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7 Jan 2008 : Column 53W—continued

Official Engagements

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his official engagements were between 1 and 21 November 2007. [169459]

Des Browne: My official engagements as Secretary of State for Defence and Secretary of State for Scotland, throughout the period 1 November to 21 November, included various meetings in London and Scotland, including with ministerial colleagues and officials from the MOD and Scotland Office.

On Thursday 1 and Friday 2 November I was overseas visiting Service personnel serving in Iraq. On Monday 5 November I met with the HBOS in Scotland. On Tuesday
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6 November I attended the State Opening of Parliament. On Wednesday 7 November I hosted the French Defence Minister for bilateral discussions in London. On Thursday 8 November I attended the British Torch of Remembrance ceremony at Westminster Abbey and met with National Grid. On Friday 9 November I visited Diageo with my hon. Friend the Member for Ochil and South Perthshire (Gordon Banks). On Saturday 10 November I attended the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance 2007 event and, on Sunday 11 November, I attended the Remembrance Ceremony at the Cenotaph. On Monday 12 November I met EU ambassadors in London, hosted by the Portuguese ambassador, before attending the Defence debate in the House of Commons. On Tuesday 13 November I met separately with the National Farmers Union Scotland and Scottish Financial Enterprise. On Wednesday 14 November I attended a Sailor, Soldier, Airmen and Families Association reception. On Thursday 15 November I hosted the Romanian Defence Minister for bilateral discussions in London. On Friday 16 November I hosted a reception in Edinburgh for Polish National Day. On Sunday 18 and Monday 19 November I was in Brussels attending a meeting of EU Defence Ministers. On Tuesday 20 November I met with The Crown Prince of Bahrain.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what his official engagements were from 22 to 28 November; [170828]

(2) what his official engagements were from 22 November to 10 December. [173719]

Des Browne: Throughout the period 22 November to 10 December, I had various meetings in London and Scotland, including with ministerial colleagues and officials from the MOD and Scotland Office. On 22 November, I had a meeting with the Columbian Defence Minister and a meeting with the Turkish Chief of Defence Staff. On 23 November, I addressed the State of the City Economy Conference in Glasgow. On 28 November, I answered oral questions for the Scotland Office in the House of Commons. On 29 November, I attended a reception to mark the home coming of 12 Brigade from Iraq. On 1 December, I visited the Longannet Power Station in Alloa and participated in the Scottish Interfaith Week Come and Play the Diversity Game event in Edinburgh. On 3 December, I answered oral Defence questions in the House of Commons. On 4 December, I met with service families about the Board of Inquiry findings into the crash of the RAF Nimrod XV230 before attending the House to make a statement about the same. On 6 December, I gave oral evidence to the AFPRB and in the evening I attended a Sailor, Soldier, Airmen and Families Association carol service at the Guards’ Chapel, Wellington Barracks. On 8 December, I met with representatives from the services charity “Forward Edge Battle Area”. Between 7 and 10 December, I was overseas visiting service personnel in Afghanistan.

Operating Costs

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department’s RfR 1 operating cost statement (level 4 view) for each financial year since 2001-02. [176283]


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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Departmental Operating Cost Statement (OCS) is a consolidation of OCSs by Top Level Budget (TLB) and includes Request for Resources (RfR) 1, 2 and 3.

RfR l and 2 data are not held centrally at level 4 (Resource Account Code). Extraction of the RfR 2 data from the consolidated OCS, to produce an OCS for RfR l at level 4 could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.

An OCS in the summarised format produced for the Department Resource Accounts for RfR l can be produced for the period 2001-02 to 2006-07 and I shall place a copy in the Library of the House.

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's RfR 1 balance sheet (level 4 view) for each financial year since 2001-02. [176284]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The departmental balance sheet is a consolidation of balance sheets by top level budget and includes request for resources (RfR) 1, 2 and 3. Balances at the year end are not identified by individual RfR and construction of a balance sheet for RfRl from source data could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Operational Readiness Force

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which units form the UK’s commitment to the Operational Readiness Force (ORF) for KFOR; whether they are fully equipped; whether the ORF is deployed; and when the next ORF will take over from the current ORF. [170804]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 4 December 2007]: The UK element of NATO’s Operational Reserve Force (ORF) is currently a battalion from the 2 Royal Ghurkhas Rifles. Subsequently the UK ORF will consist of a battalion from 1 Welsh Guards and then followed by a battalion from 2 Rifles. The UK ORF battalion is prepared and positioned in the UK and will take over as the highest ready (four days notice for the lead element) battalion in support of NATO responsibilities in the Balkans from 1 January 2008 until 30 June 2008. The battalion is fully equipped for the potential tasks required of it.

Phantom Clocking

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the costs to his Department of phantom-clocking in each year since 1997. [175294]

Derek Twigg: The term “phantom clocking” is taken to mean the abuse by employees, of time recording equipment at their place of work. This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Princess Mary’s Hospital

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many patients have been treated at the Princess Mary’s Hospital in RAF Akrotiri in the last 12
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months; what the hospital's establishment is; how many staff are working at the hospital; and whether the hospital is fully equipped. [173970]

Derek Twigg: The number of patients treated at the Princess Mary’s Hospital at RAF Akrotiri from 1 December 2006-30 November 2007 was 12,848, including both in-patients and out-patients. The total staff establishment is for 161 personnel, made up of both military and civilians, and present manning stands at 147. The current staffing level has not prevented the hospital from carrying out its required tasks, and it is also equipped for the clinical services it is required to provide.

Recruitment

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much in near cash terms was spent on civilian recruitment in each financial year since 2002-03. [176281]

Des Browne: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Redundancy Pay

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much in near cash terms was paid out in severance payments in each financial year since 2002-03. [176280]

Derek Twigg: The amounts paid out in near cash terms for redundancy and severance payments in each financial year from 2002-03 are set out in the following table:

Financial year £ million

2002-03

81

2003-04

106

2004-05

92

2005-06

130

2006-07

221


Amounts paid are in respect of payments directly charged to the operating cost statement and the cash utilisation of provisions, for both military and civilian personnel.

Reserve Forces: Wales

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to allow recruitment to the Parachute Regiment Reserve in Wales. [176266]

Derek Twigg: The 4th Battalion the Parachute Regiment constitutes the Parachute Regiment Reserve. The Battalion Headquarters is based in Pudsey, West Yorkshire, with sub-unit and detachment locations in Glasgow, London, Edinburgh, Croydon and Newcastle-upon-Tyne. There are no plans to create a detachment in Wales.

Recruits to the regiment are welcome from any location, although anyone joining the regiment would need to travel to one of the unit locations in order to conduct administration and training.


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Royal Fleet Auxiliary: Contracts

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contracts have been entered into by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Support Integrated Project Team since 2004; and what the value was of each contract. [175648]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Since 2004, numerous contracts have been entered into by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Support Integrated Project Team and I will write to the hon. Member with details.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary: Manpower

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people work in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Support Integrated Project Team; and how many of them are (a) serving armed forces personnel, (b) civil servants, (c) external consultants and (d) others. [175649]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Support Integrated Project Team (IPT) currently employs 75 personnel. Of these, 32 are civilian RFA Officers, 38 are civil servants, one is an external consultant and there are four posts filled on a temporary basis by non-civil servants, for example, agency staff. There are no serving armed forces personnel employed within the IPT.

Territorial Army: Military Decorations

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 27 November 2007, Official Report, column 314W, on Territorial Army: military decorations, what guidance he has issued to regional commanders on exercising their discretion to allow members of the Territorial Army to wear medals on Combat Soldier 95 working dress at Remembrance Parades and on other ceremonial occasions. [175429]

Derek Twigg: Guidance on dress is given in Army Dress Regulations, which are widely available. These allow regional commanders to authorise the wear of medals for specific parades on combat dress. No additional guidance is necessary.

It remains the Army's intention that parade uniform (number 1 or number 2 dress) be worn for most scheduled public events. Number 2 dress is available to the TA for specific parades, and remains the uniform for general wear on Remembrance day.

Type 45 Destroyers: Procurement

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has changed his plans in respect of the number of Type 45 destroyers to be ordered; and when a decision will be made about ships seven and eight. [137886]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 17 December 2007]: We currently have a contract for six Type 45 destroyers and a decision has yet to be made on a further order. The decision and its timing will be based on a range of factors including requirements, affordability, value for money and the wider context of the Defence Industrial Strategy.


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United Kingdom Hydrographic Office

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence why there was no call for evidence as part of the early stages of the departmental review of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. [176702]

Derek Twigg: The study was announced through the Defence website on 9 February 2007. The study team identified and consulted relevant authorities and bodies in assessing options. A number of industry bodies also provided input.

Warships: Deployment

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what studies have been undertaken of deployment schedules for (a) aircraft carriers, (b) assault vessels, (c) destroyers, (d) frigates and other (e) warships and (f) auxiliary vessels with a view to keeping them tied up in port. [137889]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 17 December 2007]: Deployment plans for all Royal Navy ships and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels are kept under continuous review in the light of operational demands and maintenance requirements. In addition, a range of options relating to ship readiness states and activity levels are considered in the Department’s annual planning rounds. No decisions have yet been taken in the current planning round concerning specific deployment schedules.

Northern Ireland

Aviation

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many air miles were travelled by Ministers in his Department in each year since 2000; and what estimate he has made of the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced as a result. [172236]

Mr. Woodward: Since April 2006 emissions from central Government ministerial and official air travel has been offset through the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund. Departmental aviation emissions are calculated on an annual basis and subsequently offset through payments to the fund. The fund purchases certified emissions reduction credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with sustainable development benefits, located in developing countries.

The DEFRA website provides a comprehensive list of Government Carbon Offsetting Fund members, their emission figures and what activities they have offset through the fund, available at:

Figures for air miles and the resulting emissions from ministerial air travel are not collated separately from our overall figures and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.


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Since 1999, the Government have published on an annual basis a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500. Copies of the lists are available in the Library of the House.

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many miles he and other Ministers in his Department travelled on short haul flights in the last 12 months; and what estimate he has made of the total amount of carbon emissions produced as a result of these flights. [172566]

Mr. Woodward: Ministers in the NIO make regular short haul flights between London and Belfast to enable them to take forward departmental business in both Northern Ireland and meet their commitments at Westminster.

Since April 2006 emissions from central Government ministerial and official air travel has been offset through the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund. Departmental aviation emissions are calculated on an annual basis and subsequently offset through payments to the fund. The fund purchases certified emissions reduction credits from energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with sustainable development benefits, located in developing countries.

The DEFRA website provides a comprehensive list of Government Carbon Offsetting Fund members, their emission figures and what activities they have offset through the fund, available at:

Figures for air miles and the resulting emissions from ministerial air travel are not collated separately from our overall figures and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

Since 1999, the Government have published on an annual basis a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500. Copies of the lists are available in the Library of the House.


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