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8 May 2007 : Column 62W—continued


The MOD purchases its ministerial red boxes from Banner Business Supplies but has on exceptional occasions approached Barrow and Gale (formerly BH Leather Ltd.) directly.

Departments: Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the status is of each (a) private finance initiative and (b) public-private partnership project under consideration by his Department; and when he expects the contracts to be signed in each case. [131098]

Mr. Ingram: The status of the PFI and PPP projects currently being considered by the MOD is as follows:

Project Status

Search and Rescue

Advertised OJEU

Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA)

Preferred bidder

Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME)

Preferred bidder

Future Provision of Marine Services (FPMS)

Preferred bidder

Corsham Development Project

Preferred bidder

Defence Training Review

Preferred bidder

United Kingdom Military Flying Training System

Preferred bidder


Contract signature is subject to contractual negotiations with the preferred bidder. A contract will be placed once a sufficiently mature deal is concluded. In the case of Future Provision of Marine Services and the Corsham Development Project, negotiations are at an advanced stage and it is currently expected that contracts will be placed in the summer of 2007 and late 2007 respectively.

Departments: Sexual Harassment

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints of sexual harassment have been investigated in his Department in the last 12 months; and how many complaints have been upheld. [135368]

Derek Twigg: The following table summarises the information currently available for Service and Civilian personnel for the period April 2006 to March 2007:


8 May 2007 : Column 63W
Service Investigated( 1) Upheld( 2)

Royal Navy

7

3

Army

14

2

Royal Air Force

7

4

MOD Civil Service

5

(3)n/k

(1) This column records the number of formal complaints of sexual harassment reported within each Service and the MoD civil service.
(2) This column records the number of formal complaints of sexual harassment upheld (i.e. where some type of action was taken against the respondent).
(3) Records of upheld complaints of sexual harassment are not currently held centrally for MoD civil service.

The Department’s Unified Diversity Strategy makes clear that harassment of any kind is not tolerated in the Ministry of Defence or the armed forces. Revised complaints procedures were published in January 2007. Ongoing internal communications keep personnel informed of their rights and responsibilities.

Detainees: Iran

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether (a) the Royal Navy and (b) his Department received notice of any statement of intent from a member of the families of the returned Royal Navy personnel to sell their story to the media indirectly in circumstances where the personnel in question were refused permission to do so directly; [135642]

(2) whether any member of (a) the Royal Navy and (b) his Department made the statement to media representatives seeking to purchase the stories of the returned Royal Navy personnel that they should ‘get their cheque books out’; [135643]

(3) pursuant to the statement of 16 April 2007, Official Report, column 24, on Iraq, who decided which of the returned Royal Navy personnel should participate in the Department’s press conference on 6 April 2007; and for what reason Leading Seaman Turney was not included; [135644]

(4) pursuant to the statement of 16 April 2007, Official Report, column 25, on Iraq, which of the returned Royal Navy personnel had expressed an intention to set the record straight in relation to their behaviour while detained by speaking to the media; [135645]

(5) which (a) Royal Navy and (b) departmental staff were directly involved in negotiating the price for which the stories of (i) Leading Seaman Turney and (ii) Operator Mechanic Batchelor would be sold; and on what dates such negotiations took place. [135646]

Des Browne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him and my right hon. Friend the Member for Warley (Mr. Spellar) on 2 May 2007, Official Report, column 1665W.

Ex-servicemen: Education

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what education assistance programmes are available to veterans after completing military service. [135408]


8 May 2007 : Column 64W

Derek Twigg: The MOD assists service leavers in undertaking both higher education and vocational training, with eligibility dependent on length of service. Specifically, those who have served for more than four years are entitled to participate in MOD’s Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme through which they may receive course contributions of up to £6,000; however, they must have registered during service to take advantage of this. Coaching in skills, such as job interviewing and CV writing, is provided at the point of discharge, with eligibility again dependent on service length or whether the individual has been medically discharged. Veterans may also be eligible for wider adult learning opportunities provided as part of the Government’s Education and Learning programme.

Iraq and Afghanistan

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many personnel from (a) the Royal Navy, excluding Royal Marines and (b) Royal Air Force, excluding RAF regiments have served in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan as part of ground force operations in the last three years; and what pre-deployment training they were given; [116277]

(2) when he expects to answer Question 116277, on Iraq and Afghanistan, tabled on 12 December 2006 by the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife. [129026]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer s 17 January and 22 March 2007]: Details of personnel from the Royal Navy, excluding the Royal Marines, and Royal Air Force, excluding the RAF Regiment who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of ground force operations in the last three years can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Each service conducts its own pre-deployment training tailored to the theatre in which personnel are deploying and the nature of the deployment. In addition RAF and RN personnel deploying with Army units may exceptionally carry out specific pre-deployment training with those units.

Iraq: Peace Keeping Operations

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many attacks on multi-national forces have been recorded in the Iraqi provinces of (a) Al Basrah, (b) Al Muthanna, (c) Dhi Qar and (d) Maysan since June 2006; [132521]

(2) how many (a) UK and (b) coalition (i) civilian and (ii) military personnel were (A) killed and (B) injured in each attack in the Iraqi province of (1) Al Basrah, (2) Al Muthanna, (3) Dhi Qar and (4) Maysan since June 2006. [132522]

Des Browne: The following figures are produced from the most complete record of events within Multi National Division (South East) and are for the period between 1 June 2006 and 14 April 2007. Each record is not specifically verified and so cannot be guaranteed to be completely accurate.

The figures include incidents that involved the employment of improvised explosive devices, rockets, mortars, rocket propelled grenades, grenades, small
8 May 2007 : Column 65W
arms and other weapons such as petrol bombs or knives, but not the throwing of stones.

Table 1: Number of attacks on MNF by province
Province Attacks on MNF

Al Muthanna

25

Basrah

1,837

Dhi Qar

36

Maysan

76


It is not possible to break down the number of persons killed and injured in each attack as requested. The total number of UK military and civilian personnel killed and injured between 1 June 2006 and 14 April 2007 is provided on the MOD website at

No UK civilians employed or contracted by the MOD were killed or wounded in the aforementioned attacks. We do not hold similar information on UK civilians employed or contracted by other Government Departments or by civilian contractors.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) rifles and (b) pistols were distributed in the Multi-National Division (South East) in Iraq before October 2005; and what steps he has taken to ensure that the equipment reached the correct recipients. [134007]

Des Browne: All UK military personnel deploy to Iraq with their own weapons (rifles and pistols as appropriate). Some specialist equipment is deployed with units and issued as required to personnel in theatre. The allocation of this equipment is recorded in detail in theatre.

The British Government provide a range of assistance to Iraq. This includes a number of security sector reform projects which are aimed at supporting and hastening the Iraqi Government's ability to build the capability of the Iraqi security forces. This has involved the gifting of vehicles infrastructure and other equipment. Gifting packages have been awarded in phases through project Osiris, with parliamentary approval being sought via a series of Minutes laid before Parliament. The quantities distributed in the Multi-National Division (South East) before October 2005, are set out as follows.


8 May 2007 : Column 66W
Osiris batch Weapons Date of parliamentary approval for Osiris funding for weapons

Osiris 1, Tranche 1, Batch 1

3,200 x AK47

1 December 2004

Osiris 1, Tranche 1, Batch 2

3,300 x AK47

15 November 2004

Osiris 1, Tranche 2

438 x Underslung grenade launchers for AK47s, 5,666 x 9mm pistol

21 November 2004

Osiris 1, Tranche 3

774 x Medium machine guns (PKMs), 1,150 x Light machine guns (RPKs)

28 January 2005


Identification information and serial numbers have been retained for military equipment, including weapons, supplied directly by HMG to the Iraqi Government. Specific procedures are in place to avoid the possibility of weapons ending up in the wrong hands. The equipment is issued by serial number, either direct to the Iraqi security forces authority, or in certain instances via the mentoring British Army unit, to the local Iraqi unit. Each Iraqi unit is required to submit a return identifying equipment holdings and UK forces seek assurances from the Iraqi security forces that the equipment provided will be handled appropriately.

Military Aid

Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the Joint Civil Military Co-operation group spent in each operation for supporting the regeneration of local infrastructure, economic and political structures in each year since 1997. [132265]

Mr. Ingram: The Joint Civil Military Co-operation (CIMIC) Group is a mixed Regular and Reservist tri-service unit which provides a dedicated high-readiness deployable CIMIC capability.

Funding for those projects on which the Joint CIMIC Group is engaged in each operational theatre is provided by a variety of donors, including Other Government Departments, Coalition partners and Host Nations, and there is no mechanism for collating cost data centrally. Such information could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Ministry of Defence Contracts

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his written statement of 30 April 2007, Official Report, columns 31-32WS, on Ministry of Defence (MOD) contracts, how much it cost to produce and maintain the MOD contracts bulletin in the latest period for which figures are available. [135904]

Mr. Ingram: The MOD Defence Contracts Bulletin is published at no cost to the MOD under its contract with BiP Solutions Ltd.

Nimrod Aircraft

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many fuel leaks have been reported on Nimrod MR2 R1 aircraft in the last six months; and if he will make a statement. [134919]


8 May 2007 : Column 67W

Mr. Ingram: Between the period 1 October 2006 and 31 March 2007 a total of 25 fuel leaks were reported on Nimrod MR2 and R1 aircraft. A fuel leak is defined as any leakage of fuel from aircraft couplings, pipes or fuel tanks. These did not compromise the safety of the aircraft and were rectified under normal maintenance procedures.

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether (a) the current air-to-air refuelling system will be replaced and (b) the single skin fuel pipes will be replaced by double skin fuel pipes as part of the Nimrod MR2 R1 aircraft refurbishment programme. [134920]

Mr. Ingram: The MR2 and the R1 are two separate variants of the Nimrod aircraft. There are no current plans to refurbish the MR2 fleet before it is replaced by the Nimrod MRA4 aircraft. No decisions have yet been taken on whether the R1 platform will carry the replacement for the current mission system, and whether the R1 fleet will be refurbished. The air-to-air refuelling system on MRA4 is an almost entirely new design and built with only a small number of components retained from MR2 which will be re-furbished. Jacketed fuel pipes will be used selectively where it is judged to be necessary and all its fuel pipes will be newly manufactured.

Nuclear Submarines: Procurement

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what account was taken of the protection of the UK's defence industrial capacity and the associated skills base as a factor in the Government's decision to replace the existing Trident nuclear submarine fleet. [135906]

Des Browne: The Government's decisions on the future of the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent, announced in December 2006 and endorsed by the House of Commons on 14 March 2007, were taken on the basis of the strategic defence needs of the country. We have made it clear that, for reasons of national sovereignty, nuclear regulation, operational effectiveness and safety, it is our intention to build the new submarines in the UK provided that industry come forward with proposals that provide the right capability at the right time and offer value for money.


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