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Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the feedback from (a) ground commanders, (b) vehicle operators and (c) senior officers on the deployment of the Bulldog vehicle. 
Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether the recommendations of the joint US Defence Science Board and the Defence Scientific Advisory Council report on defence critical technologies will inform future UK policies on defence research and development and the defence industrial strategy; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) whether he has accepted the recommendations of the joint US Defence Science Board and UK Defence Scientific Advisory Councils report on defence critical technologies; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) how and to what extent the recommendations of the joint US Defence Service Board and UK Defence Scientific Advisory Council report on defence critical technologies contributed to the drafting of the defence technology strategy. 
Mr. Ingram: The Defence Scientific Advisory Council was involved in the extensive and detailed work between MOD, industry and academia in the wide-ranging review of defence technology following the publication of the defence industrial strategy at the end of 2005. This specifically enabled the findings of the many DSAC enquiries and studies (including the joint work with US Defence Service Board on defence critical technologies) to influence the defence technology strategy. A copy of the defence technology strategy, which states MODs position on the breadth of defence technologies, is in the Library of the House.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2007, Official Report, column 27W, on departmental fixed assets, what information his Department holds centrally on its asset sales. 
Mr. Ingram: The only data held centrally are those collected for the purposes of the consolidated monthly sales returns produced for the Disposal Services Agency. This information, which is not broken down by individual sale items, is used for accounting and reporting purposes, and is recorded annually in the Agency Key Targets, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.
Derek Twigg: In May 2002, the Department published its Race Equality Scheme which covered the period 2002-05. It was subsequently extended for a further year to 31 March 2006. The scheme set out our arrangements to meet the general and specific duties placed on it under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. The scheme covered the MOD as a government Department, the armed forces and the Chief Constable of the MOD police. We have since published three subsequent progress reports against the Scheme for 2003, 2004 and 2005. We are about to publish a short final supplementary report covering the period August 2005 to March 2006.
In April 2006, the Department published its first overarching MOD Equality and Diversity Scheme 2006-09, together with a set of Action Plans for 2006-07. Like the Race Equality Scheme, it encompasses the armed forces, civilians, the MOD police and Executive Agencies. This new scheme fulfils the Departments legal obligations to have an Equality Scheme in place under current race and disability legislation, as well as the forthcoming gender duty which comes into force in April 2007. A report against the Action Plan 2006-07 will be published later this year together with a further Action Plan for 2007-08.
http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/WhatWe Do/Personnel/EqualityAndDiversity/RaceEqualityScheme 20022005.htm
Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence does not allocate in advance funds to Combat Stress. The Department meets individual costs relating to war pensioners who undergo remedial treatment at one of the two Combat Stress homes in England for conditions related to their individual war pensioned disablement. The overall amount of funding is therefore driven by the number of war pensioners who receive treatment and the length of each stay, as well as the rate of the daily fee. Separate payment is provided from the Scottish Health Board for treatment of war pensioners at Hollybush House. The Ministry of Defence also meets the cost of related expenses such as travel expenses on an individual basis, including to Hollybush House.
Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what funding his Department provided to (a) the mental health charity Combat Stress and (b) Hollybush House in each year between 2001 and 2006. 
Derek Twigg: For MOD expenditure since 2001 in respect of individual remedial treatment of qualifying war pensioners at Combat Stress homes in England, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 12 December 2006, Official Report, column 933W, to the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife (Willie Rennie). Separate funding is provided from the Scottish Health Board for war pensioners treatment at Hollybush House.
Derek Twigg: The following table shows the number of staff that have been seconded from the Ministry of Defence in each year since 2002. Records are not kept centrally to show whether these secondments are to private or public organisations. These secondments are arranged within the Business Units and no central records are retained of the company or organisation to which staff are seconded. This additional information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
|Secondments out of the MOD|
Mr. Ingram: The key factors in the decision to procure 70 Future Lynx helicopters (as opposed to Super Lynx), with an option to procure a further 10, were delivery of the required military capability, value for money and coherency with the Defence Industrial Strategy.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what feasibility studies have been undertaken by his Department on acquiring a replacement for the Vanguard class ship submersible ballistic nuclear submarines without using the construction facility at Barrow in Furness; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: I refer my hon. Friend to the information contained in the White Paper The Future of the United Kingdoms Nuclear Deterrent (Cmd 6994). It would be our intention to build the new SSBNs in the UK. But this is dependent on proposals from industry that provide the right capability at the right time and offer value for money. Progress towards industrial consolidation and a sustainable industrial base will be an important ingredient. The current industrial structure limits the scope for system-level competition in the UK. Therefore the key to successful procurement in the UK would be to work closely with industry right down the supply chain to put in place effective contractual arrangements that run through the life of the platform.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many parliamentary written questions his Department received in each parliamentary session since 2001; and how many of these questions (a) were not answered because of disproportionate cost, (b) were not answered, (c) received answers referring back to a previous answer (i) asked by the hon. Member and (ii) asked by another hon. Member and (d) were grouped together for answer; 
(2) what target his Department has for the maximum acceptable amount of time to answer parliamentary
written questions; and what percentage of parliamentary answers met that target in each parliamentary session since 2001. 
Derek Twigg: The information is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. I am able to provide the total number of parliamentary questions tabled to the Ministry of Defence in each session since 2001 and this is shown in the following table.
|Session||Total number of questions|
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 6 December 2006, Official Report, columns 446-48W, on the private finance initiative, whether public private partnership contracts are included in this list. 
Derek Twigg: In January 2007, the trained requirement for Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) personnel was 2,460, and the actual trained strength was 2,160. The total strength of all RFA personnel was 2,370.
Precise data for trained strength in 1997 were lost in 1998 following the failure of the RFA's HR computer system. The data still held indicate that the requirement was about 2,600 in April 1997. The total strength of all RFA personnel was 2,210.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of skilled jobs which will be involved in the (a) design, (b) construction and (c) maintenance work required for Trident replacement. 
Mr. Ingram: No decisions have yet been taken on the procurement strategy for a replacement for the Vanguard class submarines. On this basis it is too early to speculate about the number of skilled jobs that might be involved in the design, construction and maintenance.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what budget has been allocated to fund the rebranding of the Veterans Agency and Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency as the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many former members of the UK armed forces are entitled to the Veterans Badge; how many such badges have been (a) issued and (b) claimed; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg [holding answer 30 January 2007]: All regular and reserve personnel are entitled to the HM Armed Forces Veterans Badge on leaving the UK Armed Forces; the numbers will change from year to year depending on changes in outflow but for regulars, for example, this involves some 23,000 leavers in the last year. Not all leavers wish to receive a badge and we do not currently collect statistics on the number of badges issued to personnel on leaving the armed forces.
All existing ex-service personnel are also entitled to the Veterans Badge. However, for practical reasons the eligibility to apply for the badge has had to be phased in. Since 18 April 2005, the Veterans Agency has administered the badge and, as at 27 January 2007, 300,493 applications for badges had been received and 296,838 badges had been issued to ex-service personnel and to widows and widowers whose spouses deaths were attributable to their service.
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