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21 May 2007 : Column 1046W—continued


Armed Forces: Apprentices

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many apprentices were recruited into the Defence and Communication Services Agency technical apprenticeship scheme at (a) HMS Collingwood, (b) RAF Henlow and (c) Highbury College, Portsmouth in each year since 2003; what estimate he has made of the number of apprentices to be recruited in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [137712]

Derek Twigg: The D E and S Information Systems and Services—formerly the Defence Communications Services Agency—ceased to recruit new apprentices at RAF Henlow and Highbury College in 2002. Since 2003, 16 Apprentices have been recruited each year for the scheme run at HMS Collingwood. Based on the estimated requirements of the D E and S Information Systems and Services, it is planned to recruit 12 new apprentices in 2007.

Armed Forces: Cadets

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 3 May 2007, Official Report, column 1848W, on armed forces: cadets, when short service limited commissions were first introduced; and how many were granted since their introduction. [137346]

Derek Twigg: Records which would indicate when short service limited commissions were first introduced have not been retained, although this is believed to be roughly 30-40 years ago.

The number of untrained officers who joined the Army on short service limited commissions between 1 April 1986, the earliest date for which information is available, and 31 March 2000, when these commissions were discontinued, is as follows:

Date of flow Number

1986-87

30

1987-88

20

1988-89

10

1989-90

10

1990-91

50

1991-92

30

1992-93

20

1993-94

20

1994-95

50

1995-96

50

1996-97

20

1997-98

100

1998-99

50

1999-2000

80


Armed Forces: Chorley

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the strength is of (a) Army Cadets, (b) Air Cadets and (c) Sea Cadets in Chorley. [136961]

Derek Twigg: As at 11 May 2007 the strength of the Sea Cadets was:

Number

Cadets 12 years and over

42

Junior Cadets 10-12 years

2

Adults

14


The strength of the Army Cadets was:

Number

Cadets

69

Adults

5


The Strength of the Air Cadets was:

Number

Air Cadets

45

Adults

11


Armed Forces: Coroners

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the steps the Government are taking to reduce the backlog of military inquests for the fatalities of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. [137772]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 14 May 2007, Official Report, column 381, to the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (Danny Alexander).

Armed Forces: Deployment

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces are located outside the United Kingdom. [137079]

Derek Twigg: Location statistics may be compiled based on posted (stationed) location or deployed location. Posted (stationed) location is where an individual is permanently based. Deployed location is
21 May 2007 : Column 1047W
where an individual is physically located on operations at a particular point in time and is typically used for short tours of duty.

As at 30 April 2007, 15,220 personnel were deployed on operations outside the UK.

The strength of UK regular forces posted outside the UK is available in Tri-Service Publication (TSP) 6—Global Location of UK Regular Forces. However, due to the introduction of a new personnel administration system, TSP6 RAF location data for 1 April 2006 are provisional and subject to review, and after 1 April 2006 are not available. TSP6 naval service location data are not available after 1 October 2006.

Copies of TSP 6 are available in the Library of the House.

Armed Forces: Officers

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on which occasions the (a) Commander in Chief Land, (b) General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland, (c) Adjutant General and (d) Chief of General Staff met journalists in the last 12 months. [135296]

Derek Twigg: In the period 27 April 2006 to 27 April 2007 neither the Commander in Chief Land nor the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland had any formal meetings with journalists. In the same period the Chief of the General Staff and his predecessor met with journalists on nine occasions, as did the Adjutant-General. The breakdown for these meetings is as shown:

Chief of the General Staff

Adjutant - General


21 May 2007 : Column 1048W

Armed Forces: Pay

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the rate of pay of (a) armed forces personnel and (b) those beginning a career in the armed forces. [137776]

Des Browne: Pay rates for UK service personnel are recommended by the independent Armed Forces' Pay Review Body (AFPRB), which reports annually to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence. The AFPRB bases its recommendations on broad comparability with the pay of civilian occupations of similar job weight and responsibility within the UK.

I announced in my written ministerial statement on 2 March 2007, Official Report, column 106WS, the Government's acceptance in full of the recommendations contained in the 2007 AFPRB report and these took effect from 1 April 2007. The key recommendations were an increase in the basic military salary for officers and all other ranks of 3.3 per cent. and a targeted restructuring of pay range 1, which resulted in overall increases of between 6.2 per cent. and 9.4 per cent. for about 19,000 of the most junior trained service personnel on the lowest pay levels.

Copies of the 2007 AFPRB report are available in the Library of the House.

Armed Forces: Pensions

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many pension payments due for payment in April 2007 were (a) made and (b) not made by Joint Personnel Administration. [136154]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 9 May 2007]: 357,505 pension payments were made in April 2007.

1,274 were new pension awards made, using data from the Compensation and Pension system that interfaces with the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) system, in order to obtain data required for pension calculation and payment.

Ongoing pension payments do not involve the JPA system.

62 cases remain outstanding because information and/or application forms are awaited from units or individuals, in order for their pension entitlements to be calculated and paid. Wherever it is possible the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency assist and hasten units and individuals to ensure the necessary information is supplied in order to make payment.

Army: Conferences

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence from which budget the cost of the Chief of the General Staff’s attendance at the North East Economic forum was met; and how the Chief of the General Staff travelled to the event. [137134]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 14 May 2007]: The Chief of the General Staff attended the North East Economic Forum as a guest speaker. His travel arrangements for the day are shown as follows. All transport was provided by Ministry of Defence assets
21 May 2007 : Column 1049W
and the associated costs were absorbed by the relevant budgetary areas. The visit gave rise to no external costs.

From To Method of Transport Budget

Somerset

Minley

Helicopter

32 Squadron RAF

Minley

RAF Northolt

Helicopter

32 Squadron RAF

RAF Northolt

Teesside airport

Plane

32 Squadron RAF

Teesside airport

Forum Venue, Durham

Car and Driver

HQ London District

Forum Venue, Durham

Teesside airport

Car and Driver

HQ London District

Teesside airport

RAF Northolt

Plane

32 Squadron RAF

RAF Northolt

Home

Car and Driver

CGS Household


Ballistic Missile Defence: USA

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland of 25 April 2007, Official Report, column 1115W, on ballistic missile defence: USA, what legal advice he has received on the compatibility of the upgrading of RAF Fylingdales in support of the USA Ballistic Missile Defence System with the UK's obligations under the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, Article 1. [138157]

Des Browne: The UK had no obligations under the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty which was a bilateral treaty between the United States and the USSR.

Defence and Communications Services Agency

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 30 April 2007, Official Report, column 1461W, on the Defence and Communications Services Agency, for what reasons the schemes that trained in a commercial environment through civilian technical colleges were transferred to HMS Collingwood; and if he will make a statement. [137787]

Derek Twigg: In 2002, a review of DCSA Apprentice Training recommended the letting of a single out-sourced contract to replace the existing schemes based at the DCSA Training Centre Henlow and Bedford College (part in-house, part contracted out) and at Highbury College Portsmouth (contracted out). An Investment Appraisal concluded that a single outsourced model offered the Agency more flexibility to determine the size of future apprentice intake and also offered long term financial savings. Following Management Board approval, my endorsement of the proposal in December 2002, and TU Consultation, an Invitation To Tender (ITT) was, therefore, issued. Flagship Training, based at HMS Collingwood won the competition.


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