Ministers in his Department concerning allegations of bribery by BAE Systems in the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [115158]

Mr. Ingram: We have identified a record of one such representation, made on 19 July 2002 to the then Permanent Under-Secretary.

Boarding School Allowance

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the minimum distance is which an officer has to move in order to be able to claim boarding school allowance; and what steps he takes to monitor potential abuse of the allowance; [115781]

(2) how many officers of each of the armed services have (a) declared themselves mobile for the purpose of claiming boarding school allowance and (b) claimed
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boarding school allowance in each of the last five years. [115782]

Derek Twigg: All officers in the armed services are deemed to have a mobile commitment. However, continuity of education allowance (CEA) is only paid to a service person who is accompanied by their family at each location. Any service person claiming CEA must ensure that their family is, and continues to be, mobile and this is declared by the service person on each claim. In addition, the service person must be in possession of a valid ‘mobility certificate’, which is completed prior to an initial claim for the education allowance, when the child(ren) change school, at the beginning of each new posting, or if the certificate is more than three years old. This certificate states the service claimant is committed to their family moving with them when they are posted. If the family for any reason does not move with the service person, then their entitlement to claim CEA will be reviewed.

There are a few exceptions to the accompanied service eligibility criteria. On some postings it is inappropriate for the service person to be accompanied by their family and these postings are classified as ‘involuntarily separated’, i.e. they are separated from their family and cannot serve accompanied. Examples of this are when the service parent is serving on an operational deployment, or on a designated unaccompanied assignment or when exceptional authority has been granted for the service claimant to serve unaccompanied but retain eligibility to CEA. Examples of the circumstances under which such authority may be given are whilst the service claimant is awaiting allocation of service families accommodation at their new duty station, or when they are waiting, for up to six months, for the completion of a house sale/purchase. In these circumstances, the service person would be eligible to continue to claim CEA.

Given the ongoing transition to joint personnel administration, figures are not yet available of the number of officer claimants from each service for the past five years. However, the total number of officer claimants for spring term 2005 was 3,587 and for spring term 2006 3,074, as reported in the HCDC report ‘Educating Service Children’ of 11 July 2006. Detailed figures explaining the number of officer claimants from each service for the past five years are being determined.

Campaign Medals

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what process was followed in (a) proposing and (b) developing the idea to award journalists Iraq campaign medals; how many have been (i) accepted and (ii) declined; and whether any precedents exist. [108378]

Derek Twigg: Accredited war correspondents, photographers, cameramen and sound recordists were included in eligibility proposals for the Iraq medal made by the Ministry of Defence to the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals in November 2003. These proposals were included in the criteria when the medal was announced in February 2004 (Cm 6135). Entitled journalists were invited to apply for the medal. It has not been sent to them automatically.

29 Jan 2007 : Column 22W

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 7 November 2006, Official Report, column 1467W about the number of medals that have been accepted or declined by journalists.

The practice of making medals available to accredited journalists deployed alongside the British armed forces goes back to at least world war one and, more recently, happened in both the Falklands conflict and the Gulf war.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the (a) newspapers, (b) broadcasters and (c) news agencies whose journalists were given an Iraq campaign medal by his Department. [108384]

Derek Twigg: No. The information requested constitutes personal data, within the terms of section 1(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998, as provision of a list of the relevant newspapers, broadcasters and news agencies is likely to permit identification of individual journalists who have been awarded the Iraq campaign medal.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Iraq campaign medals have been awarded without clasp to journalists; and if he will make a statement. [108412]

Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 5 December 2006, Official Report, columns 369-70W.

Carbon Emissions

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department began collecting figures on its carbon emissions; what the volume of emissions was in the most recent period for which figures are available; when the Department started to offset its emissions; how much is expected to be spent on offsetting in 2006-07; and if he will make a statement. [116376]

Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence has recorded energy usage since 1990-91. The most recent year for which figures detailing the volume of departmental emissions are available is financial year 2004-05. I refer the hon. Member to the figures published on 10 October 2006, Official Report, columns 652-53W. Figures for FY 2005-06 are not yet available, but will be published in the Sustainable Development in Government Report 2005-06, a copy of which will be placed in the Library of the House.

The Department does not offset its emissions derived from energy use in buildings and facilities on the defence estate. However, MOD does support the Carbon Trust’s approach to reductions in emissions where offsetting is the final element of a plan to reduce an organisation’s carbon footprint. For MOD, reduction of energy use and increased use of energy from renewable sources will take precedence over carbon offsetting.

MOD has been collecting data on official air travel booked through the Head Office Travel Service, and has agreed to make a financial contribution to Government Carbon Offsetting Fund (GCOF) relative
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to the carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the air travel for civilian staff and service personnel in non-operational posts. The scheme started in April 2006. In 2005-06, MOD’s estimated annual financial contribution to GCOF at £151,658.67 based on a price of 10/tC. It is estimated that MOD will offset some 15,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. This will be revised using actual data from 2006-07 to establish the GCOF contribution required for this financial year.


Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Chinooks are (a) in working use in the UK military and (b) operating in Afghanistan. [116876]

Mr. Ingram: As at 18 January 2007, 40 Chinook HC2/2a are in service with the UK military. Of these, 25 are located in the Forward Fleet, involved in front-line and training activities, including eight which are currently deployed to Afghanistan.

I also refer the hon. Member to my answer of 8 January 2007, Official Report, column 87W and 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 76W, to the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox).

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