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Departments: PFI

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of his Department’s budget will be taken up by private finance initiative commitments in each of the next 10 years, assuming that the budget grows in line with the Treasury’s estimates for gross domestic product over the period; and if he will make a statement. [125190]

Mr. Ingram: Treasury forecasts for GDP, as set out on their website at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk, only extend out to financial year 2010-11. Assuming the Defence budget grows in line with the GDP deflator,
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the estimated percentage of the Department’s budget taken up by private finance initiative unitary charge payments for signed deals would be as follows:

Financial year Estimated percentage of budget taken by PFI

2007-08

3.6

2008-09

3.6

2009-10

3.7

2010-11

3.6


These figures exclude projects currently considering the private finance initiative as a procurement option, but on which final decisions have not been taken.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of his Department’s budget was taken up by private finance initiative commitments in each of the last 10 years for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. [125191]

Mr. Ingram: The percentage of the Department’s budget taken up by private finance initiative expenditure on unitary charge payments for which information is available is as follows:

Financial year Percentage of budget taken by PFI

1999-2000

1.4

2000-01

2.0

2001-02

2.3

2002-03

2.2

2003-04

2.4

2004-05

2.7

2005-06

3.2

2006-07

3.5


Iraq: Peace Keeping Operations

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the number of soldiers serving with UK forces from each country of the Commonwealth in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan. [125566]

Derek Twigg: Data on the nationality of armed forces personnel deployed on operation are not held centrally in databases of individual records and it is therefore not possible to give figures by Nationality.

MOD Police

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 26 February 2007, Official Report, column 1046W, on the MOD Police, what the reason is for the level of reduction in the number of his Department's police officers at the Colchester Garrison. [124449]

Derek Twigg: The reduction results from a review of policy needs across the Army estate that was carried out by Land Command.


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Navy: Deployment

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what average percentage of Royal Navy personnel was away at sea at any one time in the last period for which figures are available. [124590]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 18 January 2007, Official Report, column 1266W, to the hon. Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham (Daniel Kawczynski).

Navy: Reserve Forces

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his strategy is for bringing the Royal Navy Reserve up to strength. [124591]

Derek Twigg: Recruiting is essential to maintaining an effective force and comprehensive recruiting plans have been prepared to ensure that the RNR strength is maintained at the required level. These plans include:

Retention is not currently an issue within the RNR. Over the past six years outflow has remained stable.

Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the questions submitted by the public as part of his online question and answer session on 17 January were on the UK’s nuclear weapons; and what criteria were used to select the questions to be answered. [112255]

Des Browne: During the online webchat on 17 January, there were nearly 550 questions submitted, around 20 per cent. of which were related to the UK’s nuclear weapons or non-proliferation policy. There were no set criteria used to select the questions to be answered.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 26 February 2007, Official Report, column 1046W, on nuclear weapons, if he will make available copies of each of the written submissions on the future of UK nuclear weapons. [125050]

Des Browne [holding answer 5 March 2007]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Morley and Rothwell (Colin Challen).

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effects of exploding a (a) 0.5 KT, (b) 100 KT and (c) 500 KT nuclear warhead launched from a Trident submarine on to a centre of population density. [126564]

Des Browne: The impacts of the detonation of a nuclear weapon would depend on a wide range of variable factors. These include the yield and design of
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the weapon; the accuracy of the delivery system; the nature and construction of the target; the geographical characteristics of the surrounding terrain; geological conditions in the target area; the height of weapon burst; and the weather conditions at the target. I am withholding information on UK nuclear warhead yields as it would, or would be likely to prejudice national security.

Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the responses he has received to the consultation on the proposed replacement for Trident. [120887]

Des Browne [holding answer 19 February 2007]: Between 4 December 2006 and 1 March 2007, the Department received 838 cards and letters that related in whole or in part to renewing the nuclear deterrent. Examples of the cards received, copies of the representations from organisations and groups, and a statistical analysis of the content of individually written letters will be placed in the Library of the House. We are also making this material available on the Ministry of Defence website at:

Royal Naval Hospital Haslar

Peter Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what name the Royal Hospital Haslar will be known after 1 April 2007. [126562]

Derek Twigg: We see no reason to change the name.

Urgent Operational Requirements

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 2 February 2007, Official Report, column 963W, on urgent operational requirements, what plans he has to review the system for informing Ministers of requests for equipment made at higher command levels. [124943]

Des Browne: We keep our arrangements for handling urgent operational requirements (UORs) under constant review. As well as receiving regular updates on UORs in the round, Ministers are informed as necessary about specific UORs which require their attention. The UOR process is highly successful in procuring and delivering operation-specific capability rapidly to UK forces.

Warships

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when he expects to reply substantively to question 109277, on destroyer and frigate availability, tabled by the hon. Member for New Forest, East for named day answer on 18 December 2006; [124664]

(2) how many of the Fleet’s (a) destroyers and (b) frigates are not available for service; and for what reason in each case. [109277]

Mr. Ingram [holding answers 2 March 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to the letter I sent to him on 6 March
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2006, which identifies the destroyers and frigates that are at low states of readiness. These include one destroyer (HMS Liverpool) and four frigates (HMS Cumberland, HMS Somerset, HMS Iron Duke and HMS St. Albans). As explained in my letter, in all cases these ships are at low readiness because they are preparing for, or undergoing, refit.

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether HMS Albion is scheduled to be placed in extended readiness; and if he will make a statement. [124813]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 6 March 2007]: I am withholding details as it would, or would be likely to, prejudice the security of our armed forces.

I refer the hon. Member to my letter of 6 March to him, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.

Communities and Local Government

Departments: Nurseries

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) nursery and crèche places and (b) other facilities are provided for the children of employees of her Department in London. [126561]

Angela E. Smith: The Department does not provide nursery or crèche places, however, we offer the following facilities to staff with children in addition to a range of flexible working, special leave and career break options:

Homelessness: Eastbourne

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding (a) Eastbourne council and (b) voluntary sector organisations in Eastbourne have received from the Homelessness Directorate under the Hostels Improvement Programme. [125485]

Yvette Cooper: The Hostels Capital Improvement Programme (HCIP) will provide over £90 million to around 143 projects in 47 local authority areas in England. In the South Eastern region, 18 projects have been allocated HCIP funding, totalling over £13 million.

No funding from the HCIP has been allocated to Eastbourne borough council or to voluntary sector organisations in Eastbourne.


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Homelessness: Lancashire

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homeless people there were in Lancashire in each of the last 10 years. [125316]

Yvette Cooper: Information about local authorities’ actions under homelessness legislation is collected quarterly at local authority level, in respect of households rather than people. The county of Lancashire includes the following local authorities: Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Burnley, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire and Wyre.

Information reported each quarter by local authorities about their activities under homelessness legislation includes the number of households accepted by local authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty.

The duty owed to an accepted household is to secure suitable accommodation. If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority may secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available. The number of households in temporary accommodation arranged by the councils under homelessness legislation, as at the end of each quarter, is reported by local authorities, and includes both those households who have been accepted as owed the main homelessness duty, and those for which inquiries are pending.

This data is published in our quarterly statistical release on Statutory Homelessness, which includes a Supplementary Table showing the breakdown of key data, including acceptances and temporary accommodation, by each local authority. This is published on our website and placed in the Library each quarter.

Since 1998, information has also been collected on the number of people who sleep rough—that is, those who are literally roofless on a single night—and these are also published on our website, by local authority.

Summary tables showing the total number of households (a) accepted under homelessness provisions and (b) in temporary accommodation, from 1997-98 to 2005-06, and (c) rough sleeper estimates from 1998 onwards, for each local authority (including those within the county of Lancashire), were placed in the Library in October 2006. Note that these summary tables also include any revisions made by local authorities since the Supplementary Tables were published.

Local Government: Somerset

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what plans she has to consult the residents of Somerset before making a decision on local government reorganisation in the county; and if she will make a statement; [119298]


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(2) if she will make it her policy to consult the people of Somerset on all the proposals for local government organisation made in 2007 to her Department by the (a) district councils and (b) County Council in Somerset; and if she will make a statement. [119299]

Mr. Woolas: It was open to councils in their submissions to provide information about the public support for their proposal.

Those proposals which will proceed to stage 2 of the assessment process will be subject to consultation. We intend this consultation will be for a 12-week period from the end of March until the end of June 2007. Within this period, it will be open to anyone to make representations to the Secretary of State on the proposals.


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