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IRMO estimate that electricity generation since July 2006 has fluctuated between 3,000 megawatts (MW) and 5,350 MW. The average for 2006 was 4,400 MW, just above the pre-2003 level. During the week of 1-7 March, electricity availability averaged just under six hours per day in Baghdad, 12 hours in Basra and 16 hours in Nasiriyah.

Although 5,000 MW have been added to the national grid since 2003, electricity generation in Iraq is not meeting demand. This is due to several reasons: old and dilapidated infrastructure; a result of years of under-investment and mismanagement; shortage of fuel supplies; and sabotage of key facilities. Furthermore, demand has increased considerably to over 9,000 MW, with the influx of electrical goods such as refrigerators, televisions and air conditioning units.

Mauritania: Food Aid

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of reports from the United Nations World Food Programme on the supply of food to children in Mauritania; and whether the Government plans to contribute food to Mauritania. [126684]

Hilary Benn: In 2006-07, DFID has contributed £250,000 through the World Food Programme (WFP) to support feeding activities for 50,000 malnourished children and vulnerable mothers in the badly affected agro-pastoral zone in the south east of the country.

DFID is continuing to monitor the humanitarian situation in Mauritania and the other countries in the Sahel closely, and will maintain its flexible humanitarian support to short-term emergency, recovery and mitigation needs over the coming year. Simultaneously, DFID is providing support to tackle longer-term nutritional vulnerability in the region, as well as exploring longer-term options for improving food security. We have recently agreed to provide £1.5 million through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) over the next three years to improve infant feeding practices in six Sahelian countries; Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Benin.

North Korea: Overseas Aid

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether the announcement by the North Korean Government of its decision to abandon its nuclear weapons programme has had an effect on the level of UK humanitarian assistance in North Korea. [127338]

Mr. Thomas: There is no change to the UK policy on humanitarian assistance to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). We have never provided such aid bilaterally. We contribute as normal to the current EU programme of humanitarian assistance. Since 1995, around €118 million has been allocated to assist the most vulnerable groups of the population. Humanitarian assistance was provided to cover the immediate needs of flood-affected populations, to address food/nutritional problems, improve access to water as well as health care. The programme is expected to end in May 2008.

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Sudan: Internally Displaced Persons

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent estimate he has made of the number of internally displaced persons in Sudan. [122945]

Hilary Benn: In total, there are approximately four million people displaced in Sudan. Of these, over two million are in Darfur and a further two million who remain displaced as a result of the previous North-South conflict. Around 500,000 of these are expected to return to South Sudan and the Three Areas (former front-line areas) in 2007. They will join an estimated one million people who have already returned to the South since January 2004. There are also around 70,000 people displaced in the East as a result of the now-ended conflict there.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent estimate his Department has made of the numbers of internally-displaced people in Darfur. [127150]

Hilary Benn: The UN estimates that there are currently over two million people displaced in Darfur. However, the exact number of displaced people is difficult to ascertain as many parts of Darfur are highly insecure and inaccessible. This is further compounded as some displaced people have been forced to move for a second or even a third time.

USA: Corruption

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the government of the United States on tackling corruption. [126930]

Hilary Benn: DFID staff meet regularly with their counterparts from the USA. The key contact is with staff from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) but there are also frequent meetings with staff from the United States Department of Justice and State Department.

At Head Office level, in addition to one-to-one discussions, DFID staff and American staff work closely on the Anti-Corruption Task Team of the OECD Development Assistance Committee and on the expert groups to advise on the implementation of the UN Convention Against Corruption.

At a country level DFID and USAID work closely together on donor working groups on corruption and governance in countries such as Zambia and Yemen.


Armed Forces: Housing

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the profit-sharing scheme between HM Treasury and Annington Homes for sales of former Ministry of Defence housing and land includes provisions to take account of increases in the value of land due to (a) planning zone changes and (b) private development. [121133]

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Derek Twigg: The Profit Share Agreement with Annington Homes Ltd (AHL) does not define “planning zone changes”. However, the position is that even if AHL has not disposed of land by 2011, should planning permission has been granted on land, it will be assumed to have been sold and the market value will be established on that basis at the time.

There are no provisions relating specifically to private development, but any increase in the value of the land (for whatever reason) will be directly passed to the Ministry of Defence.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to change the future rapid effect system programme; and if he will make a statement. [124987]

Mr. Ingram: The Department reviewed the future rapid effect system (FRES) programme in 2006 to take account of our experience on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the light of recent developments in vehicle technology and protection systems. This review aimed to ensure we deliver the best possible vehicles able to meet the operational needs of the British Army through life.

The review also covered aspects of the procurement strategy, highlighting the need for an open systems architecture and the vital importance of UK residence for intellectual property underpinning the FRES systems. This point was praised by the House of Commons Defence Committee in their report entitled ‘The Army's requirement for armoured fighting vehicles: the FRES programme' published on 21 February 2007.

This review was completed last year. The procurement strategy has now been announced and we are now making rapid progress on the FRES programme with candidate vehicle designs undergoing proving trials this summer and the winning vehicle(s) selected by November 2007 to proceed to the next stage. It is essential to carry out this detailed assessment of the candidate vehicle designs and to drive out programme risk before the major investment decision is taken. Wednesday 14 March

Ballistic Missile Defence: USA

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he was first informed that (a) the US planned to use its Satellite Based Infra Red System (SBIRS) at Fylingdales to provide critical data for national missile defence systems and (b) SBIRS was key to the US’s ability to cue systems that would be used for active missile defence; and if he will make a statement. [126848]

Des Browne: There are no plans to use RAF Fylingdales as part of the Space Based Infra Red System (SBIRS). The role of SBIRS in the US ballistic missile defence system has been well understood by the UK for a number of years.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which sites in the UK are being considered for the possible deployment of US missiles for the US Missile Defense system. [126934]

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Mr. Ingram: No sites in the UK are presently under consideration as possible locations for a ground based interceptor site.

Clyde Submarine Base: Ambulance Services

John McFall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the reasons are for the change in the extent of ambulance cover at HM Naval Base Clyde; [126082]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effects on health and safety of the change in the extent of ambulance cover at HM Naval Base Clyde; and if he will make a statement. [126083]

Mr. Ingram: The Scottish Ambulance Service provides cover at HMNB Clyde, which is currently augmented by full time on-site cover. The provision of ambulance cover at HMNB Clyde was reviewed last year as part of a base initiative to consider how best to reduce costs without affecting outputs. The proposed changes involve a cessation of on-site cover at weekends and Bank holidays. These arrangements are consistent with national and military guidelines, which recommend that an initial response to a serious life threatening incident should be provided within eight minutes.

Courts Martial

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) correspondence and (b) instructions he issued to (i) the army prosecuting authority and (ii) unit commanders following receipt of the Attorney- General's letter on prosecutions of members of the armed forces dated 23 March 2005. [122278]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 22 February 2007]: The Attorney-General and the Secretary of State have corresponded about issues relating to military justice.

The army prosecuting authority is an independent prosecuting authority under the general superintendence of the Attorney-General. It would have been inappropriate for there to have been correspondence between the Secretary of State and the APA concerning its responsibilities relating to particular cases referred to it under the Army Act 1955, and there has been none. Nor have any instructions been issued by or on behalf of the Secretary of State to the APA, to unit commanders, or to anyone else with responsibility for the investigation or prosecution of offences.

Defence: Finance

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the change in defence spending in (a) real and (b) actual terms was in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [124594]

Mr. Ingram: This information was published in HM Treasury's Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses, CM6811, in May 2006 a copy of which is in the Library of the House and is available at

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Departments: Assets

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which fixed assets his Department sold for more than £50,000 in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06; and what the (i) sale value, (ii) purchaser and (iii) date of sale was of each asset. [120693]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave him on 29 January 2007, Official Report, column 27W and 20 February 2007, Official Report, column 620W for information about non-property assets.

I will place in the Library of the House a list of those sales of over £50,000, including the month of sale. I am unable to provide sale values as we are unable to assess the potential commercial interests of the large number of buyers without incurring disproportionate cost. Details of purchasers are not held centrally and could be provided at disproportionate cost only.


Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people (a) are eligible for and (b) have applied for the UK armed forces veterans lapel badge in (i) the UK and (ii) Cheadle constituency. [121027]

Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence has insufficient information to make an accurate assessment of the number of people entitled to HM armed forces veterans lapel badge but estimate that the total number is around five million.

Between May 2004 and 17 April 2005 some 82,000 badges were issued but detailed records of applications were not kept. Between 18 April 2005 and 9 February 2007 a further 337,387 applications have been received and 313,099 badges issued.

Information is not held on applicants' addresses by parliamentary constituency and the information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. I can state that 237 badges have been sent to individuals giving Cheadle as their address.

Hyper-sonic Mass Technology

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the role of hyper-sonic mass technology in the Defence Industrial Strategy. [126141]

Mr. Ingram: Hyper-sonic mass technology is identified briefly in section Bl1 of the Defence Industrial Strategy, published December 2005, but further clarification is contained within section B7 of the Defence Technology Strategy, published October 2006. Copies of both strategies are available in the Library of the House.

Iraq: Peace Keeping Operations

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the design advantages of (a) a flat bottomed vehicle and (b) positioning the driver over a front wheel when considering the protection of British armed forces on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. [127020]

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Mr. Ingram: I will not comment on specific levels of protection for reasons of operational security.

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether British troops will be protected from vertically impacting indirect fire when all are accommodated at Basra air base. [127022]

Mr. Ingram: There is currently a substantial level of protection against mortar and rocket fire afforded to troops at Basra air station, and which has already saved lives. The MOD is continuing to invest in further improvements.

Development of appropriate measures (equipment, vehicles and infrastructure) to best protect our troops is a dynamic and constantly evolving process to keep ahead of the threat. Improved countermeasures, tactics and intelligence are continually being developed and the MOD has invested huge amounts (over half a billion pounds across all theatres) in force protection over recent years.

It would be inappropriate to specify in detail much of this work in the interests of operational security.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many requests from Iraqi authorities have been received by British forces to re-intervene in (a) Muthanna and (b) Dhi Qar since the handover of security responsibility to the Iraqis in each of these provinces. [127157]

Mr. Ingram: British Forces have not received any requests from Iraqi authorities to re-intervene in Muthanna or Dhi Qar since the handover of security responsibility to the Iraqis in these provinces.

Land: Contamination

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what instructions have been given by Defence Estates to his Department’s agents Drivers Jonas on the disposal of contaminated sites and interpretation of Treasury advice to obtain best value. [126745]

Derek Twigg: The disposal instructions given by Defence Estates to its agents will vary from case to case, but generally require the property to be sold with the benefit of relevant marketing material, including an information pack, land quality assessment and planning position statement. In accordance with Treasury and departmental guidelines, the property will normally be sold through open competition, either through a formal tender; or informal tender or auction, unless it is required by another Government Department or public body or there are former owner (Crichel Down) considerations.

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