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9 July 2007 : Column 1281W—continued

Armed Forces: Training

John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what progress he has made on the Defence Training Review since his statement of 17 January 2007, Official Report, columns 787-802, on Defence Training Review; and if he will make a statement; [147275]

(2) when he expects to sign the Maingate contract for the Defence Training Review rationalisation project; [147276]

(3) when he expects to take a decision on making the provisional preferred bidder for package 2 of the Defence Training Review programme the preferred bidder. [147277]

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Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will make an assessment on the outcome of the Whole Programme Solution negotiations with regard to the Defence Training Rationalisation Programme. [146845]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 3 July 2007]: In January this year the Metrix Consortium were declared the Preferred Bidder for Package 1 of the DTR Programme, but in view of significant remaining affordability challenges, only Provisional Preferred Bidder for Package 2. Our aim has been to develop a Whole Programme Solution (WPS) by exploring with the Bidder possible synergies and economies of scale across the whole Programme.

Although significant work has been completed since January we are not yet in a position to confirm whether or not the WPS can be made affordable. We still plan to make a further announcement later this year.

Army Board

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost was of claims made for expenses by the (a) Adjutant General, (b) Chief of the General Staff and (c) Army Board in 2006. [127567]

Derek Twigg: The personal claims made by members of the Army Board for reimbursement of expenses incurred in relation to official duties in 2006 are shown in the following table. These figures do not include those costs attributed directly to Ministry of Defence budgets covering, for example, official travel and entertainment activities.

Board member Total (£)











2nd PUS


CinC Land












(1 )Claims cover a period of six months only and relate to the current incumbent of this position. Information relating to the previous incumbent has not been retained.

Army: ICT

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many laptop computers are available to (a) officers and (b) other ranks in the army. [147805]

Derek Twigg: Precise information is not held centrally but it is estimated that around 8,000 laptop computers are currently in use across the Army as a whole.

The implementation of the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) (DII(F)) programme includes an initial provision of some 4,000 laptops for use by the Army. Further incremental provision may add a further 10,000 laptops. The allocation of laptops may
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be made to a named individual for his or her sole use, regardless of rank, or to a single point of contact within a team for use by any member of that team.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes he intends to make to the availability of laptop computers to the army to facilitate the new system of pay. [147806]

Derek Twigg: The Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) programme is modernizing the way the services carry out personnel and pay administration. Laptops are one of a number of devices which have been provided to enable service personnel to access JPA which as one of its functions, requires input of information for pay purposes. The need for access to the JPA system is determined in detail on a site-by-site basis and the most appropriate solution has been supplied in each case.

Clyde Submarine Base

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will consider the recommendations of the naval base review in respect of Faslane, when published, from the point of view of his role as (a) Secretary of State for Defence and (b) Secretary of State for Scotland; and if he will make a statement on resolving potential conflicts of interest. [147521]

Des Browne [holding answer 4 July 2007]: Defence is a reserved matter and, as such, all decisions relating to military capability, including the naval base review, are taken on the basis of what is best for defence and what provides value for money for the taxpayer.

Departments: Credit Cards

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent by staff in his Department via departmental (a) credit, (b) procurement and (c) fuel cards in each of the last three years. [145289]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Information extracted from the Financial Management Shared Service Centre database covering spend on departmental credit, procurement and fuel cards in each of the last three financial years is set out below.

In November 2006, the MOD withdrew its Corporate Credit Card facility and replaced it with the Government Procurement Card. The credit card figures provided in the following table reflect this policy decision and show payments for and the Corporate Credit Card up to December 2006 only.

Government procurement card spend
Financial year Payments (£)( 1)







(1 )Including VAT.

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Fuel card spend
Financial year Payments (£)( 1)







(1 )Including VAT.

Credit card spend
Financial year Payments (£)( 1)







(1) Including VAT. (2) Up to December 2006.

Departments: Manpower

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2007, Official Report, column 168W, on departments: manpower, whether any staff in his Department are classified as people without posts. [146889]

Derek Twigg: The Department operates a successful system of redeployment for staff who became surplus and ensures that those staff are given priority consideration for posts for which they are suitable and apply. Information on those classified as without a post is not held centrally.

Departments: Sick Leave

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff in his Department have taken (a) five or more, (b) four, (c) three and (d) two periods of sick leave of less than five days in the last 12 months. [147051]

Derek Twigg: The information for 2006 is shown in the following table:

Number of occurrences less than five days Non-industrial headcount Industrial headcount

Two periods



Three periods



Four periods



Five or more periods



1. Figures listed above have been rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Data used exclude Royal Fleet Auxiliary staff and Locally Engaged Civilians for whom sickness absence data are not available.

Hercules Aircraft

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 17 May 2007, Official Report, column 845W, on Hercules aircraft, what percentage of Hercules C-130K aircraft has (a) returned to the front line within 44 days and (b) developed fuel leaks following the installation of the foam; and if he will make a statement. [140664]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: In order to improve overall aircraft availability to the Front Line Command (FLC), the Hercules C-130K Explosion Suppressant Foam (ESF) modification has been combined with scheduled maintenance wherever possible. All of the aircraft that have been fitted with ESF in conjunction
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with scheduled maintenance have been returned to the FLC within an agreed timeframe. One aircraft was modified on a standalone programme and the fitment of ESF was completed in 46 days.

Of the C-130Ks that have been modified with ESF, 75 per cent. have subsequently developed fuel leaks. However, all were repaired by the contractor under warranty and returned to flying. RAF Hercules aircraft are designed and certified to strict airworthiness and safety standards. These fuel leaks did not compromise the safety of the aircraft.

Iraq: Peace Keeping Operations

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when definition of (a) torture and (b) abuse he uses in the context of the activities of British armed forces in Iraq; and what account he took of the advice of the Attorney General in formulating this definition. [147891]

Des Browne: The definition of torture derives from section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 which makes it an offence for a public official to commit torture. Article 1 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture outlines what is considered torture for the purposes of the convention. We are also guided by, among other sources, judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and those of our own domestic courts.

Peace Keeping Operations: Casualties

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many injured British service personnel were returned from (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan in each of the last 12 months. [148158]

Derek Twigg: The number of personnel who are returned from Iraq and Afghanistan following injury or illness (aeromedically evacuated) is published on the Ministry of Defence website:

This information is updated on a two-weekly basis in arrears and hence data for June 2007 are currently available only from 1 to 15 June.

Princess Royal Barracks

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department has taken to discuss the implementation of the recommendations from the Deepcut Review with Sir Nicholas Blake QC, in the period since its publication in March 2006; and if he will make a statement. [147065]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Subsequent to the publication of the Deepcut Review in March 2006, MOD officials and my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Kilbride Strathaven and Lesmahagow (Mr. Ingram) engaged with Sir Nicholas Blake QC on the Government’s response to the Review. They also subsequently corresponded on the Government’s update to Parliament in a written ministerial statement on 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 91-5WS, which set out the progress made on implementing the recommendations made in the Review.

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Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will request publication of the contents of the Devon and Cornwall Police review into Surrey Police's handling of the investigation into the deaths at Deepcut Army Barracks; and if he will make a statement. [148013]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: This matter is being considered by the Information Commissioner and it would therefore be inappropriate for me to comment at this time.

Transport: AWE Burghfield

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was transported in the convoy which moved from AWE Burghfield to RAF Brize Norton on 11 June 2007; what the destination was of the transported goods; and what escorts for the convoy were in place. [147953]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I am withholding the information as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice national security.

Culture, Media and Sport


Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made towards meeting his Department's public service agreement target to increase significantly the take-up of arts opportunities by new users from priority groups; and what the change in numbers of users has been from each priority group over the period of the agreement. [147198]

Margaret Hodge: The baseline estimates against which progress will be measured were reported in December 2006. They are:

Attendance at two different types of arts events by priority groups during the past 12 months:

Participation in two different types of arts activities by priority groups during the past 12 months:

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