|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Leader of the House what contingency preparations her Office made for the possibility of a general election in autumn 2007; and what the costs of those preparations were. 
Helen Goodman: The guidance covering the conduct of official business during a general election was last issued in May 2005. This guidance, and other relevant procedures and processes, are kept under constant review by the Cabinet Office and other relevant departments so that they are ready to be put in place when a general election is called.
Derek Twigg: Based on current deployment numbers, it is estimated that some 3,000 Service personnel with Service Families Accommodation will initially be eligible for the council tax relief payment, increasing to some 5,000 next year when the relief will cover those on operational deployments beyond Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces will be entitled to the new council tax discount on homes not owned by his Department for troops serving abroad. 
Derek Twigg: Based on current deployment numbers, it is estimated that some 5,000 Service personnel with private accommodation will initially be eligible for the council tax relief payment, increasing to some 7,500 next year when the relief will cover those on operational deployments beyond Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to increase the level of the discount for members of the armed forces serving abroad on operational duty each year in line with council tax inflation. 
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has had from former service personnel groups regarding the supply of affordable housing; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: The Department for Communities and Local Government and the devolved Administrations lead on social housing matters but the Ministry of Defence is in regular contact with them on veterans' housing issues. As Minister for Veterans, I have frequent contact with ex-service organisations. Various initiatives to reduce the risk of homelessness among service leavers and veterans have been discussed but neither my officials nor I recall the specific subject of the supply of affordable housing being raised. The Joint Services Housing Advice Office provides practical advice on access to affordable housing to current armed forces personnel and those who are soon to leave the services.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what proportion of members of the armed forces who served on the front line in each of the last five years received bonus payments in each of those years; what the (a) amount of bonuses paid and (b) largest single payment was in each year; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 15 October 2007]: Members of the armed forces do not receive bonus payments as part of their basic pay package. However all personnel who meet the eligibility criteria are paid the tax free Operational Allowance. The tax free Operational Allowance was effective from 1 April 2006 and came into payment in November 2006.
For financial year 2006-07 35,983 armed forces personnel received payment of the Operational Allowance, totalling £44.77 million. As a proportion of the strength of the armed forces at 1 April 2006 this represents about 18 per cent.
For financial year 2007-08 to 30 September 2007,28,114 armed forces personnel received payment of the Operational Allowance, totalling £14.13 million. As a proportion of the provisional strength of the armed forces at 1 April 2007 this represents about 15 per cent. The marked difference in value between financial year 2006-07 and financial year 2007-08 to date is due to a smaller entitled population and a number of payments being made in advance at the end of financial year 2006-07, prior to closedown of the system for army implementation of JPA.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Officer strength is measured against the April 2008 Regular Army Liability (RAL), and on 1 March 2007, a surplus of 628 was recorded. However, the RAL only accounts for permanent posts, and there are currently more than 1,000 temporary posts for officers in addition to the RAL total for other requirements including support to operations. Therefore, even taking account of the RAL surplus, the total officer requirement is not being met and, as a result, there are currently no plans to reduce officer numbers.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what discussions his Department has had with the US Administration on plans to develop missile silos and x-band radar on land or sea bases in the UK; 
Des Browne [holding answer 16 October 2007]: The Ministry of Defence continues to discuss ballistic missile defence issues with the US Administration. It is not the practice of the Government to make public details of all discussions with foreign Governments as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice international relations. As I set out in my statement of 25 July 2007, Official Report column 72WS, we have no plans to site missile interceptors in the UK.
Des Browne: I attended the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris on 14 July, where I met the French Defence Minister for bilateral discussions. I also had the opportunity to meet him at the end of September in the course of the EU Defence Ministers' informal meeting in Portugal.
Derek Twigg: Army personnel figures at 1 July 2007 were not published on 23 August due to ongoing data validation from the new Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) system. This is necessary to ensure the statistics are of the quality required of a National Statistics output.
Figures for the total strength of the Army at 1 July 2007 will be published in Tri-Service Publication (TSP) 1: Strength, Intake and Outflow of UK Regular Forces, on 19 October 2007. Detailed statistics relating to Army personnel at 1 July 2007 and 1 October 2007 will be published in TSP 4: Quarterly Press Release, on 22 November 2007.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many fixed penalty tickets were incurred by vehicles within the purview of his Department in the last year for which figures are available; and what the total cost was. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 19 March 2007, Official Report, column 604W, on Diego Garcia: USA, if he will list the occasions in each year from 1979 to date when the US has sought approval for operations they wished to undertake from the island. 
Des Browne [holding answer 17 September 2007]: The 1966 UK/US Exchange of Notes requires the US to seek prior approval at the highest political level for any offensive action by the US from their base at Diego Garcia. It is a matter of record that the UK approved US offensive action from Diego Garcia in support of operations in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. However, I am withholding a full list of the occasions when the US has sought such approval as the release of such information would, or would be likely to, prejudice our international relations.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on requiring local authorities to accept applications from members of HM armed forces for social housing on leaving the services; and if he will make a statement. 
My hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and I announced through a written statement on 21 June 2007, Official Report, column 108WS that the Government will be amending the housing legislation at the earliest opportunity to ensure that service personnel are put on an equal footing with others applying for an allocation of social housing. MOD and CLG officials continue to work closely on the issue.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Approximately two-thirds of UK service personnel in Iraq are currently accommodated in tents. The tents are protected against direct and indirect attack, with either HESCO bastion or breeze block walls, and are air conditioned, heated and equipped with full sanitation facilities.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: As of 30 September 2007, four members of the Territorial Army and one Regular Reservist have been killed on operations in Iraq since 2003. Over the same period, two members of the Territorial Army have been killed on operations in Afghanistan.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the (a) 1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles, (b) 1st Battalion the Royal Green Jackets and (c) 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment were deployed on operations in Iraq or Afghanistan in (i) 2004, (ii) 2005, (iii) 2006 and (iv) 2007. 
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|