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Information on Army Separated Service is published in the quarterly Army Separated Service Report. To enable reporting against Service Individual Harmony Guidelines (IHG), the Army Separated Service Report publishes periods of separation over a period of 30
months. Harmony guidelines recommend that a soldier should do no more than 415 days SS in any 30-month period. Latest Army statistics state that 10.3 per cent. of the Army is spending more than 415 days away from home base in a 30-month period, down by 3.1 per cent. since 1 January 2007, which equates to around 9,935 Army personnel exceeding harmony guidelines.
Before April 2004, SS was not recorded for individuals. However, for the period from 1997 until April 2004, units were programmed to meet a 60:40 operational pattern60 per cent. deployed away from Base Port; 40 per cent. working at Base Port. Personnel attached to such a unit could therefore be assumed to have spent 60 per cent. (219 days) of a year away from their Base Port.
In 2004 the recording of SS for individuals was introduced. The threshold for individual SS is currently 660 days away in a rolling 3-year period (referred to as 660/3) as a Category A (mandatory) Personnel Functional Standard (PFS). This guarantees individuals a minimum of 435 days at the home base over 3 years harmony time. Due to the proactive management of individuals there is currently <1 per cent. of Naval Service personnel breaching the harmony guidelines of 660/3. Currently around 59 Naval personnel are breaching harmony.
The Royal Air Force operates a slightly different system which allows for greater flexibility within Expeditionary Air Wings. Under Harmony Guidelines an individual can be away for up to 140 days in a 12-month period before breaching harmony. However, the aspiration is not to deploy an individual for more than four months in every 20. The current SS figure (that is to say, those RAF personnel spending more than 140 days away from the home base in a 12-month period) is 6.7 per cent. of trained strength (around 2,918 RAF personnel).
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department's Harmony Guidelines have been met across all three services since the publication of the Autumn Performance Report in 2006. 
Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department has taken to ensure that NHS boards in Scotland are (a) aware of and (b) implementing their responsibilities in respect of the treatment of armed services personnel and veterans. 
Derek Twigg: The responsibility of ensuring NHS boards in Scotland are aware of and implementing their responsibilities in respect of the treatment of armed services and veterans is a matter for the Scottish Executive. The MOD has regular discussions at various levels to assist them in this respect.
Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department paid in accelerated access fees to provide service personnel and veterans with priority access to NHS facilities in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland in the last year for which figures are available. 
Derek Twigg: In financial year 2006-07 the Ministry of Defence paid just under £30 million for activity (out-patient and in-patient care) for Service personnel from the five NHS trusts hosting MOD Hospital Units (MDHUs) and from University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHBFT) which hosts the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine. Under previous agreements, the MOD pays for all treatment for Service personnel at the five MDHU hosting NHS hospital Trusts and UHBFT.
While the Ministry of Defence pays standard NHS tariffs as any other commissioner of secondary healthcare, we seek to invest this £23.5 million to gain optimal accelerated access for the assessment and treatment of Service personnel in a faster timescale than NHS standard target times to meet operational requirements.
In addition to the aforementioned sums, the MOD spends around £1 million annually for accelerated access outside the MDHU host Trusts and UHBFT. This includes paying for rapid access to MRI scans for Service personnel undergoing rehabilitation at one of our Regional Rehabilitation Units in the UK to provide an early diagnostic capability.
Veterans who are in receipt of benefits for a condition attributable to their service in the armed forces are entitled to priority treatment from the NHS for this condition. The MOD does not pay for priority treatment for veterans; the cost of this falls to the relevant health authority.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service living accommodation and service families accommodation units were empty in each of the last 12 months; and how much his Department paid in rent to Annington Homes for these properties over that period. 
Derek Twigg: The number of single living accommodation (SLA) bedspaces unoccupied over each of the last 12 months is not available. However, as at 1 April 2007, there were some 34,181 unoccupied bedspaces out of a total number of some 138,000 bedspaces. The Ministry of Defence does not pay any rent to Annington Homes Ltd. (AHL) for SLA.
The total number of empty Service Family Accommodation (SFA) properties during each of the previous 12 months are shown in the table. The numbers have been sub-divided into those empty properties in England/Wales and Scotland. The reason for this is that the Department does not pay rent to Annington Homes Limited (AHL) on the housing stock in Scotland as they are not owned by AHL.
|England and Wales|
|Number||£ million||Scotland (Number)||Total (Number)|
It should be noted that Service personnel who are married or are in a civil partnership have an entitlement to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) as part of their conditions of service. To meet this obligation it is necessary for Defence Estates to queue homes for people; this differs from the situation in local authorities who manage waiting lists. This involves holding properties as a management margin to achieve this objective.
At present, a number of SFA are held pending planned moves of Service Units and this figure will decrease as moves occur. In addition, sufficient void levels have to be maintained to allow properties to be modernised. They also include properties awaiting upgrading, disposal or demolition. The number of void properties is kept under review and work is ongoing to reduce the margin.
Marital category is held within the JPA system and this relates to entitlement to certain allowances based on marriage/civil partnership and liability for dependant children rather than the pure legal marital status of personnel.
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost was of providing a car and driver to the (a) Chief of the General Staff, (b) Assistant Chief of the General Staff, (c) Adjutant General and (d) members of the Army Board in 2006. 
|(1) Vehicles used by GOC NI are available for use by others within the Headquarters. Ownership and maintenance costs are not held centrally nor are they directly attributable to the GOC.|
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