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11 May 2006Mr. Laurence Robertson MP
12 June 2006Dr. Liam Fox MP
19 October 2006Mr. Mark Harper MP
19-20 January 2007Mr. Robert Flello MP and Mr. Stephen O'Brien MP
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 20 March 2007, Official Report, columns 749-50W, on army costs, if he will make an assessment of the market value of the house occupied by the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland. 
Derek Twigg: The house occupied by the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland is within the confines of a barracks and so could not be sold on the open market without extensive work to separate it from the remainder of the site. There are no plans to put the property on the market and no assessment of market value is therefore planned.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many discharges there were of (a) Nepalese and (b) other soldiers from the Army in each of the last five years for which figures are available; what monitoring has taken place of the type of housing obtained by those discharged; what additional funding has been given to appropriate local authorities to enable them to provide accommodation; and if he will make a statement. 
|Gurkhas||UK regular forces|
|(1) Date periods are for financial years except for 1 February 2007 which represents the 12 month period ending 31 January 2007.|
The MOD does not monitor the type of housing obtained by UK regular soldiers and officers who are discharged from regular service and does not provide additional funding to local authorities to enable them to provide accommodation for discharged personnel.
Prior to 2004, all Gurkha officers and soldiers were required to return to Nepal for discharge purposes as part of their conditions of service. From 2004 onwards, Gurkhas became entitled to benefit from the HM Forces Immigration Rule if they were discharged with at least four years service on or after 1 July 1997. Once discharged in Nepal, ex-Gurkhas may apply for indefinite leave to enter the UK and if granted, may settle and work here. However, this would be as private individuals, whom the MOD does not monitor.
The Joint Service Housing Advice Office provides housing information and advice to service personnel and their dependants seeking information about civilian housing. This is delivered through a series of one day briefings in the UK, Germany, Cyprus and Gibraltar, and via their website. In addition, a monthly magazine Housing Matters is distributed to service units worldwide.
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answers of 20 March 2007, Official Report, column 750W, on army manpower, what the (a) ranks and (b) regiments are of those members of the armed forces assigned to the households of members of the Army Board; what their (i) roles and (ii) professional skills are; how many non-armed forces staff are assigned to each of the households of members of the Army Board; and what their roles are. 
|(1) Gardener and Cleaner|
(2) Full-time (40 hours) Gardener; Full-time (40 hrs) Cleaner; Part-time (20 hrs) Assistant Cleaner; Part-time (2 days per week) chef
(3) 1 full-time domestic assistant; 1 gardener working 32 hours per week
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) which sites in County Armagh have been requisitioned by his Department for use by the British Army under emergency powers legislation since 1977; 
Mr. Ingram: Given the need to obtain and analyse records going back 30 years, many of which are not held centrally or in an electronic form, it will take some time to provide a substantive reply, even if the required information still exists. I will write to the hon. Lady and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the reasons are for time taken to agree a contract price for the second and third Astute class SSNs; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The development of robust and mature prices for Astute Boats 2 and 3 has required the design for the first 3 boats and the Boat 1 build programme to reach a higher level of maturity. The contract prices remain subject to approval.
Des Browne: Approximately 130 Iraqi military personnel are currently based at Basra Air Station. This figure will increase to around 200 personnel once the 10 Division headquarters moves from Basra Air Station in summer 2007 and the buildings have been converted to a Joint Leadership Academy. Some of those attending courses at the academy will be police personnel but it is not possible to estimate how many this will be at any one time.
As at 20 March 2007, around 780 Iraqi civilians were working at Basra but this figure fluctuates significantly on a daily basis depending on a number of factors including contractor activity and requirements for construction work.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the acquisition costs were at 2006 prices of the Bell 412 helicopter as operated by the Army Air Corps; and what the average total operating cost is of the helicopter per hour. 
Mr. Ingram: The Army Air Corps operates Bell 212 helicopters (a two bladed variant of the 412). The Bell 412 helicopter is operated only by the Royal Air Force. Both variants, however, are provided through lease contracts and are not owned by the Department.
The lease contracts are based on firm monthly charges which are inclusive of all costs (less fuel) associated with the provision of serviceable helicopters for the MOD. The monthly charge payable by the MOD includes leasing and operating costs and is in the region of £2,000 per hour per helicopter. Approximately one third of this monthly charge is attributable to operating costs.
Mr. Ingram: The majority of the MODs conflict prevention activity in 2006-07, as most recently set out in our Spring Supplementary Estimates, has been through our operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans. The MOD has also continued to participate fully in the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP).
The GCPP maintains a number of geographic and thematic strategies, addressing conflict issues around the world (outside sub-Saharan Africa, which is the preserve of the Africa Conflict Prevention Pool). In 2006-07, the GCPP supported geographic strategies active in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Caribbean, Latin America, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan, Indonesia, East Timor, the Middle East and North Africa, Nepal, and Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. In addition to these geographic strategies, the GCPP thematic strategies, which address the United Nations, Small Arms and Light Weapons, and Security Sector Reform issues, are also carrying out conflict prevention work around the world.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what area of office space his Department and its agencies used in central London in (a) 2004 and (b) 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: In 2004, the Ministry of Defence's office space in central London amounted to a total net internal area of 148,000m(2); of which 55,000m(2) was leased and 93,000m(2) owned. By 2006 the figures had reduced to a total of 99,000m(2); of which 16,000m(2) was leased and 83,000m(2) owned.
During 2004, the main building redevelopment was completed and the building reoccupied, allowing the closure of a number of buildings used as decant accommodation and an overall reduction in the number of MOD office buildings in central London from seven to three. This reflects the progress the Department has made to reduce the size of the London estate, while maintaining the efficient and effective delivery of defence objectives.
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