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14 Jan 2008 : Column 883W—continued


14 Jan 2008 : Column 884W

These criteria are broadly in line with the “Best Practice Guidance on Disclosure Logs” issued by the then Department for Constitutional Affairs in 2005. However, these criteria are neither prescriptive nor exhaustive, and other responses are considered for publication if they are identified as potentially being of wider public interest.

Departmental Pay

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 29 November 2007, Official Report, column 578W, on departmental pay, how many of those earning over £100,000 were employed (a) as special advisers and (b) in a political role in each year since 1997. [177179]

Derek Twigg: Since 2003, the Government have published on an annual basis the number of special advisers in each pay band. For the most recent information, I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister on 22 November 2007, Official Report, columns 147-51WS.

Information on the number and costs of special advisers prior to 2003 was provided at regular intervals and this information is available in the Library of the House.

Departmental Responsibilities

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which (a) reports, (b) surveys and (c) studies his Department has (i) commissioned, (ii) conducted and (iii) completed in the last six months; and what the purpose was of each. [177542]

Derek Twigg: The Department keeps all its activities, processes and structures under regular review. As a result, a wide range of internal and external reports, surveys and studies are being carried out at any one time. Information on these is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

English Language

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on English language classes for staff in the last year for which figures are available. [177486]

Derek Twigg: Total identified MOD expenditure on English language training support for the financial year 2006-07 was £720,000.

There are no identified costs for English language classes for the Royal Navy, the RAF or MOD civilians. The MOD’s requirement for English language training support is primarily for Gurkha and Commonwealth recruits to the Army.

The total cost for Gurkha Language Wing for Financial Year 2006-07 was £678,000. This cost includes both English language training for Gurkha soldiers and the teaching of Nepali to British officers
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of the Brigade of Gurkhas and other attached British personnel. Individual costs are not separately identifiable. English language support across the rest of the Army is provided by basic skills development managers.

Iraq: Detainees

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 5 December 2007, Official Report, columns 1224-5W, on Iraq: detainees, whether the United States authorities have at any time requested British consent for any individual to be transferred to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. [177561]

Des Browne [holding answer 10 January 2008 ]: We have no record of the United States’ authorities making any request for our consent to transfer an individual to their detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, and no record of any such individual being transferred without our consent.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by how much UK troop numbers in Iraq were reduced in each of the last six months in net terms; and by how much UK troop numbers are expected to be reduced in each of the next six months, in net terms. [175795]

Des Browne: The following table sets out for each of the last six months the net reduction in the number of established UK military posts in Iraq.

2007 Net reduction in posts Cumulative total

July

0

0

August

100

100

September

300

400

October

100

500

November

600

1,100

December

0

1,100


By the end of January 2008, we aim to have reduced the number of posts in Iraq by a further 350. Work continues to plan for future force level reductions, down to around 2,500 in southern Iraq from spring 2008, in line with the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 8 October 2007, Official Report, column 23. We are unable at present to provide a month-by-month projection of this reduction. Our plans will, of course, be guided by the advice of our military commanders and are subject to conditions on the ground.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2007, Official Report, column 1458W, on Iraq: peacekeeping operations, what plans he has to instruct commercial barristers in respect of the Hercules inquest. [177332]

Des Browne: In my answer of 18 December 2007, Official Report, column 1458W, to the hon. Member, I confirmed the costs that MOD has incurred in
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engaging external legal advice and representation in respect of the Hercules inquest. Such representation includes instructing the Treasury Solicitors and Crown Counsel who will represent the Department at the inquest.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, dated 23 November 2007, ref: MC06419/2007. [178020]

Derek Twigg: I replied to the hon. Member on 18 December.

Military Bases: USA

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the Tiger Team report into security at RAF bases occupied by US forces. [178155]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I will place a digest of the USAFE Tiger Team report on security at RAF bases provided by the UK for the use of US visiting forces in the Library of the House. This is already in the public domain following a request from a member of the public in 2006. A copy of the digest is enclosed with this answer for ease of reference. The full report has been exempted from publication under Section 31 (Law Enforcement) and Section 38 (Health and Safety) of the Freedom of Information Act.

Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are to change the number of Ministry of Defence police officers. [177585]

Derek Twigg: The forecast for MDP officers in 2008 is currently approximately 3,500. Security at MOD establishments is kept under constant review and future numbers will reflect the needs of the Department.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what roles Ministry of Defence police officers have in supporting the British armed forces. [177589]

Derek Twigg: The main crime and security risks faced by the Ministry of Defence are terrorist attack, disruption and disorder caused by protestors, theft of key assets and major financial fraud. To combat these risks the Ministry of Defence police provides armed security, uniformed policing and the investigation of minor and serious crime.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the recruiting targets for Ministry of Defence police officers were in each year since 1997. [177591]


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Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence police has no set annual targets for recruitment. Instead it keeps recruiting requirements under constant review and recruits sufficient police constables to meet the numbers required to allow the chief constable to discharge his civilian policing function across the Defence Estate.

Netherlands: International Cooperation

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 3 December 2007, Official Report, column 842W, on the Netherlands: international co-operation, which units form the existing UK/Netherlands Amphibious Landing Force; how many joint training exercises between the UK and the Netherlands were conducted in support of the UK/Netherlands Amphibious Landing Force in each year since its creation; and what percentage of funding for the UK/Netherlands Amphibious Landing Force was paid by (a) the UK and (b) the Netherlands in each year since its creation. [177733]

Des Browne: The Netherlands Amphibious Landing Force (UK/NL LF) is not a standing force but a framework for long term cooperation between 3 Commando Brigade and the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps that was first conceived in 1973. From 1973-91 two joint training exercises were held annually, one in Norway during the winter and one on Salisbury plain during the summer.

Since 1991 joint training exercises have been less regular, typically taking place as work up training for operational deployment of the UK/NL LF, such as northern Iraq in 1991 and Bosnia in 1995. Joint training exercises took place in 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007 and two joint training exercises of the UK/NL LF are planned for 2008.

As with all NATO activities the principle of funding for the UK/NL LF is that costs lie where they fall; each nation therefore pays its own costs.

Prince William

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what application procedures were followed in respect of Prince William’s training to be a pilot; which of the armed forces he will be attached to after training; to which unit; what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of training Prince William as a pilot; and if he will make a statement. [177377]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: His Royal Highness Prince William attended the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre and a medical board prior to his attachment to the Royal Air Force and he met the standards required to be trained as a pilot. He will continue to be attached to the Royal Air Force once he has completed his flying training, gaining experience with several different units, to familiarise him further with the Royal Air Force, its structure, roles, history and ethos. No specific estimate has been made of the cost of his flying training but it is unlikely to exceed that of equivalent training undertaken by other trainees. After his time with the
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RAF, Prince William will be attached to the Royal Navy. As with the RAF, he will spend time gaining an understanding of the fullest spectrum of the Royal Navy’s capabilities—from submarines to the ships of the surface fleet, including the Royal Marines and Fleet Air Arm.

Princess Royal Barracks

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has held with local authorities on supplementary planning guidance needed to facilitate the redevelopment of Deepcut Barracks; and if he will make a statement. [178196]

Derek Twigg: There have been preliminary discussions with Surrey Heath borough council. The announcement that part of the site will be released for redevelopment after 2013 was timed to allow the site to be included in the council’s core strategy. This will allow potential alternative uses to be discussed within the normal planning process.

RAF Kinloss

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many bedspaces his Department has of each classification on fitness for habitation for personnel based at (a) RAF Kinloss and (b) RAF Lossiemouth. [178129]

Derek Twigg: At 31 December 2007, the number of single living accommodation bedspaces at RAF Kinloss and RAF Lossiemouth, at each condition grade (Grade 1 being the highest and Grade 4 the lowest), is shown in the following table.

Number of bed spaces
Grade RAF Kinloss RAF Lossiemouth

Grade 1

379

99

Grade 2

388

0

Grade 3

59

770

Grade 4

0

94

Total

826

963


RAF: Training

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much it costs to train a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot on (a) fixed and (b) rotary wing aircrafts; what commitment to further service in the RAF is required by applicants for training; what the criteria and application procedures are; how many applicants there were for such training in each of the last three years; and how many were successful. [177376]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Royal Air Force pilots continue to train throughout their careers and new entrants are not considered to have joined the trained strength until they have completed a course at an Operational Conversion Unit (OCU); on starting with an OCU, they incur an obligation to incur a minimum of six years further service following completion of their
14 Jan 2008 : Column 889W
OCU tour. For the purposes of the information requested, the end of training has been defined as the point when a pilot moves to an OCU. At this point pilots have learnt to fly and are transferred to front-line aircraft types. The indicative cost to train a Royal Air Force pilot up to transfer to an Operational Conversion Unit is about £3.1 million for Fast Jet, £0.6 million for Multi-Engine and £0.8 million for Rotary Wing aircraft. These costs are for financial year 2007-08 and cover flying training and related activities, for example, recruitment, ground training, aircraft maintenance and training on simulators. They are made up of both direct and indirect costs, and include an allowance for broader MOD overheads.

For a career as a pilot in the Royal Air Force, potential recruits need to be aged between 17 and a half and 23 years of age and have been a British citizen since birth or hold dual British/other nationality. The qualifications required are five GCSEs/SCEs at Grade C/3 minimum (to include English Language and Maths) and two A-levels or three Highers or equivalent. During the application process the aptitude, health and fitness of applicants is tested to ensure that they are ready for a career in the RAF. All applicants have to attend the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) based at Royal Air Force College Cranwell.

The details of the numbers who applied to enter the Royal Air Force as a trainee pilot and the number who progressed into service in each of the last three financial years (rounded to the nearest 10) are as follows:

Financial year Number of applicants Number of pilots who progressed into service with the Royal Air Force

2004-05

1,260

100

2005-06

1,120

120

2006-07

1,160

140


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