Previous Section Index Home Page

6 Mar 2007 : Column 1858W—continued

Armed Forces: Private Education

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what system of accountability is in place to monitor the decisions made by service personnel who have children in private education funded by his Department; what checks are made of (a) claims issued and (b) allowance sought; whether inappropriate claims can be recouped; and whether disciplinary action can be taken following misuse of funds. [125023]

Derek Twigg: All three services are required to ensure that all Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA) applications are strictly in accordance with current regulations so that the allowance is only paid to those eligible and meets the Department’s aim.

6 Mar 2007 : Column 1859W

The aim of CEA is to assist service personnel to achieve continuity of education for their child(ren) that would otherwise be denied in the maintained day school sector if their child(ren) accompanied them on frequent assignments both at home and overseas. On receipt of the allowance it is a parent’s choice whether to educate their child(ren) in either a state maintained or private boarding school.

A service applicant must acknowledge formally that they are submitting a CEA claim in accordance with current regulations. Also, they must certify that their family will move with them to their new duty station whenever their service requires them to do so. This is known as family mobility and is a significant commitment for a service family. Therefore, should a service person fail to move their family with them when they are assigned to a new duty station, then their entitlement to CEA will be reviewed. This may result in the allowance being stopped and the service person required to repay any CEA they have received prior to that posting.

At all times, the service claimant must fully accept that accompanied service is the overriding principle for maintaining CEA entitlement. Accompanied service is when a service person maintains a home in which their spouse/civil partner and any dependant child(ren) normally live and from which the service person travels daily to work. However, there are a few exceptions to the accompanied service criteria, but these only apply when it is unreasonable for a service person to be accompanied by their family, such as when they are undertaking an operational deployment. In such circumstances, the services ensure that CEA is only paid strictly in accordance with current regulations.

CEA is now administered by Joint Personnel Administration (JPA), which undertakes a number of automatic checks for all claims. JPA will check:

JPA will also limit the service claimant to one claim for each child per term. In addition, all claims are subject to manual authorisation by either service or civilian human resources (HR) staff. They will consider every claim and the claimant must provide receipted bills for the previous term’s school fees to their HR authoriser before any payment is approved. If, upon investigation, a claim is deemed to be fraudulent or contrary to regulations, then administrative action is undertaken to recover in full these payments. In addition, following an appropriate investigation, this could result in disciplinary action against a claimant.

Armed Forces: Recruitment

Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what targets his Department sets for the skills mix of new recruits to the armed forces; [122759]

6 Mar 2007 : Column 1860W

(2) pursuant to the answer of 2 February 2007, Official Report, column 551W, on recruitment, what (a) level of education and (b) qualifications had been achieved by recruits to the armed forces. [122810]

Derek Twigg: All potential OR recruits have to pass a basic entry test; Naval Service applicants sit the Recruit Test (RT); Army applicants the British Army Recruit Battery (BARB) Test; RAF applicants the Airman Selection Test (AST). This test provides an objective and reliable assessment of the potential recruit’s intellectual capability and aptitude to succeed in trade training. In addition:

The armed forces do not have specific skills mix targets for recruits. The results of the basic entry tests determine the branches/trade(s) for which new recruits are eligible.

Army: Zimbabwe

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people were recruited to the Army from Zimbabwe in each of the last three years. [125266]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 5 March 2007]: The table provides intake figures to the Army for those personnel with a nationality of Zimbabwean in each of the last three years:

6 Mar 2007 : Column 1861W
Intake( 1) from civilian life to UK Regular Army( 2) , for those with a nationality( 3) of Zimbabwean
Date of Intake Number of Inflows







(1) Figures show all intake to the UK Regular Army including re-enlistments and rejoined reservists. Figures include both officer and soldier intake. (2) UK Regular Army includes nursing services and excludes full-time reserve service personnel, Gurkhas, the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment and mobilised reservists. It includes trained and untrained personnel. (3) The nationality given above is that recorded on intake and not necessarily the same as the nationality at birth. Note: Figures have been rounded to 10. When rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in "5" have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias. Totals and sub-totals have been rounded separately and so may not appear to be the sum of the parts.

Iraq and Afghanistan

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are being taken to recruit and train paramedics to serve with the front lines in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [123445]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 28 February 2007]: The single services each currently assess that their individual requirement for paramedics who would meet the civilian Health Professions Council (HPC) criteria is small, and each recruits and trains personnel to meet their particular requirements.

Royal Navy

The Navy recruits and trains a range of personnel who come under the heading of medical assistants, many of whom undertake equivalent tasks to civilian paramedics but who would not meet the specific HPC criteria. Medical assistants are recruited and trained according to an overall Navy requirement rather than in support of a specific land-based deployment to, for example, Iraq or Afghanistan. With regard to specific deployments, medical assistants undertake the same pre-deployment training as other medical personnel. Within the cadre of medical assistants there are a number of sub-specialties such as operating department practitioners, commando, and submarine who will also receive extra training for their speciality.


The Army Medical Service (AMS) does have a small number of paramedics. However, the majority of personnel are recruited as combat medical technicians (CMTs) whose duties are similar to those of ambulance technicians but with additional primary health care and military acute care training, which is developed to meet the particular needs of combat. Although the Regular and Territorial Army have recruited a few qualified civilian paramedics, CMTs generally join as unqualified individuals and then receive specific medical training while they are serving. A small number of CMTs have been selected for paramedic training.

While basic training for all operations is the same, all AMS personnel undertake pre-deployment training prior to operations to ensure that skills are tailored to the specific threats of that theatre. MOD has contracts with the East Anglia and Great Western NHS Ambulance Trusts. East Anglia provides ambulance technician training for Army combat medical technicians and Great Western provides full paramedic training to achieve Health Professions Council registration.

6 Mar 2007 : Column 1862W


There are currently no established paramedic posts in the RAF. However, the RAF has recently identified an operational requirement of 65 medical assistants to be trained as paramedics. Work is currently being undertaken by the Personnel and Policy Steering Group to fulfil this requirement, with the aim of training appropriate personnel during the next two years.

To comply with the RAF operational requirements for their helicopter immediate response teams, the RAF personnel will also receive training to work with the Great Western helicopter emergency services.

Meat Supplies

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 5 February 2007, Official Report, column 688W, on meat supplies, which countries provided the poultry, gammon and bacon products which were imported. [121963]

Derek Twigg: Poultry is currently being sourced from the UK, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Thailand, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. The exact amount purchased from each country is dependant upon constantly changing market factors including quality, availability and cost. Gammon and bacon products are being sourced from Denmark and The Netherlands.

Military Bases

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many full-time equivalent employees are employed by contractors at (a) HM Naval Base, Clyde, (b) AWE Aldermaston and (c) AWE Burghfield. [120589]

Derek Twigg: The Department does not centrally hold data concerning employees of contractors.

Information from Babcock Naval Services, the MOD’s industrial partner at HM Naval Base, Clyde, indicate that in addition to the number of people employed at Babcock Naval Services, which stands at around 1,430 (headcount), there are around 300 (headcount) additional sub-contractors at the base.

Information from AWE plc, the primary contractors at the combined sites of AWE Aldermaston and AWE Burghfield, indicates that approximately 2,000 people are employed through various contracting arrangements with AWE plc to support operations at those sites. This is in addition to the staff that AWE plc themselves employ, about which the hon. Member has asked separately.

Nuclear Weapons

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision was made for the operating cost of conventional forces protecting the nuclear deterrent within the current and projected in-service costs of the UK's nuclear deterrent published in paragraph 5-14 of the White Paper on the Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent. [123987]

6 Mar 2007 : Column 1863W

Des Browne: Paragraph 5-14 of the White Paper: “The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent” (Cm 6994) refers to the current and future in-service costs of the UK's nuclear deterrent, including the costs for the Atomic Weapons Establishment. It does not include the cost of any conventional forces. This is in line with the way we normally report the costs of the nuclear deterrent.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the work detailed in the breakdown of nuclear liabilities outlined in the answer to the hon. Member for Newport, West (Paul Flynn) of 24 July 2006, Official Report, columns 778-79W, on nuclear liabilities, is likely to be carried out before 2055; and which of the items in that answer are included in the projected in-service costs for Trident and its replacement in paragraph 5-14 of the White Paper on the Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent. [124012]

Des Browne: Some 65 per cent. of the nuclear liabilities outlined in the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Paul Flynn) of 24 July 2006, Official Report, columns 778-79W, are expected to be incurred before 2055. The elements of those liabilities related to the current Trident system are included in the estimate of in-service costs of the UK’s nuclear deterrent set out at paragraph 5-14 of the White Paper: “The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent” (Cm 6994). That estimate also includes an allowance for the decommissioning of a successor system.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the role of the British nuclear deterrent in countering terrorism from abroad; whether he plans to revise the new chapter of the Strategic Defence Review on this subject to take account of the White Paper on Trident; and if he will make a statement. [124652]

Des Browne: As we set out in paragraph 3-11 of the White Paper “The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent (Cm 6994)”.

As such, the position is entirely consistent with the analysis set out in the Strategic Defence Review: New Chapter (Cm 5566).

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what he expects the annual expenditure on renewing the UK's nuclear deterrent capability to be in each of the next 20 years. [125067]

Des Browne [holding answer 2 March 2007]: Our initial estimates of the future costs (including the procurement costs) involved in sustaining our independent nuclear deterrent capability were set out in paragraphs 5-11 to 5-14 of the White Paper: “The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent”, published on 4 December. At this very early stage in the procurement process, we are not in a position to break down these estimates in the way requested.

6 Mar 2007 : Column 1864W

Territorial Army: Pay

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) in which month annual bounties were paid to serving members of the Territorial Army in respect of service in each year between 1997 and 2006; [123751]

(2) in which month annual bounties will be paid to serving members of the Territorial Army in respect of service in 2006-07. [123752]

Derek Twigg: Annual bounties were paid to members of the Territorial Army in every month of the calendar years 1997 to 2006 inclusive.

While it cannot be predicted in which months annual bounties will be paid for service in 2007, the majority are normally paid in April of each calendar year as the end of the Territorial Army training year is 31 March.


Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the (a) average and (b) total annual cost of the (i) maintenance, (ii) storage and (iii) transportation of bearskin headpieces. [123268]

Mr. Ingram: The average cost of refurbishing a bearskin cap is between £250 to £300, depending on the type of repair. An estimated 550 bearskin caps have been refurbished since 2001 at a cost of approximately £150,000. There are no other maintenance costs. Bearskins are stored with other items of uniform and incur no additional storage costs. Details of transportation could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Next Section Index Home Page