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21 Mar 2007 : Column 926W—continued

Full-time equivalents( 1)

Core MOD


Locally engaged civilians




(1) Full-time equivalence counts part-time staff by the number of hours they work as a proportion of their full-time conditioned hours.

Hercules Aircraft

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will assess the adequacy of work carried out by the contractors fitting suppressant foam to Hercules aircraft. [128356]

Mr. Ingram: We are satisfied that the contractor is applying quality assurance processes robustly and that the fitting of explosive suppressant foam to Hercules aircraft will be completed within the agreed timeframe.

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the value of the Hercules aircraft ZH876 and its contents that was written off and destroyed following the landing accident north of Basra. [128945]

Mr. Ingram: The current market value of a C-130J aircraft is in the region of £45 million.

Identification Friend Foe Systems

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether he expects the Battlefield Target Identification System to supersede the Bowman and Coalition Blue Force Situational Awareness Demonstrator; [122218]

(2) whether he expects the Battlefield Target Identification System to be fully inter-operable with (a) the United States and (b) other NATO countries; [122220]

(3) when he expects the Battlefield Target Identification System to come into service; and if he will make a statement. [122221]

Mr. Ingram: The Battlefield Target Identification System (BTIS) is intended to help identify friendly forces, helping to reduce the risk of fratricide. It will complement other systems providing better situational awareness and also contributing to reduced risk of fratricide, such as Bowman and the Coalition Blue Force Situational Awareness Demonstrator, not replace them.

The BTIS programme has not yet reached its main investment decision point and in line with our normal practice no in-service date will be confirmed until that point. We fully recognise the importance of any UK combat identification system being inter-operable with US and other NATO and coalition partners.

Iraq: Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Mastiff protected patrol vehicles have reached the front-line troops in Iraq. [128856]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 March 2007]: The first Mastiff vehicles were delivered to Iraq at the end of 2006 and are being used on operations.

I am withholding details on the number of vehicles that are currently deployed as it would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our Armed Forces.

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Iraq: Peace Keeping Operations

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many soldiers from Welsh regiments he expects to be included in the next roulement of troops that will be sent to Iraq in June; and if he will make a statement. [128426]

Mr. Ingram: A total of 640 soldiers from the Battlegroup headquarters and three armoured infantry companies of the Second Battalion, the Royal Welsh Regiment and one infantry company of the First Battalion, the Royal Welsh Regiment will be deploying to Iraq in June as announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence in his statement on 22 February 2007, Official Report, column 59WS.

Mine Clearing Vehicles

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many mine clearing vehicles were sold from his Department's inventory in each of the last four years. [128282]

Mr. Ingram: The only mine clearing vehicles that MOD has sold in the last four years are three Aardvark Flail units which were sold in 2005.

Royal Naval Hospital Haslar

Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to relocate the Royal Hospital Haslar. [128230]

Derek Twigg: None. The Royal Hospital Haslar will lose its formal military status on 31 March. However, we expect that it will continue to operate much as it does now until late 2009, with the support of military doctors and nurses, providing health care to the local community and, in very small numbers, military patients, until Portsmouth Hospitals Trust is able to relocate its clinical activity elsewhere. The hospital will then be closed.

Military doctors and nurses will continue to maintain their skills and treat patients in the hospitals of the Portsmouth Hospital Trust and other NHS trusts which host Ministry of Defence Hospital Units (MDHUs). Military patients will continue to receive treatment from the MDHU host trusts and other parts of the NHS.

Selly Oak Hospital

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how the (a) accommodation and (b) treatment of wounded servicemen and women is organised at the NHS Selly Oak hospital. [128483]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 19 March 2007]: Military patients admitted to Selly Oak hospital, or other hospitals of the University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust, are accommodated in wards appropriate to their clinical need. The largest number of operational casualties have required treatment as trauma orthopaedic cases. They are therefore the focus
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for the military managed ward that has been developed at Selly Oak to enable military patients to be accommodated together in a single ward, where it is clinically appropriate to do so.

The military managed ward offers the opportunity to accommodate military patients together in six-bedded bays or, when necessary, in side isolation rooms. A works project, now out to tender, will change the layout of the ward to produce a separate area for military patients, utilising the two bays and isolation rooms at the far end of the ward.

The treatment of military patients is the responsibility of the NHS Trust. A military trauma co-ordinator is responsible for liaising with clinical colleagues, military and civilian, to provide advice on Service issues and ensure that military aspects of military patients’ treatment are fully taken into account. On the military managed ward, military nurses will always be on duty and currently include 19 qualified nurses and 5 health care assistants. They work closely together with NHS colleagues to provide nursing care, with special emphasis on military patients. A military ward manager, supported by three military deputies, is responsible for all aspects of the military presence on the ward.

Military patients at Selly Oak and elsewhere in the Birmingham area are supported by the work of two full-time community psychiatric nurses and four welfare officers of the Defence Medical Welfare Service. Families of injured Service personnel are provided with welfare support and accommodation when necessary. Accommodation available includes seven flats, plus a number of family rooms.

We shall continue to enhance the capability of the military managed ward and the care available for all military patients. The development of the ward would not have been possible without the close and enthusiastic support of the NHS Trust.

Work and Pensions

Children: Day Care

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the availability of wraparound child care. [126068]

Mr. Jim Murphy: My Department works closely with the Department for Education and Skills on the delivery of the Government's ambitious 10-year child care strategy, including the extension of wraparound child care.

The Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Education and Skills share two PSA targets, to improve outcomes for young children and to increase the stock and the take up of formal child care as a contribution towards reducing the proportion of children living in households where no one is working.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the availability of child care to parents of children aged between 11 and 16 years old, with particular reference to during school holidays. [127593]

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Beverley Hughes: I have been asked to reply.

This information is not collected centrally. From April 2007 all English local authorities will have a duty to carry out an assessment of the sufficiency of child care in their area. This will involve a detailed assessment of the demand for, and supply of, child care in their area, including holiday provision for children aged 11 to 14 (and up to 18 if disabled). This will enable local authorities to plan how to secure sufficient child care and establish the services parents and children need.

Children: Maintenance

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on progress towards the Government's target to reduce the time taken to process child maintenance applications. [125832]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Gentleman with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 21 March 2007:

Income Support: Lone Parents

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of lone parents whose youngest child is over 11 are receiving income support; and how many and what proportion are (a) carers for a disabled child and (b) have a disability themselves. [121529]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The information is in the following table.

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Lone parents with youngest child over 11
Number Percentage

Claiming income support



Caring for a disabled child



Report disability themselves



1. The number of income support lone parents is reported using DWP administrative data.
2. Lone parent population data is taken from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) 2006 Q2—it indicates there were 570,000 lone parents with a youngest child aged over 11. In total there were 1.78 million lone parents.
3. The second quarter of 2006 covers April to June, while the administrative data are taken from August 2006. These figures are not directly comparable. The figure indicating the estimated proportion of lone parents claiming income support should be considered as indicative only.
4. Information concerning the number of lone parents with a disabled child is reported using the Family and Children’s Study 2004 and includes working and non-working lone parents with a disabled child. Population estimates have been produced by grossing up from a sample of 7,000 families, so there will be a margin of error around these estimates and they should be treated with caution.
5. The number and proportion of lone parents with a disability is taken from the LFS 2006 Q2. This includes those who self-report as DDA or work-limiting disabled, or both.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether mechanisms are in place for jobseekers to recommence their benefits after ceasing short-term employment without having to sign on again in person; and if he will make a statement. [125667]

Mr. Jim Murphy: There is no mechanism in place for jobseekers to recommence their jobseeker’s allowance claim without having to register in person.

To ensure people are able to reinstate their benefit claim quickly after a short break, Jobcentre Plus fast-track people through what is known as a rapid re-claim process. This is used for people who are returning to benefit within 12 weeks and whose circumstances (in relation to the claim) are unchanged. Rapid re-claim supports the incentive to take up employment, including short-term periods of full-time work, by allowing the completion of a shortened claim form. To be able to move quickly back into benefit also eases the concerns felt about re-claiming benefits if the work suddenly comes to an end.

While rapid re-claim still requires a face-to-face contact—needed to put in place things such as the jobseeker’s agreement, which is a legal requirement—the process is much streamlined and involves a shorter interview and much reduced paperwork. Interviews are typically undertaken with 48 hours and people being required to confirm their circumstances remain as previously stated in writing.

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people reported benefit thefts via the Department's benefit theft website in each of the last 12 months for which figures are available. [124705]

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Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the format requested. The available information is in the following table.

Number of benefit thefts reported to the DWP Targeting Benefit Thieves website between January 2006 and December 2006

























Figures include both benefit and instrument of payment cases.
Fraud Information by Sector

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