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Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent, in near cash terms, on (a) legal fees, (b) legal fees incurred in relation to land acquisition/disposal and (c) legal fees incurred in relation to compensation payments, as listed in his Departments resource account code hierarchy, in each financial year since 2000-01. 
|Financial year||Legal fees||Legal feesland acquisition and disposal||Legal feescompensation payments|
|(1) While the overall Operating Cost Statement (OCS) was correct, the balance relating to this resource account code in 2002-03 and 2003-04 incorrectly excluded expenditure to be offset by the utilisation of provisions resulting in an erroneous credit balance. (An estimate of the expense for the legal fee obligation is taken through the OCS in the year the obligation arises and held as a provision. When the obligation becomes a liability and the provision is utilised, a charge is made to the OCS and the provision is used to offset the expense in the OCS). The detailed data required to restate the correct expenditure for this specific resource accounting code have been archived and the restatement can be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.|
Near cash expenditure is not separately identified in the final resource accounts or the centrally held supporting records. Total resource costs have therefore been provided; however it is unlikely that there are any non cash costs attributed to the expenditure items which would result in the near cash expenditure being different from the resource expenditure. The creation of legal provisions is attributed to a different resource account code to those listed in the question.
Derek Twigg: The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members/Peers correspondence. Information relating to 2007 will be published as soon as it has been collated. The report for 2006 was published on 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 101-04WS. Reports for earlier years are available in the Library of the House.
Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the peace establishment was of the 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment before its deployment to Afghanistan; what the strength was of the Battalion; how many reinforcements to the Battalion were received from (a) the regular Army, (b) the Territorial Army and (c) the regular Army Reserves; how many of all ranks were (i) left behind on recruitment duties, (ii) physically unfit to deploy and (iii) left behind in barracks to form a rear party; and what the Battalion's battle casualty replacement policy was. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 18 December 2007]: Prior to deploying to Afghanistan in March 2007, the peace time establishment of the 2nd Battalion Mercian Regiment was 559; the battalions strength was 466; it received additional reinforcements of 58 Regular Army and 17 Territorial Army Personnel; and no reinforcements from the Regular Army Reserves. Two individuals remained on recruitment duties and 75 soldiers remained in barracks to form the rear party, 37 of whom were unfit to deploy.
The policy on battle casualty replacement was to utilise appropriately trained deployable personnel, who would be received into the units rear party. In order to rectify a deficiency arising in a specific skill, replacements would be requested from other units in theatre or if necessary an individual would be deployed forward from the United Kingdom or British forces in Germany.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 10 December 2007]: The sixth C-17 will deliver a significant increase in our ability to transport personnel and equipment, including large cargo, over strategic distances, particularly in support of our current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many accidents have taken place involving (a) Puma, (b) Merlin, (c) Chinook and (d) Sea King RAF helicopters since 2001; how many British service personnel were killed or wounded as a result in each
case; and whether (i) equipment failure and (ii) pilot error were contributory factors in each case. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Accidents involving the requested types of helicopter, in which the aircraft suffered category 4 (major damage, repairable off-site) and category 5 (write-off) since 2001 are given in the following table:
|(1) These accidents are still under investigation.|
(2) In addition, there was one civilian passenger injured in this incident.
Derek Twigg: On 12 July 2007, I placed in the Library of the House a table detailing the Ministry of Defence (MOD) costs for 2005 of participating in the first year of Phase 1 of the EU European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Phase 2 of the EU ETS will commence on the 1 January 2008. As details have yet to be made available for the operation of the scheme it is not currently possible to compile a meaningful estimate of the likely cost to MOD of participating in Phase 2.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has to make use of data on the national identity register when it is established; and what the estimated cost to his Department of that use is. 
Derek Twigg: The MOD will be working with the Home Office prior to the introduction of the national identity scheme to establish how identity information held on the proposed national identity register might be used to provide easier access to MOD's services for our customers. It is too early in the process to establish the detailed costs and benefits.
Des Browne: I have nothing to add to the written ministerial statement I made in the House on 13 December 2007, Official Report, column 50WS. It is too early to speculate on a possible timescale for publication.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 13th December 2007, Official Report, column 778W, on nuclear submarines, what safeguards are in place to prevent UK submarine commanders launching a nuclear attack on their own initiative; and if he will make a statement. 
Des Browne: There are a number of technological and procedural safeguards built into the UK's nuclear deterrent to prevent an unauthorised launch of its Trident missiles. Any launch of a Trident missile would require a large proportion of the submarine's crew to act in concert. I am withholding further details as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Nuclear decommissioning costs are the subject of current work within the Department. When this work is complete, I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much he plans to spend on a replacement for the UK strategic nuclear deterrent in each year of procurement; and whether this spending is included in the overall allocation for his Department announced as part of the conclusions of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review. 
Des Browne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 30 October 2007, Official Report, columns 1357-58W, to the hon. Member for North Devon (Nick Harvey) and chapter D8 of the Comprehensive Spending Review White Paper (CM 7227).
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