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3 Mar 2008 : Column 2052W—continued


SLA
Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4
Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage

Germany

2,356

14

1,494

9

4,186

24

8,989

53

Cyprus

67

4

14

1

534

36

882

59

Falklands/ Ascension Islands

14

<1

0

0

6,105

>99

Gibraltar

325

83

24

6

41

11

0


The low grade given to SLA in the South Atlantic Islands for example reflects the remote location and environmental factors rather than the actual condition of the accommodation which is considered reasonable. It should be noted that a large proportion of overseas SLA is only used during operational deployments. Although much of this accommodation is G4fC, residents are not charged for it.


3 Mar 2008 : Column 2053W

In Cyprus, some 650 bed-spaces will be upgraded by 2012 for use on a permanent basis. In addition, there are ongoing programmes of improvement work in all the above locations including the Hired Accommodation Revitalisation Programme project, which aims to replace or upgrade the entire hired estate in Germany over the next five years.

Over the next decade the MOD will spend over £8 billion on accommodation, including some £3.1 billion on bringing accommodation up to the top condition. This will include the delivery of some further 30,000 new or improved SLA bed-spaces by 2013.

Checkmate

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the ability of Checkmate technology to improve the UK Network Centric Warfare capability; and if he will make a statement. [188747]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my predecessor gave on 13 December 2005, Official Report, column 1881W, to the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth).

Civil Contingency Reaction Forces: Deployment

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the reservists who make up the operational capability of Civil Contingency Reaction Forces are on active duty overseas. [190603]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my predecessor gave on 1 March 2005, Official Report, column 1137W, to the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (David Davis).

Committee of Permanent Representatives

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 7 February 2008, Official Report, column 1401W, on the Committee of Permanent Representatives, how many (a) civilian and (b) military personnel from his Department are part of the staff of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (i) I and (ii) II. [190835]

Des Browne: The Committee of Permanent Representatives does not have a dedicated staff.

There are two MOD civilians working in the UK Permanent Representation to the EU on a national basis who for part of their time support the UK Permanent Representative on European security and defence policy matters considered in the Committee of Permanent Representatives II.

There is no defence business that relates to the Committee of Permanent Representatives I.

Departmental Redundancy

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the reasons are for the consideration of one-fifth of defence intelligence staff posts in London for abolition; [189427]

(2) whether he has consulted the former Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence, John Morrison, about
3 Mar 2008 : Column 2054W
the potential impact of a one-fifth reduction in defence intelligence staff posts in London. [189429]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: MOD is currently streamlining its Head Office as part of the Department’s response to its capability review. The Defence intelligence staff fall within the remit of this streamlining programme.

No Ministers have consulted Mr. Morrison. We will keep the wider intelligence and security community engaged as the work is taken forward.

Departments: Charities

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much Defence Estate (Aldershot) billed in liability charges for charity events held on his Department’s property since April 2005 to 2007. [152355]

Derek Twigg: The information requested will need to be collated and this will take a little time. I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from Derek Twigg to Nick Harvey:

EU Defence Policy

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 24 January 2008, Official Report, columns 37-38W, on EU defence policy, what his definition is of statute, seat and operational rules; and if he will make a statement. [190826]

Des Browne: We understand the statute, seat and operational rules of the European Defence Agency as described in the Lisbon treaty to be the instrument setting up the European Defence Agency, its headquarters and the rules under which it operates.

EU Defence Policy: Finance

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he had with European Defence Ministers on the financing of EU military operations under the Athena Mechanism at the recent meeting in Brdo, Slovenia; and if he will make a statement. [190720]

Des Browne: The Athena Mechanism ensures that EU member states pay an equitable share of common costs for agreed EU military operations. This mechanism was not discussed at the informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers held in Brdo, Slovenia on 21-22 February 2008.


3 Mar 2008 : Column 2055W

Future Large Aircraft: Procurement

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has made any changes to the number of A400M aircraft to be ordered. [189275]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: No.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of (a) combat and (b) peacekeeping operations in Iraq in each year since 2003; and if he will make a statement. [190062]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Combat activities commenced on 20 March 2003 and ceased on 1 May 2003 spanning two financial years 2002-03 and 2003-04 totalling £2,158 million. All subsequent years are categorised as peacekeeping operations.

The costs of operations are calculated on a net additional basis and audited figures are published each year in the MOD’ Annual Report and Accounts. The total annual costs of operations in Iraq for the years 2002-03 to 2006-07 including the cost of combat activities are in the following table:

£ million
Operations in Iraq Expenditure on capital equipment Total

2002-03

629

218

847

2003-04

1,051

260

1,311

2004-05

747

163

910

2005-06

798

160

958

2006-07

787

169

956

Grand total

4,982


An estimated cost of £1,648 million for 2007-08 was included in the Spring Supplementary Estimates published in February, which is due to be voted on by Parliament shortly.

Iraq: Resettlement

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate his Department has made of the number of Iraqi citizens formerly employed by the Ministry of Defence expected to apply for (a) the UK Gateway scheme and (b) indefinite leave to enter on an exceptional basis outside the Immigration Rules in 2008-09. [189895]

Des Browne [holding answer 28 February 2008]: We estimate that there are approximately 400 former members of staff who are eligible for the LECs assistance scheme. Around half of those already assessed as eligible and who have informed us of their preferred form of assistance, have opted for the Gateway scheme.

Staff who left MOD’s employment prior to 8 August 2007 are not eligible for indefinite leave to enter the UK on an exceptional basis. Seven current staff members made redundant since 8 August 2007 have chosen this option.


3 Mar 2008 : Column 2056W

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much financial support the Government paid to Iraqi citizens formerly employed by the Ministry of Defence awaiting resettlement under the UK Gateway programme in third countries in each month since October 2007; and how many Iraqi citizens formerly employed by the Ministry of Defence have received financial support whilst awaiting resettlement. [189896]

Des Browne [holding answer 28 February 2008]: No financial assistance has yet been paid to former staff members seeking resettlement to the UK under the Gateway programme. The focus of our effort has been on assessing the eligibility of those applying to the scheme from within Iraq, and on undertaking the necessary security checks on those seeking resettlement. The first tranche of this work is now largely complete, and we expect that a significant number of former Ministry of Defence employees and their dependents (in excess of 100 individuals) will soon leave Iraq for a third country for assessment under the Gateway programme. Financial assistance will be paid to these individuals, as well as to any eligible former employees who have already left Iraq, in the coming weeks.

As of 21 February, the Ministry of Defence has paid over $450,000 to former staff members who opted for the financial package of assistance.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, dated 24 January, on low flying aircrafts (reference: MC00711/2008). [191221]

Derek Twigg: I replied to the hon. Member on 28 February 2008.

Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many flying hours helicopters can undertake before they must be taken out of service, broken down by type of helicopter. [189269]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Different helicopter types have differing Structural Integrity design philosophies. They do not all have a set number of flying hours before they must be taken out of service as indicated in the following table.

Aircraft type Finite life—designed fatigue life-flying hours

Agusta A109A/AM

No

Attack Helicopter

Yes—9,000 hours

Chinook Mk2/2a

No

Gazelle

Yes—15,000 hours

Lynx Mk3, Mk7, Mk8, Mk9

Yes—7,000 hours

Merlin Mk1 and Mk3

Yes—10,000 hours

Puma HC1

No

Sea King Mk3/3a, Mk4, Mk5 Mk6c, Mk7

No


The structural integrity of airframes is assured by regular maintenance and replacement of fatigue-sensitive
3 Mar 2008 : Column 2057W
components after a set period of use. In all cases, the maintenance policy and lives of key components are regularly reviewed to ensure it supports the safe operation of the aircraft. Helicopters with designed fatigue lives can fly beyond the design life when specific actions are taken. Actions may include the replacement of significant structural items and the instigation of enhanced inspections and maintenance.


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