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20 Feb 2008 : Column 700W—continued

Sufficient numbers of vehicles are available to meet pre-deployment training (PDT) demands.

I am withholding the information on the numbers of vehicles available for deployment as its release would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Corporate Hospitality

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what procedures are in place to ensure that invitations to events received by officials in his Department from private companies are assessed using the Gifts, Reward and Hospitality Annex of the Statement of Civilian and Service Personnel Policy. [175952]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 7 January 2008]: Officials within the Ministry of Defence are required to record all invitations to events received from private companies, in a hospitality book, whether they are accepted or declined. Members of the senior civil service, service officers in command appointments and those holding staff appointments at or above one star level are required to maintain their own hospitality book. Each management area is required to maintain a hospitality book for the use of more junior officials.

Hospitality books are to be examined, at regular intervals, (at least once per year), by the appropriate director, head of division or commanding officer. Their hospitality books are in turn, inspected by staff of senior grade/rank, usually their line manager. Hospitality books are additionally subject to audit by Defence Internal Audit and the National Audit Office.

Departmental Assets

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library copies of his Department's monthly defence equipment and support (a) regular strength reports, (b) breakdown of military staff by geographic location and (c) support and supply civilian manpower reduction returns for 2007-08. [184860]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The numbers in the regular strength reports are not rounded. To avoid personal information being disclosed, only fully rounded versions can be released and this could only be achieved at disproportionate cost.

The reports at (b) and (c) have not been produced in 2007-08.

Departmental Manpower

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the departmental minute of 15 April 2005 on Manpower Data: A Need for Consistency. [185767]

Derek Twigg: I believe the hon. Member is referring to a loose minute issued on behalf of the Second Permanent Under Secretary of State dated 15 April 2005 and entitled “Manpower Data: A Need for Consistency”, I will place redacted copies of the loose minute and its annexes in the Library of the House.

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Gurkhas: Accommodation

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what discussions he has had with the Sultan of Brunei about the provision of married quarters for Gurkha soldiers based there; [186938]

(2) what interim financial arrangement he plans to make for Brunei-based Gurkhas who are unable to obtain a suitable married quarter there. [186939]

Derek Twigg: One battalion of Gurkhas (about 650 personnel) is permanently stationed in Brunei under the UK/Brunei Defence agreement. The rebuilding of the service families accommodation, single living accommodation and other facilities for the garrison in Brunei has been subject to negotiations within the UK/Brunei Joint Defence Committee. These detailed and constructive negotiations have been refined to take account of the improved Gurkha married accompanied service arrangements for Gurkhas, introduced in 2006, where Gurkhas with more than three years service have the same entitlement to married accompanied service as the rest of the British Army.

The development project for the garrison is proceeding in two stages, with a rolling programme providing accommodation planned for completion in 2011. The project is being paid for and delivered by the Government of Brunei, whose commitment is greatly appreciated by the UK Government.

When Gurkhas are subject to involuntary separation from their families, they are entitled to Longer Separation Allowance in accordance with the provisions of the Tri-Service Regulations for Allowances. This applies to those Gurkhas whose families are unable to join them in Brunei while the garrison development project is in progress.

National Army Museum

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will request the National Army Museum (NAM) to give to all of the Regimental and Corps Museums funded by his Department (a) all reasonable access to and (b) capacity to copy any record document deposited within NAM that relates to that Regiment or Corps; and if he will make a statement; [187258]

(2) if he will place in the Library a copy of the National Army Museum's access policy; what the Museum's systems and procedures are for dealing with (a) other military, Regimental and Corps museums wholly or partly funded by the Ministry of Defence, (b) other museums, (c) historians, researchers, authors and journalists and (d) members of the public; and if he will make a statement. [187260]

Derek Twigg: I will write to my hon. Friend.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what funds his Department made available to the National Army Museum in each of the last 10 years; and how much other public funding it received. [187259]

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Derek Twigg: The grant in aid for the National Army Museum over the last 10 years is as follows:






















Navy: Data Protection

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the 600,000 people whose personal data were on the laptop recently stolen from a Royal Navy recruiting officer were (a) under 18 and (b) under 18 when they contacted the recruitment service. [181587]

Des Browne [holding answer 24 January 2008]: Of the 600,000 people whose personal data were on the laptop stolen from a Royal Navy recruiting officer, 47,537 candidate records, that have a stored date of birth, were aged under 18 on 16 Jan 2008. 167,869 candidate records, that have a stored date of birth and a stored initial contact date, were aged under 18 when the initial contact was made.

Applicants who are under 18 years of age, or are in care at the time of application, are to obtain the consent of a parent or guardian or person with parental responsibilities before the application can be considered. This consent will be required again on entry if the applicant is still under 18, or in care.

Territorial Army: Finance

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how the required saving for the Territorial Army of £2.5 million in each of the next two financial years will be achieved, broken down by activity. [187181]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my predecessor gave him on 19 June 2007, Official Report, column 1769W, which set out the measures being taken in order to deliver the required £2.5 million funding reduction for the Territorial Army over the course of the current and next financial years. The effect of these measures was to be felt in three broad areas; capability, personnel and activities, including recruiting.

It was made clear that those TA units identified as not making a significant contribution to current operations would be directed to manage their recruiting so as to prevent their unit size from exceeding agreed levels. This element of the measures will be applied only in financial year 2007-08. I wrote to those hon. Members in whose constituencies the affected TA units are located in August 2007 informing them of this decision. This does not represent a change to TA recruiting policy.

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Olympic Games 2012

Mr. Harper: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what representations she has received on the accessibility of (a) the Olympic village and (b) each Olympic venue. [184331]

Tessa Jowell: All the Olympic family are working to ensure the games are fully inclusive and accessible—both at games time and in legacy. Making this happen requires the best advice from accessibility experts and listening to the needs of local people.

The ODA have a published quality and diversity strategy and are currently working through the design process on the village and venues with preferred developers and contractors (where agreed). LOGOG and the International Paralympic Committee are also fully involved. This process is informed by the ODA’s Access and Inclusion Forum and Access Panels (Transport and Built Environment), which includes membership from disability organisations within each of the five boroughs, as well as the borough access officers and key external stakeholders.

A design and access statement was submitted as part of the planning application in January 2007. This will underpin the design of all games venues. Access statements for each venue are being developed, with reviews conducted by the principal access officer at each building stage and with oversight by the Access Panels. Accessible transport and built environment strategies will also be published later this year.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Drugs

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Cotswold (Mr. Clifton-Brown) of 5 February 2008, Official Report, column 967W, on Afghanistan: drugs, if he will place in the Library a copy of the UK-funded review of the Afghan Government's national drugs control strategy and the institutional framework supporting it. [186894]

David Miliband: The UK-commissioned review of the Afghan Government's national drugs control strategy was conducted by independent consultants and the results were discussed with the Afghan Government. While some of the recommendations have been agreed and taken forward, we agreed not to pursue others. We do not publish all consultancy reports, and as some of the recommendations have not been taken forward, it would not be appropriate to put a copy of the review in the Library of the House.

Afghanistan: Police

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what research his Department has conducted into police training and readiness in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [186710]

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David Miliband: Improving the capability of the Afghan police is critical to security in Afghanistan. The UK is providing policing assistance to the Afghan Government as a part of our efforts to improve governance and security. Our assistance includes the provision of specialist law enforcement experts based in Afghanistan who are working to improve the quality of the Afghan police through training and mentoring programmes. These individuals are working alongside colleagues in the European Union policing mission to Afghanistan, as well as the US Combined Security and Transition Command—Afghanistan on the development of police training.

Officials within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) regularly receive information from these experts and organisations and also make use of internationally produced research into Afghan policing. The FCO, however, has not commissioned any specific academic research into police training and readiness in Afghanistan.

Brazil: Human Rights

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations his Department has made to Brazil on the human rights of tribal peoples in Brazil. [187045]

Dr. Howells: We have made no specific representations. The rights of indigenous people were discussed during a visit I made to Brazil in September 2007, in a meeting with Brazil’s Minister for Human Rights.

Departmental Databases

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what databases are (a) owned and (b) maintained by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [185414]

Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) uses a large number of databases. The most significant of these are managed centrally. These support activities across the organisation, such as the processing of visa applications from foreign nationals, passport issue overseas, consular assistance and financial and personnel administration.

Many others, where there is no operational need to share data, are locally owned and maintained, either by diplomatic posts overseas or departments in the UK. A survey in 2005 identified more than 1,000 of these, of varying size and complexity, holding over 1 million records supporting the full range of activities undertaken by the FCO worldwide.

There are two FCO agencies. FCO Services maintains databases to support the operational services provided to the FCO. Wilton Park keeps records relating to the conferences held there. Both also use databases in support of internal administration (such as staff records, financial data and other organisational information).

Departmental Vehicles

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many vehicles were (a) owned and (b) purchased by his Department in each of the last 10 years. [183291]

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Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Services home fleet of vehicles currently comprises 35 vehicles. They are all owned by the Department. Purchases for the home fleet in the last two years have been six vehicles per year. This is based upon a one for one replacement programme with an old vehicle being disposed of when the new vehicle arrives.

We are unable to provide further information on purchases for the home or overseas fleets without incurring disproportionate cost.

In respect of vehicles provided by the Government Car and Despatch Agency, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him on 5 February 2008, Official Report, column 1008W, by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jim Fitzpatrick).

Departmental Visits Abroad

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many overseas visits by officials in his Department took place in each of the last 10 years; which countries were visited; and how much was spent on such visits in each such year. [181589]

Meg Munn: It would incur disproportionate cost to collate the information requested by the hon. Member as this information is not held centrally in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The Government have published on an annual basis a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500, as well as the total cost of all ministerial travel overseas. The Government’s annual publication about overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers is accessible at:

The list includes details about the number of officials accompanying a Minister when non-scheduled travel is used for the trip. Copies of lists covering information going back to the 1997-98 financial year are also available in the Library of the House.

All official travel is undertaken in accordance with the ‘Civil Service Management Code and the Ministerial Code.’

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