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7 Jan 2008 : Column 49W—continued

Legal Costs

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 Department’s resource account code hierarchy, in each financial year since 2000-01. [169347]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The total resource costs of the expenditure items are set out in the following table.

£ million
Financial year Legal fees Legal fees—land acquisition and disposal Legal fees—compensation 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 The detailed data required to restate the correct expenditure for this specific resource accounting code have been archived and the restatement can be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.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.

7 Jan 2008 : Column 50W

Members: Correspondence

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many letters his Department received from hon. Members and Peers in each session of Parliament since 1997. [174936]

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.

Mercian Regiment

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. [175390]

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 battalion’s 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 unit’s 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.

Military Aircraft

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contribution he expects the purchase of a sixth C-17 Globe Master to make to his Department’s heavy lift strategy. [172560]

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.

7 Jan 2008 : Column 51W

Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Mr. Keetch: 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
7 Jan 2008 : Column 52W
case; and whether (i) equipment failure and (ii) pilot error were contributory factors in each case. [171010]

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:

Date Aircraft Location Injured Killed

9 April 2001

Puma XW200




16 August 2001

Sea King XZ599

RAF St. Mawgan


21 January 2002

Puma XW214

Ballykelly, NI


16 March 2002

Puma(2)( )XW227

Jonesborough, NI


19 July 2004

Puma XW221

Basra, Iraq



10 April 2006

Chinook(l) ZA654


1 April 2007

(Puma(1) XW211


1 April 2007




8 August 2007

Puma(2) ZA934

Catterick, N. Yorkshire



20 November 2007

Puma(2) ZA938




(1) These accidents are still under investigation.
(2) In addition, there was one civilian passenger injured in this incident.

There have been no accidents involving Merlin helicopters since 2001.

Where the cause has been determined, none of the accidents has been attributed to major equipment failure.

Military Bases: Carbon Emissions

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the total cost incurred by military bases in the UK in relation to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. [175983]

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).

The table details MOD sites registered in the scheme, the number of free allowances, actual carbon dioxide emissions, scheme administration costs and additional allowance costs.

Details of the cost to MOD of the second year of Phase 1 of the scheme, are currently being compiled and a table will be placed in the Library of the House when this is complete.

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.

Minimum Wage

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many London-based staff are employed by his Department on the national minimum wage. [175980]

Derek Twigg: None.

Ministerial Duties

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what average percentage of his working week has been taken up by his duties as Secretary of State for Defence. [169993]

Des Browne [holding answer 3 December 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to the oral answer I gave to the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Robathan) on 3 December 2007, Official Report, columns 557-60.

Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the job descriptions of his special advisers. [172303]

Des Browne: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 22 November 2007, Official Report, columns 147-50WS.

National Identity Register

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. [174039]

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.

Nimrod Aircraft

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the review into the Nimrod conducted by Mr. Charles Haddon-Cave QC to be published. [176269]

7 Jan 2008 : Column 53W

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.

Nuclear Submarines

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. [175623]

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.

Nuclear Submarines: Decommissioning

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost of the decommissioning of the Vanguard Class submarines; and if he will make a statement. [169442]

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.

Nuclear Weapons: Finance

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. [175589]

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).

Spending plans for 2011-12 and beyond will be set as part of the Government’s spending review process.

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