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30 Apr 2007 : Column 1460W—continued

Bell 212 Helicopters

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Bell 212 helicopters are in service with the British Army; and in which theatres they are deployed. [134201]

Mr. Ingram: There are seven Bell 212 helicopters in service with the British Army, which are leased to the MOD under a civil owned military registered (COMR) contract. Of these, three are used by 7 Flt AAC in support of Brunei garrison and three by 25 Flt AAC in support of the British Army training support unit in Belize. There is an additional Bell 212 based at the School of Army Aviation (SAAvn) in Middle Wallop for aircrew training.


Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cluster bombs or their equivalents (a) are in the ownership of the Government and (b) have been ordered and have yet to be delivered; what will happen to these stocks; and if he will make a statement. [131397]

Mr. Ingram: I am withholding details about current and future in-service cluster munitions stock levels because its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

As my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Defence announced in his written ministerial statement
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on 20 March 2007, Official Report, columns 36-37WS, we have withdrawn two types of cluster munitions, the RBL 755 and the MLRS M26, from service with immediate effect. Stocks of these munitions will undergo disposal. The disposal of other cluster munitions that have also been withdrawn from service (155mm HE M483, BL 755 and IBL 755) will continue. No further stocks of these munitions have been ordered.

Holdings of cluster munitions that have been withdrawn from service and are awaiting disposal, rounded to the nearest 100, are:


BL 755 (including the RBL 755 and the IBL 755) bombs


MLRS M26 rocket pods


HE M483 shells


HE M483 shells (unfused/incomplete)


Defence and Communications Services Agency

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason the technical apprenticeships programme in the Defence and Communication Services Agency was wound down; and if he will make a statement. [133007]

Derek Twigg: The DEandS Information Systems and Services—formerly the Defence Communications Services Agency—has run a three-year modern technical apprenticeship scheme since 2003. The scheme, which is delivered at HMS Collingwood in Hampshire, is designed to equip those successfully completing it with the skills and attributes required of the organisation's future technical managers. This scheme continues.

Once HMS Collingwood was established, the previous legacy schemes run at Royal Air Force Henlow in Bedfordshire and at Highbury college, Portsmouth, which the Agency acquired in 2000, were discontinued in 2005 as they no longer provided the training and development necessary for technical staff working increasingly closely with commercial delivery partners.

Defence Dental Services

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Defence dental service officers were based (a) in the UK and (b) abroad, including those deployed on operations, in each of the last five years. [132623]

Derek Twigg: The numbers of Defence dental service officers are shown in the following table, as at 1 April in the year stated:

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2002 2003 2004 2005 2006



























No civilian dental practitioners are deployed on operations. The uniformed Defence Dental Service Officers deployed on operations are drawn from the total cadre based in the UK and abroad as shown above. The numbers deployed on operations overseas in each calendar year were:












Defence Medical Service

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many absences of Defence medical service staff were recorded at each Ministry of Defence hospital unit headquarters in each year since 2001; and what the reasons were for such absences. [132628]

Derek Twigg: Defence Medical Services personnel employed in the five MOD hospital units may be absent from those units because they are undertaking military operational duties or training, or are on leave, or for other reasons. All absences are approved and recorded as necessary. However, the information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departments: Manpower

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) uniformed and (b) civilian personnel work in (i) his Department's main building, (ii) the Old War Office Building and (iii) St. George's Court. [130588]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 29 March 2007]: The information requested is set out in the following table. The numbers relate to MOD military and civil service personnel permanently deployed to the respective buildings as at 1 April 2007. These figures can change on a day to day basis, and do not include contractor personnel or staff temporarily operating out of these buildings.

Military personnel Civilian personnel Total

Main building




Old War Office building




St. George's Court








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Departments: Money

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much cash was physically lost by his Department in each of the last 10 financial years for which information is available. [134504]

Mr. Ingram: The amount of cash and cash equivalents (e.g. bank notes, postal orders, stamps and travel warrants) physically lost by the Department within the last three years is:








Information on cash losses prior to 2003-04 is not held centrally and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departments: Parliamentary Questions

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many questions tabled by hon. and right hon. Members to his Department for oral answer have been transferred to other departments since May 2005. [133806]

Derek Twigg: Our records indicate that two oral questions tabled to this Department have been transferred since May 2005.

Electoral Commission

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer by the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, of 27 November 2006, Official Report, columns 261-62W, on annual canvass: armed forces, if he will place in the Library a copy of the results of the evaluation of the campaign. [134502]

Derek Twigg: Evaluation of the survey carried out to monitor registration levels and awareness among service personnel is not yet complete. I will place a copy of the report in the Library of the House when it becomes available.

Falkland Islands: Armed Conflict

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to assist (a) the funding of and (b) practical arrangements for events held by servicemen and women to mark the 25(th) anniversary of the Falklands war. [132848]

Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave, on the funding of events to commemorate the 25(th) anniversary of the Falklands conflict, on 22 February 2007, Official Report, column 857W, to the hon. Member for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle).

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In addition to the national commemorative events in June that my Department is organising, the armed forces are providing practical support in the form of hosting or supporting a number of other events that are being arranged around the country.

Military Aircraft: Procurement

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 29 March 2007, Official Report, column 1671W, on military aircraft procurement, whether the four Britten Norman Defender aircraft are still deployed in Iraq. [134200]

Mr. Ingram: It is not appropriate to comment on equipment currently deployed on operations as to do so could compromise operational security and the safety of service personnel.

Royal School of Military Engineering: Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the reasons are for the delays encountered during the Royal School of Military Engineering Private Finance Initiative contract negotiations; what impact the delay in signing the contract has had on the training of military engineers; and what measures are being taken to ensure that contract signatures for similar projects are not delayed. [133341]

Derek Twigg: Work is ongoing to identify a solution for the Department that provides best value for money and is technically viable, on conclusion of which, the project, subject to successful completion of negotiations, is expected to proceed to contract award in the first half of 2008.

The Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) continues to deliver well-trained and motivated military engineers to meet the operational requirements of the armed forces. This output has not been affected by the ongoing RSME Project.

Royal Yacht: Repairs and Maintenance

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take steps to remove the cost of the upkeep of the Royal Yacht from the public purse; and if he will make a statement. [134515]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 16 April 2007, Official Report, column 161W.

Service Accommodation

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 1 February 2006, Official Report, columns 512-13W, on service accommodation, for what reason single living accommodation is not assessed for standard for condition. [134625]

Derek Twigg: When single living accommodation (SLA) is assessed in respect of its grade for charge the process specifically includes an assessment of the
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physical condition of the property; along with other aspects including, scale, environment and location.

Currently, this information is not assembled centrally into “standard for condition” statistics in the same way as for service family accommodation. The Department is, however, looking at the scope for grading all accommodation on a common basis in the future.

Sudan: Peace Keeping Operations

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans the Government has to contribute (a) personnel, (b) hardware and (c) finances to the hybrid force proposed for Darfur. [134943]

Mr. Ingram: Discussions between the UN and African Union (AU) on a hybrid force for Darfur continue. The peacekeeping force is expected to be funded by UN assessed contributions, but the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) has not yet issued a list of requirements for personnel and equipment. The UK contributes 7.8 per cent. of the UN assessed peacekeeping budget worldwide.

The UK fully supports the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) in its peacekeeping role in Darfur. DPKO has undertaken extensive planning for support to AMIS, with one UK military planner deployed to New York to assist. At UN request, MOD has provided two further officers to fill key appointments in the first (light support package) phase of UN deployments. They are now in Sudan. The UK is also considering a UN request to send another officer to DPKO to assist with preparations for the AU-UN hybrid force.

The Department will consider what further support can be provided when the plans for the hybrid force-are mature.

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