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4 Jun 2007 : Column 163W—continued


Armed Forces: Pensions

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what records his Department holds on (a) the number of personnel (i) serving and (ii) serving less than 22 years in the (A) Army, (B) Royal Navy and (C) Royal Air Force between 1949 and 1975 and (b) the amount of the gratuity paid to ex-service personnel who did not serve 22 years during that period. [138422]

Derek Twigg: The information is not held in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the reasons are for the policy on the payment of a pension to a former spouse of a retired member of the armed forces under 65 years. [138606]

Derek Twigg: Pension sharing was introduced by the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999. The legislation is the responsibility of the Department for Work and Pensions. Under the provisions of the Act, it is possible to share the value of a pension between both parties as part of a financial settlement on divorce. The Act stipulates pension credit benefit (the income from the share of the value of the member’s pension awarded to the former spouse) is not payable in an occupational pension scheme before ‘normal benefit age’. The legislation prescribes that normal benefit age under a scheme must be between 60 and 65.

The MOD applies this principle to the Armed Forces Pension Schemes and under a Pension Sharing Order the ex-spouse is generally treated in the same way as a member who leaves with a preserved pension. Prior to 6 April 2006, personnel in the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975 (AFPS 75) who left before the immediate pension point, having completed at least two years
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reckonable service, had their benefits preserved to age 60. From April 2006, the preserved pension age was changed to 65 to take account of the impact of longevity and the age at which an ex-spouse could receive their pension share also rose to age 65.

For the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2005 (AFPS 05) the preserved pension age and the age at which pension shares become payable has been 65 since the scheme’s introduction on 6 April 2005.

Armed Forces: Recruitment

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people were recruited to (a) Phase One, (b) Phase Two and (c) Phase Three under the Army Recruiting and Training Division Statement of Training Requirement draft Man Plan in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [138744]

Derek Twigg: The available information is set out in the following table.

Input to phase 1 Input to phase 2 Output from phase 3

2002-03

15,180

9,190

n/a

2003-04

13,940

8,610

45,350

2004-05

10,300

6,410

43,840

2005-06

8,950

6,540

45,860

2006-07

13,080

6,520

50,690

n/a = Not available.

Data is not held centrally on those entering phase 3 training, only on those completing phase 3 training.

Statistics have been rounded to the nearest 10, the numbers ending in five have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what proportion of those due to report for Army Recruiting and Training Division courses at the Infantry Battle School in Brecon failed to do so in the last period for which figures are available; for what reasons officers failed to report for this training; and if he will make a statement. [138746]

Derek Twigg: The information is provided in the following table:

Course attendance at the Infantry Battle School, Brecon in 2006-07
Course Course capacity Number loaded on to course Number of non-attendees Non-attendees as percentage of those loaded Attendance as percentage of capacity

Section Commander's Battle Course

960

990

126

13

90

Platoon Sergeant's Battle Course

540

603

55

10

101

Platoon Commander's Battle Course

240

220

10

4

88

Notes:
1. The number loaded onto any course may be higher than the course capacity to allow for circumstances that might prevent an individual attending. These reasons will include such things as illness, injury and operational deployments.
2. Courses are run in two phases, and the numbers shown are the total for both phases.

Information on the reasons for non-attendance is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Resignations

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel in the (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force have served less than (a) nine years as an officer and (b) 12 years at any other rank. [138059]

Derek Twigg: The information is provided in the following table:


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At 1 October 2006
UK regular f orces only( 1) Army Royal Navy( 2) Royal Air Force

Officers with less than nine years service

8,390

3,500

4,410

Other ranks with less than 12 years service

66,680

19,450

20,110

(1) UK regular forces exclude full-time reserve service personnel, Gurkhas, the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment, mobilised reservists and naval activated reservists. It includes both trained and untrained personnel. (2) Royal Navy includes Royal Marines. Note: The figures above are calculated by taking the difference between 1 October 2006 and date of intake and may therefore not account for periods of former service. This could include service prior to re-enlistment, service prior to transfer between services or service prior to transferring from non-commissioned to commissioned.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles: Peace Keeping Operations

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many instances of armoured vehicle breakdown there have been in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan in the last six months, broken down by vehicle type. [137421]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 16 May 2007]: Information is not recorded in this format. Records of vehicle availability are collated to allow for more efficient fleet management. This provides a clearer picture for commanders on the ground of the assets at their disposal. I am withholding further details as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of our armed forces.

Army Costs

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 3 May 2007, Official Report, column 1851W, on army costs, for what purpose the chicken wire was erected at the residence of the Adjutant General. [136646]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 14 May 2007]: The chicken wire was used to reinforce existing fencing to prevent persistent damage to the garden by local wildlife, including the consumption of vegetable crops.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 3 May 2007, Official Report, column 1851W, on army costs, for what purpose the supa-stadia pitch marker was purchased for the residence of the Adjutant General. [136647]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 14 May 2007]: The pitch marker paint was purchased, at a cost of £17, to mark the white lines on the tennis court at the residence occupied by the Adjutant General. It is only the second purchase of pitch marker paint in the last 14 years.

Army: Greater London

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) members of the armed forces and (b) non-armed forces staff are assigned to the household of the General Officer Commanding London District. [137443]


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Derek Twigg: The staff assigned to the household of the General Officer Commanding London District are listed in the following able.

Number Role Rank

1

House Sergeant

Sergeant

1

Catering/Chef

Civilian

2

Cleaning Assistant

Civilian


The above figures do not include drivers or any other position related staff.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 14 May 2007, Official Report, column 843W, on Army: Greater London, how much the General Officer Commanding London District is required to contribute to the running costs of the house provided to him. [138943]

Derek Twigg: The General Office Commanding London District, in common with all military personnel living in service accommodation, is charged a daily rate for his accommodation. This is a scaled rate, which is reviewed annually by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body, and is based on the type and grade of accommodation and whether it is fully, partially, or unfurnished.

The MOD paid £15,443 in rent during financial year 2005-06 for the property which the General Office Commanding London District currently occupies. During that period the General Officer Commanding's accommodation charge amounted to a total of £5,726.

BAE Systems

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when Alan Garwood notified his Department that he was joining BAE Systems on leaving the Defence Export Services Organisation. [138930]

Mr. Ingram: Alan Garwood has been on secondment with the Ministry of Defence from BAE Systems and it was always expected that he would return to his employer on leaving the post of Head of Defence Export Services.

Defence Equipment: Training

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints were registered in each of the last five years about equipment during training exercises. [137422]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 16 May 2007]: The MOD greatly values and actively encourages feedback from personnel on how equipment is performing, so that lessons can be learnt and improvements made where a need is identified. There are a number of ways available for members of the armed forces to raise issues, faults and suggestions for improvement to equipment, but there is no requirement to collate and hold such information centrally.

Data are, however, held on equipment failure reports (EFRs) and this, for equipment on training exercises in each of the last five years, is shown in the following table. EFRs are however not technically complaints;
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they are the reporting mechanism used by units for routine equipment support issues. The data do not account for the results of subsequent investigations and therefore do not differentiate what has subsequently been found to be an equipment failure and operator error or damage sustained as a result of an accident. Nor do those data give the severity of any such failures, which in many cases have no discernable impact on operational capability or safety.

Moreover, these figures cover almost 800 different types of equipment, ranging from Challenger2 tanks down to wrist watches, and need to be viewed in the context of the huge volume of equipment used annually on training exercises.

Number of EFRs

2002

2,369

2003

1,342

2004

2,749

2005

1,989

2006

1,952


Defence Export Services: Public Appointments

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the post of Head of Defence Export Services was advertised; and in what publications. [138931]

Mr. Ingram: The post of Head of Defence Export Services has yet to be advertised, but when it is, it will feature in at least one national newspaper and appear on the Civil Service Recruitment Gateway.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence who is on the selection panel that will appoint the new Head of Defence Export Services. [138932]

Mr. Ingram: Membership of the selection panel has not yet been settled, but it is likely to be chaired by a Civil Service Commissioner.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to be able to announce the appointment of the new Head of Defence Export Services. [138933]

Mr. Ingram: The process to find a successor to Alan Garwood as Head of Defence Export Services is expected to take between three and six months. The outcome will be announced as soon as it has been concluded.


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