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30 Jan 2008 : Column 361W—continued


Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many cases of bullying have been reported in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last 12 months. [182836]

Mr. Sutcliffe: There have been no cases of bullying reported in DCMS or The Royal Parks Agency within the last 12 months.

Licensed Premises

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate his Department has made of the number of licensed premises in England and Wales that have a terminal hour, on at least one day of the week, after 11 pm. [176713]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Department does not hold detailed information on the licensed hours of the 177,200 licences and certificates that were in force in England and Wales on 31 March 2007. The actual closing times of a premises may, in any case, be earlier than the terminal hours granted on its licence. Data from the on-licensed trade suggest that 60 per cent. of outlets stop selling alcohol by 11 pm and that, on average across all on-licensed premises, closing times have increased by approximately 20 minutes since the Licensing Act 2003 came into effect.

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Olympic Games 2012: Finance

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what payment is being made to Fast Track for the contract to help raise £100 million from the private sector to help fund athletes in the run up to the 2012 Olympics in London. [183120]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Department and UK Sport are currently in discussion with Fast Track about the contractual arrangements for the project to raise £100 million from the private sector.

We do not expect that public funding will be used to pay for this project.

Planning Permission: Playing Fields

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2008, Official Report, column 1167, on planning permission: playing fields, what the reasons were for the figures for 2005-06 not being published in 2007 as referred to in his answer of 9 July 2007, Official Report, column 1296 on playing fields; and when he expects the figures to be published for (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07. [182699]

Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 28 January 2008]: Sport England will be providing more extensive and revised information about planning applications for 2005-06 and retrospectively (2003-04 and 2004-05). The figures were not fully validated and finalised in time for publication last year as originally intended. We intend to publish these figures shortly. It is currently expected that figures for 2006-07 will be published later in the year.

House of Commons Commission

Departmental Travel

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission (1) many overseas visits were made by House of Commons staff in each of the last 10 years; which countries were visited; and what the cost of the visits was in each year; [181457]

(2) how much was spent on travel by officials of the House (a) within and (b) outside the UK in each of the last 10 years; and what percentage of the House’s overall expenditure was spent on such travel in each such year. [181535]

Nick Harvey: House of Commons staff travel within the UK and abroad chiefly when accompanying groups of Members on select committee visits, on delegations to international assemblies, on bilateral visits or for conferences. The cost of the staff element of official travel with Members cannot be disaggregated from the total, which amounted to some £2.65 million for UK and overseas visits in 2006-07. There have also been a small number of overseas visits by individual officials, mainly for the purpose of strengthening democratic institutions in other countries.

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Departmental ICT

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the (a) start date, (b) original planned completion date, (c) current expected completion date, (d) planned cost and (e) current estimated cost is for each information technology project being undertaken by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [180579]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office is an integral part of the IT systems of the Scottish Executive and does not undertake separate IT projects.

Power Stations

Mr. Devine: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of output Hunterston B Power Station was producing at the end of December 2007. [182661]

David Cairns: Information on individual power station output is not held in the form requested.

Hunterston B Power Station has an installed capacity of 1190 MW. According to publicly available information from its operators, British Energy, the station is currently operating at a reduced level of 70 per cent. of full output, but on average generates sufficient electricity to supply almost half the households in Scotland.

The recent announcement that its life will be extended by five years to at least 2016 is very welcome, given its continued importance to Scotland's energy supply mix.


Afghanistan: Military Decorations

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the criteria are for award of the (a) ISAF medal and (b) Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan; for what reasons the ISAF medal may not be worn; and if he will make a statement. [180909]

Derek Twigg: The Operational Service Medal (OSM)—Afghanistan was instituted to recognise service in Afghanistan and in support of operations in that country from 11 September 2001. The qualifying criteria were initially published in Command Paper 5939 in September 2003 and amended in Command Paper 6935 in October 2006. Copies were placed in the Library of the House.

Subsequently, NATO offered their ISAF medal to coalition troops taking part in NATO operations in Afghanistan from 1 June 2003. Qualification for the medal is completion of at least 30 days continuous or accumulated service.

One of the key principles laid down by the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals is that permission will not be given for UK citizens to accept a foreign award if they have received, or are expected to receive, a UK award for the same service.

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As the NATO medal now covers the same service as the national OSM—Afghanistan and thereby contravenes the ‘double medalling’ rule. UK personnel who are given the medal may retain it, but may not wear it.

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to send the six Merlin helicopters recently procured from Denmark to Afghanistan. [174486]

Des Browne: The six Danish Merlin helicopters will increase the operational capability that can be delivered by our Merlin fleet. Merlin helicopters are currently deployed in Iraq. We are currently examining the balance of our helicopter force levels across theatres, including the deployment of Merlin helicopters to Afghanistan, subject to operational requirements.

Armed Forces: Asthma

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will review the medical criteria for acceptance into the armed forces of people with asthma; [179755]

(2) if he will take steps to ensure that people with asthma are not automatically rejected upon application to the armed forces. [179756]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 17 January 2008]: It is essential that all recruits to the armed forces are operationally effective, and the medical tests that they undergo on recruitment are designed to ensure this. Examining medical officers will consider each applicant on his or her own merit and apply their clinical judgement individually. Because of its potentially adverse effect on performance and respiratory fitness, and because of the requirement for long term access to respiratory medication, and possible associated medical care, candidates who have a current wheezing condition will in almost all cases be rejected. Candidates who have been free from symptoms and off all treatment for a period of at least four years may be considered for employment, subject to further assessment of their respiratory function.

We do review the medical standards for entry to the armed forces on a regular basis, and update them as appropriate. The guidance on respiratory conditions was last reviewed and updated in September 2006.

Armed Forces: Inquests

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on legal representation for military inquests in each year since 2003. [179679]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: A coroner's inquest is a non-adversarial fact-finding inquiry and in the majority of inquests MOD does not instruct a legal team. However, MOD as an interested person, does, in a minority of cases consider it would be of assistance to have Counsel present, particularly where deaths have occurred in complex and unusual circumstances and to assist the coroner in undertaking his statutory function.

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The amount spent by the Department on legal representation for military inquests in the UK and overseas each year since 2003 is as follows:












These figures include external legal advice on inquest related matters as well as costs for representation at inquests. The increase in costs in 2006 and 2007 reflect the increased volume of inquests held in Oxfordshire following the provision of additional resources to clear the backlog of inquests into operational deaths overseas.

Armed Forces: Manpower

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the peace establishment was of the (a) 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh, (b) 1st Battalion Irish Guards, (c) 4th Battalion The Rifles and (d) 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery before its deployment to Iraq; what the strength was of the battalion on deployment; how many reinforcements to the battalion were received from (i) the regular Army, (ii) the Territorial Army and (iii) the regular Army Reserves; how many of all ranks remained in the UK (A) on recruitment duties, (B) as physically unfit to deploy and (C) in barracks in reserve; and what the battalion’s battle casualty replacement policy is. [182384]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The following table provides the information requested.

2 R Welsh 4 Rifles 1 RHA 1 IG

Peace Establishment prior to deployment





Strength on Deployment





Level of reinforcement from Regular Army





Level of reinforcement from Reg. Reserves





Level of reinforcement from Territorial Army





Unit personnel left behind on recruiting duties





Unit personnel physically unfit to deploy





Rear Party Strength(1)





(1) Figures for Rear Party strength exclude those personnel listed as physically unfit to deploy or on recruiting duties.

With regard to Battlefield Casualty Replacement policy I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 7 January 2008, Official Report, column 50W, which applies across the Army.

30 Jan 2008 : Column 366W

Armed Forces: Pay

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Department's budget is for the longer separation allowance. [177539]

Derek Twigg: The spend on longer separation allowance (LSA) for financial year 2006-07 was £119 million. For financial year 2007-08 this is forecast to be around £105 million.

LSA forecasted spend is dependent on the circumstances of individuals deploying (i.e. precise time spent deployed, marital status).

Armed Forces: Qualifications

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what percentage of members of each service enrolled for courses leading to additional (a) military-related and (b) non-military-related qualifications in each of the last five years for which figures are available; how many successfully completed the courses; and if he will make a statement. [182793]

Derek Twigg: The majority of personnel, when not on operations or leave, are engaged in some form of military-related training, much of which is accredited for delivering civilian qualifications, but the information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The following table sets out the take-up of non-military related courses, expressed as a percentage of service strength, by personnel undertaking personal development using financial support provided through the armed forces learning credits schemes. Data on course completions are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

FY Royal Navy Army Royal Air Force Total


























All years include the use of Standard Learning Credit, FY/05 onwards also includes the use of Enhanced Learning Credits introduced with effect from 1 April 2004.

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