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18 May 2007 : Column 988W—continued

The defence diplomacy network is regularly reviewed as part of the normal planning process and to meet changing foreign and defence policy priorities. The FCO decided last year to withdraw its contribution to the cost of maintaining the Attaché/Adviser network and this has necessitated such a review, which is still in progress. Decisions on any changes to the network will not be made until the summer.

Armed Forces: Prosecutions

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the outcome was of each case in which proceedings are no longer ongoing which was passed by the Army Prosecuting Authority back to the armed forces to consider what action needs to be taken since 2003. [136693]

Mr. Ingram: The number of referrals to the Army Prosecuting Authority which either were not directed for trial by court martial, or having been directed were discontinued before trial is as follows:

Number of cases











(1) The records for the Army Prosecuting Authority (Germany) are incomplete for 2003 and are recorded from September 2003 onwards.
(2) Up to 30 April 2007

Information on what action has been taken by a regiment/corps with these cases is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Psychiatry

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what facilities are available for psychiatric treatment of troops requiring such treatment on return to North Yorkshire after service in Iraq and Afghanistan. [137657]

Derek Twigg: Our mental health services are configured to provide community-based mental health care in line with national best practice, providing assessment and treatment in line with the guidelines and standards set by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the national service frameworks. We do this primarily through our 15 military Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMH) (plus satellite centres overseas), which provide out-patient mental health care. One of these centres is located at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.

In-patient care, when necessary, is provided in psychiatric units belonging to the Priory Group, through a central contract with MOD. The Priory Group has arranged a subcontract with Affinity Healthcare at Middleton St George Hospital, Darlington for patients in the North East.

Any mobilised serviceman or woman injured on operational deployment is entitled to, and will receive the same level of medical treatment and support, irrespective of whether he or she is a member of the regular or reserve forces.

Once they are demobilised, it is a long established tradition that reserve forces’ medical welfare becomes the responsibility of their own local NHS primary care trust, and the majority of veterans’ physical and mental health needs are met by these provisions. However, the MOD recognises that it has expertise to offer in certain specific circumstances, and in November 2006 launched the Reserves Mental Health Programme.

18 May 2007 : Column 989W

The RMHP is open to any current or former member of the UK Volunteer and Regular Reserves who has been demobilised since 1 January 2003 following an overseas operational deployment as a reservist, and who believes that the deployment may have adversely affected their mental health. Under the RMHP, we liaise with the individual’s GP and offer a mental health assessment at the Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre in Chilwell, Nottinghamshire. If the individual is diagnosed to have an operational-related mental health condition, we then offer out-patient treatment at one of the DCMHs (e.g. Catterick Garrison). If more acute cases present, the Defence Medical Services will assist in obtaining access to NHS in-patient treatment.

Army: Greater London

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated value is of the house provided by his Department for the General Officer Commanding London District. [137442]

Derek Twigg: The house occupied by the General Officer Commanding of London District is leased from Cadogan Estates Group. The market value of the property is a matter for them.

Departments: Consultants

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which external consultants were used by (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies in relation to private finance initiatives in 2005-06; and what the (i) nature and (ii) cost of the work was in each case. [123013]

Mr. Ingram: The specific information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Department uses external consultants to provide specialist commercial, financial and legal services for Integrated Project Teams to assist in the delivery of services (both PFI and non-PFI). In addition, ad hoc specialist technical consultants are engaged in particular areas where in-house expertise is not available.

During 2005-06 the MOD spent £47.2 million on external consultancy services to support teams seeking to engage industry in the delivery of public-private partnerships (PPP) including PFI and wider markets.

Summaries of MOD expenditure on external assistance, of which public-private partnerships including PFI and wider markets are a part, are available in the Libraries of both Houses for the years 1995-96 to 2005-06.

Ex-servicemen: Medical Treatments

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many war veterans (a) were entitled to receive and (b) received priority treatment in each of the last five years, broken down by strategic health authority. [137549]

Derek Twigg: All war pensioners, including recipients of Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
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awards, are entitled to NHS priority treatment for conditions accepted to be due to service subject only to clinical priority. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 3 May 2007, Official Report, column 1853W, regarding the numbers of war pensioners who receive priority treatment.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assurances he has received from his US counterpart that a STOVL variation of the joint strike fighter (F35B) will be included in the build programme. [138002]

Mr. Ingram: The US remains committed to production of the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant and requests for funding for STOVL aircraft are included in the current Presidential Budget which is before Congress. The first development STOVL aircraft is being assembled and is on target to achieve first flight in 2008.

NATO: Medals

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which medals issued by NATO British service personnel are permitted (a) to receive and (b) to wear; and if he will make a statement. [136029]

Derek Twigg: Approval has been given for British Service personnel to accept and wear the NATO medals for service in:

NATO replaced the above awards with a NATO (Non-Article 5) Balkans medal, with effect from 1 January 2003 to a future date to be decided. Approval has been given for British service personnel to accept and wear this medal if they are not already in possession of any of the previous NATO medals for service in this region.

Other NATO medals that are currently available that may be presented to British personnel have not been approved for wear.

Nimrod Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average logged daily serviceability of the Nimrod fleet was in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. [132979]

Mr. Ingram: Data are not collected on the average logged daily serviceability of the Nimrod fleet.

The following table shows the annual planned flying hours against the annual achieved flying hours between the financial years 1997-98 and 2006-07. The Nimrod fleet includes the Nimrod MR2 and the Nimrod R1 aircraft and the following table is the combined totals for both fleets.

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align="left" valign="bottom" Financial year Total annual planned flying hours Total annual achieved flying hours































The actual flown statistics for FY2006-07 are lower than the planned because of the loss of Nimrod XV230 on 2 September 2006.

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are to refit the Nimrod MR2 R1 aircraft's wing fuel tanks with foam to prevent explosions. [134921]

Mr. Ingram: We keep under review the requirement for defensive aids, including explosion suppressant foam, in all our aircraft deployed on operations including the Nimrod MR2 and R1 aircraft.

Peacekeeping Operations: Iraq

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the incidence of (a) neurological and (b) other illnesses among members of the Black Watch following deployment on Operation Telic. [134536]

Derek Twigg: Black Watch personnel were included in the comprehensive programme of health surveillance which the MOD commissioned from the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR), which has considerable expertise in this field. I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 18 December 2006, Official Report, columns 1478-83W, for the results of this study, published in May 2006, and available to view at, which showed that there had been no substantial increase in symptomatic ill health among regular personnel from participation in the operation.

RAF Leeming

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the long-term future of RAF Leeming. [137226]

Mr. Ingram: The long-term future of the station is secure. The A6 Communications Hub has begun to build up and some elements have already moved into RAF Leeming. As I advised the hon. Member on 26 March 2007, Official Report, column 1355W, the number and operation of military airfields is under review to ensure that the best use is made of the Defence Estate for our armed forces.

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RAF Northolt

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the limits are on civil aircraft movements at RAF Northolt per calendar year; and whether there are any plans for the numbers to be changed. [137918]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 17 May 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 21 October 2005, Official Report, column 1250W, and on 2 December 2005, Official Report, column 824W, in which I reiterated that any changes to the number of civil commercial aircraft movements would be subject to full consultation with the local authority and interested parties. This position has not changed.

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) military and (b) civilian aircraft (i) arrived at and (ii) departed from RAF Northolt in each year since 2004 for which figures are available. [137919]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 17 May 2007]: This information is not held in the format requested; however, the following table details the number of aircraft movements, which could be an arrival or departure, for each of the last three years:

Civilian Military










Civil commercial aircraft movements at RAF Northolt are limited to 7,000 per calendar year; the number of civilian movements quoted in the table includes non-commercial civilian aircraft movements, for example those transporting visiting Royalty and heads of State.

Saudi Arabia

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when (a) he has met and (b) officials from his Department have met (i) Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and (ii) his representatives since 1 January 2006; and if he will make a statement. [136898]

Des Browne [holding answer 16 May 2007]: It is not the practice of the Government to make public details of all discussions with foreign Governments.

Trade and Industry

Bridges Community Ventures

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what dates officials in his Department have met the fund manager of Bridges Community Ventures (BCV) since May 2002; and which representatives of BCV attended each meeting. [110824]

Margaret Hodge: Since May 2002, DTI officials have attended two Partnership meetings per annum at which the Bridges community development venture fund
18 May 2007 : Column 993W
executive team were present together with the limited partners in the fund. These meetings were open to other investors and BCV board members. DTI does not keep a record of third party attendees.

Additional meetings have been held as set out in the following list. Meetings were usually attended by Philip Newborough and Michele Giddens or, on occasion, by one or the other.

Partnership meetings

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