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5 Feb 2007 : Column 686W—continued


Cadets: School Leaving

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future of the Gap Year Commission in the British Army. [117891]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 1 February 2007]: Each year about 60 officers complete a Gap Year Commission, of whom some 20 to 25 convert to Short Service Commissions.

As the scheme is relatively expensive to run, and the Army has other means of graduate recruitment it was considered a lower priority and hence will not be funded once the current intake of young officers complete their attachments in mid 2007.


5 Feb 2007 : Column 687W

The Army continues to recruit the best young graduates through other schemes such as the University Officers Training Corps.

Departmental IT

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many attempts to gain unauthorised access to his Department's computer systems have (a) been detected and (b) succeeded in each of the last five years. [108323]

Mr. Ingram: External access from the internet to the Ministry of Defence's internal computer systems is channelled through a number of gateways. These gateways register constant external activity, including port scanning and the use of automated probes. Most of this activity is not identifiably targeting our networks; nor is it necessarily malicious. We focus on those attacks which have penetrated our gateways and have triggered incident response actions designed to limit any damage and reduce the risk of a recurrence.

There have been nine confirmed incidents of penetration of the Department's internal computer systems over the last five years. Details by year are given on the following table:

Number of incidents reported

2002

1

2003

2

2004

1

2005

0

2006

5

2007

(1)0

(1) As at 31 January 2007.

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any corrupt data have been detected on his Department's computer systems in the last 12 months. [108471]

Mr. Ingram: I assume that the hon. Member's question relates to the detection of deliberate attempts to corrupt data held on MOD computer systems, and not to routine virus 'infections' or other inadvertent and internally-generated instances of data corruption, that are liable to occur on any complex computer network.

To date, there are no reported incidents of deliberate data corruption held on the MOD's central IT incident database, which has been in operation since 2003.

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much it cost to clean the departmental computer stations affected by the Sasser worm in April and May 2004. [108708]

Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 8 January 2007, Official Report, column 84W. No such incidents were reported on MOD computer systems therefore no additional costs were incurred.


5 Feb 2007 : Column 688W

Housing

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2007, Official Report, column 1630W, on housing, if he will provide a breakdown of the service accommodation in Hampshire by type of property. [112620]

Mr. Ingram: The information requested is currently being collated and checked. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as this is complete 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 pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2007, Official Report, column 1631W, on meat supplies, what percentage of (a) poultry, (b) gammon and (c) bacon products supplied to the British armed forces has been bought from British farms. [112556]

Mr. Ingram: Since the beginning of the current contract in October 2006, 2 per cent. of poultry by value supplied to the British armed forces has been bought from British farms. All gammon and bacon products are imported.

Medical Regiments

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average period of rest between operational tours for members of the medical regiments was in each of the last three years. [117638]

Mr. Ingram: The average period of rest between operational tours for members of the Army's five medical regiments over the last three years was 30 months. The breakdown, by regiment, is as follows:

Serial Unit Tour interval (months)

1

1 Close Support Medical Regiment

24

2

3 Close Support Medical Regiment

30

3

4 General Support Medical Regiment

48

4

5 General Support Medical Regiment

12

5

16 Close Support Medical Regiment

36


5 General Support Medical Regiment has deployed in sub-units, rather than as a regiment. This has meant that for some sub-unit personnel tour intervals have been as low as 12 months, but this is not the case for all personnel in the regiment.

Met Office

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the annual budget of the Meteorological Office was in each year since 1977; and what budget has been allocated to the office for each of the next five years. [109885]


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Mr. Ingram: The annual revenue of the Met Office since 1977 is contained in the following tables. Prior to 1996, the cost of the Met Office was borne on the Defence Vote to which all receipts from non-MOD customers were also credited. Following the Met Office commencing operation as a Trading Fund in 1996, funding received from the MOD is included within turnover.

It is important that MOD regularly reviews its spending plans, balances relative priorities and drives efficiency in public spending. Ministerial decisions on the forward Defence programme will be taken in the first quarter of 2007, and appropriate announcements on the outcome of the planning round will be made in that time frame.

Financial year Turnover (£)

2005-06

170,361,000

2004-05

165,580,000

2003-04

160,775,000

2002-03

157,398,000

2001-02

154,759,000

2000-01

154,413,000

1999-2000

151,013,000

1998-99

152,875,000

1997-98

154,784,000

1996-97

151,987,000


Financial year Receipts( 1) (£) Net expenditure( 2) (£)

1995-96

59,700

104,300,000

1994-95

57,000

91,400,000

1993-94

54,900

97,500,000

1992-93

50,200

91,800,000

1991-92

44,200

77,800,000

1990-91

39,300

70,900,000

1989-90

32,700

72,800,000

1988-89

28,700

62,518,000

1987-88

25,802

58,335,000

1986-87

23,608

57,221,000

1985-86

21,755

51,903,000

1984-85

20,918

47,497,000

1983-84

18,929

44,092,000

1982-83

17,420

38,264,000

1981-82

16,680

35,629,000

1980-81

15,762

34,715,000

1979-80

12,897

27,086,000

1978-79

11,287

25,330,000

1977-78

8,747

20,017,000

1976-77

8,400

19,900,000

(1) Receipts from non-MOD customers.
(2) Net expenditure represents the cost of the Met Office borne by the Defence Vote (after deducting receipts from non-MOD customers).

Military Vehicles

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost, excluding the cost of the weapon, is of providing the Defender Remote Weapon Station on the Panther Future Command Liaison Vehicle; and what protection the station affords from sniper fire. [102641]


5 Feb 2007 : Column 690W

Mr. Ingram: Protection is provided by the vehicles' armour and the Enforcer Remote Weapon Station, which provides defensive fire for the user. I am withholding the cost of the weapon station as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interests.

Naval Deployment: Gulf

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes have been made to the UK naval posture in the Gulf region following the US decision to deploy an additional aircraft strike carrier group to the Gulf. [112541]

Mr. Ingram: There has been no change to UK’s naval posture in the Gulf region following the deployment of the US Carrier Group.

NHS Treatment: War Pensioners

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 30 January 2007 to question 115272, on NHS treatment: war pensioners, with which health authorities his Department has taken up cases of war pensioners not receiving priority treatment in the last 12 months; what methods his Department uses to take up such cases; and whether officials in the Veterans Agency take up cases with health authorities. [118420]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 2 February 2007]: Officials take up cases with the relevant health authority in respect of war pensioners where it is alleged that there is an issue around the provision of priority treatment. Formal records identifying the individual health authorities in each case are not kept. The methods used by the Department to take up these cases are mainly a combination of telephone and correspondence.

Overseas Accommodation

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the condition of accommodation overseas for members of the armed services and their families. [117639]

Mr. Ingram: Much has been invested in both single-living and family accommodation for service personnel, but much still needs to be done to ensure that all our accommodation is of a standard fit for the 21st century. We ask much of our armed forces, it is only right that we look after both them and their families both at home and abroad.

The condition of the overseas accommodation estate is varied. However, plans are in place to provide higher grade accommodation where appropriate.


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