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27 Mar 2007 : Column 1434Wcontinued
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many house fires have been reported due to faulty Modern Housing Solutions property. 
Derek Twigg: During the past 12 months there have been five fires in MHS managed properties, two of which were minor and attributed to employee carelessness rather than property defect. The remaining three serious fires resulted in severe property damage. One was caused deliberately by an intruder, another attributed to occupant carelessness, and a third was occasioned by a faulty electrical installation (not attributable to MHS but as a result of inherited defects from the previous maintenance regime).
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much (a) a graduate of Sandhurst and (b) a newly-commissioned officer promoted through the ranks is expected to contribute to the cost of their regimental dress uniform. 
Derek Twigg: All newly commissioned officers, whether graduates from Sandhurst or those promoted from the ranks, are provided with uniform and entitled to the same initial outfit allowance to enable them to perform their duties. The allowance does not vary according to the method of entry but does vary according to the Regiment or Corps to which they belong. Any additional cost that individuals may incur over and above the allowance is a private matter.
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has taken steps to ensure goods provided to members of the Army Board are fair trade. 
Derek Twigg: Unless it is exempt, all public procurement must comply with the EC Public Procurement Regulations, which preclude the ability to specify a requirement as fair trade as it is considered anti-competition. It is, therefore, not legally possible to ensure that goods provided to the Army Board or the wider public sector are fair trade. However, the Departments policy encourages full consideration to be given to fair trade products whenever they meet the relevant legitimate criteria.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many recruits the Army is seeking to attract to (a) regular service and (b) officer cadet training in (i) 2007-08 and (ii) 2008-09. 
Derek Twigg: The recruitment target for soldiers (regular service) is 13,817 (2007-08) and 14,104 (2008-09).
The recruitment target for officer cadet training (direct entry officers) is 652 (2007-08) and 658 (2008-09).
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and in what role British troops remain in (a) Bosnia and (b) Kosovo; and whether there are plans (i) to reduce numbers stationed and (ii) to change the operational remit in each location. 
Mr. Ingram: Details of UK troop reductions in Bosnia-Herzegovina were provided in my statement on 1 March 2007, Official Report, column 1083. Following European force transition, there will be fewer than 50 UK personnel working within Bosnia-Herzegovina. This grouping will provide further support to the European force and NATO headquarters and the peace support operations training centre in Sarajevo.
There are approximately 175 UK military personnel in Kosovo, the majority of whom provide intelligence support to the NATO led Kosovo force. In addition, a small number of staff contribute to security sector reform and work within the Office of the Kosovo Protection Corps Coordinator, the UN Mission in Kosovo and the British Office. The UK has no plans to reduce personnel numbers within Kosovo in the foreseeable future or to change our operational remit. We will keep our contribution under review in order to ensure it remains relevant and appropriate.
We will also maintain our commitment to the pan-Balkans operational reserve force.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of the Defence Diversification Agency. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 23 March 2007]: The Department is in formal consultation with the trade unions and industry over proposals to close the Defence Diversification Agency. The House will be informed of the outcome from this process in due course.
Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the defence planned programme budget (excluding funds from the Unallocated Special Reserve) was used to finance operations in (a) Iraq, (b) Afghanistan, (c) the Balkans and (d) other operations in each of the last six years. 
Mr. Ingram: Net additional costs of military operations are not normally funded from the Defence core programme budget. Since 2001-02, the net additional costs of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Sierra Leone, the Gulf, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been funded from the Treasury Reserve.
No additional funding is sought for those items which would normally be paid for from the core programme budget, such as salaries, and information is not available on those sunk defence costs which contributed to operations.
The costs of operations carried out at the request of other organisations, e.g. UN peacekeeping/observer operations and DfID humanitarian operations, are also recovered from the requesting authority on a similar basis. Such operations are similarly not, therefore, a cost to the Department.
The only circumstance in which the Department does not raise charges is for the evacuation of UK non-combatant personnel from a place of danger to the nearest place of safety, such as last year's evacuation from the Lebanon to Cyprus. As we do not recover costs for such operations, we do not record their costs separately from those within the Defence programme.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which flags are flown from Ministry of Defence buildings on which days. 
Derek Twigg: The information requested is held centrally only for MOD main building, at which the Union flag, the White Ensign, the Army flag, the Royal Air Force Ensign, and two joint service flags are flown on a daily basis. An additional four Union flags are flown on flag days.
All Service and major commands and headquarters are required to fly the Union Flag daily in accordance with Queens Regulations. In addition, they are permitted to fly flags signifying the relevant single service and commander, corps, regimental and station flags.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Union flag is flown from the Ministry of Defence main building on each day of the year. 
Derek Twigg: The Union flag is flown daily on the Ministry of Defence main building.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Merlin 1 helicopters are (a) in service, (b) under repair and (c) being cannibalised for parts; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: On 1 March 2007, the details for the Royal Navy's Merlin helicopter fleet were as follows:
|Helicopter type||Departmental fleet||In service||Under repair||Other|
In service aircraft are those in the forward fleet and available to the front line and training units. Aircraft Under repair are those in the depth fleet which are undergoing planned routine depth maintenance. Other aircraft are those awaiting depth maintenance; in long-term storage; undergoing trials/development activity or subject to modifications with industry.
Within the forward fleet controlled cannibalisation is conducted as part of normal business. Cannibalised aircraft are routinely returned to service when the necessary spare parts become available. Of the aircraft in the Under repair category, four are subject to controlled cannibalisation to support aircraft maintenance.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Eurofighter Typhoons are to be supplied to the Royal Air Force; what the estimated cost is of such Eurofighter Typhoons; and if he will make a statement. 
The United Kingdom has, to date, contracted for 144 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for the
Royal Air Force. A decision on the third production buy of the aircraft, known as tranche 3, has still to be taken and discussions with partner nations and industry are expected to continue during 2007. The unit production cost of tranche 1 and 2 Eurofighter Typhoon, as published in Major Projects Report 2006, is £66.7 million.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of (a) the Royal Navy's fleet air arm and (b) the role of the Harrier GR7 aircraft; and whether there are any proposals to replace the existing Harrier aircraft. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 23 March 2007]: The fleet air arm will remain a vital element of the Royal Navy and will continue to be equipped with a range of highly capable aircraft fulfilling a variety of operational roles. The Harrier GR7 is a combat aircraft which is optimised for ground attack operations. The GR7 is currently undergoing a series of major improvements which will see the aircraft redesignated as the Harrier GR9.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 12 March 2007, Official Report, column 54W, on identification friend/foe systems, why he has no plans to fit Successor IFF to Hercules C130J and Tornado GR4 aircraft; and whether he plans to fit Successor IFF to Typhoon aircraft. 
Mr. Ingram: To confirm the answer of 12 March 2007, Official Report, column 54W, Tornado GR4 is in the process of being fitted with the Successor Identification Friend or Foe (SIFF) system transponder capability.
Hercules C130J and Typhoon aircraft are both supplied with an integrated IFF capability that is fully compatible and inter-operable with SIFF.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces have received medical treatment in military hospitals in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan since the invasion of the country concerned; and how many members of the armed forces serving in each country (i) were returned to the UK for medical treatment and (ii) had their medical treatment carried out in another country, broken down by country, over the same period. 
Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence publishes data on battle and non-battle casualties that have resulted from our operations in Iraq from March 2003 and Afghanistan since January 2006. The best centrally available casualty statistics can be found on the Ministry of Defence website:
Data on the destination of aeromedical evacuations are held centrally only when it involved moving a patient out of the region since 1 January 2006. They do not, for example, include shorter evacuations such as those to the US medical facility at Bald in Iraq or from Afghanistan to Seeb in Oman. A number of personnel from both theatres are evacuated to the hospital at the Ramstein US airbase in Germany. These personnel are normally those who have been treated in US hospitals in theatre and are being medically evacuated through US channels, or those for whom domestically it is better to be treated in Germany (for example if they are normally stationed there).
Between March 2003 and 31 December 2005 the total number of UK military and civilian personnel who were treated at the Shaibah "Role 3" field hospital in Iraq was 6,609. Of these, 226 were categorised as wounded in action, including as a result of hostile action, and 6,383 were categorised as suffering from disease or non-battle injuries.
Between March 2003 and 31 December 2005 some 4,000 military and civilian personnel (including a small number of Iraqis) were aeromedically evacuated from Iraq on medical grounds, whatever the reason.
On 1 January 2006 improved casualty reporting processes were implemented. Between 1 January 2006 and 28 February 2007:
775 UK military personnel were aeromedically evacuated from Iraq on medical grounds, whatever the reason; of these:
723 service personnel were evacuated to the UK.
52 service personnel were evacuated to Ramstein in Germany.
142 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to UK field hospitals and categorised as wounded in action.
1,353 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to UK field hospitals for disease or non-battle injuries.
For the period between 1 January 2006 and 28 February 2007:
312 UK military personnel were aeromedically evacuated from Afghanistan on medical grounds, whatever the reason; of these:
299 service personnel were evacuated to the UK.
13 service personnel were evacuated to Ramstein in Germany.
108 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to UK field hospitals and categorised as wounded in action.
206 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to UK field hospitals for disease or non-battle injuries.
A figure for those evacuated or admitted to hospital prior to these dates is not centrally available. The Defence Analytical Service Agency is currently reviewing available historic aeromedical data and these will be published on the website once the process is complete.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the deaths of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been attributed to defective rifles. 
Mr. Ingram: None of the fatalities of British soldiers in Iraq since 2003, and Afghanistan since 2001 have been recorded as attributed to defective rifles.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress is being made with the development of the US-UK Joint Strike Fighter; and how much the project has cost. 
Mr. Ingram: The Joint Strike Fighter programme remains on schedule with the first development aircraft completing its ninth flight including full after-burner test in flight. The UK has now received the necessary assurances on technology transfer from the US; this will allow the UK to meet its operational sovereignty requirements. The next phase of the programme has now come into effect, with the UK, US and other international partners having signed up to the production, sustainment and follow-on development memorandum of understanding with the US.
At February 2007 £1.062 billion has been incurred on the JSF project covering concept, assessment and demonstration phases.
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