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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.
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.
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. 
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. 
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.
(2) whether he has consulted the former Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence, John Morrison, about
the potential impact of a one-fifth reduction in defence intelligence staff posts in London. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: MOD is currently streamlining its Head Office as part of the Departments response to its capability review. The Defence intelligence staff fall within the remit of this streamlining programme.
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 Departments property since April 2005 to 2007. 
I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question on 3 September 2007, (Official Report, column 1617W) about the amount Defence Estates (Aldershot) was billed in liability charges for charity events held on his Departments property since 2005-2007.
I apologise for the delay in writing to you following our meeting on 12 December, which was due to the time required to retrieve and review our available information. Unfortunately, the review has shown that it is not possible to separately identify liability charges for charity events.
I am placing a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
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. 
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.
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. 
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.
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. 
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:
|Operations in Iraq||Expenditure on capital equipment||Total|
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. 
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 MODs 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.
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. 
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.
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). 
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 lifedesigned fatigue life-flying hours|
The structural integrity of airframes is assured by regular maintenance and replacement of fatigue-sensitive
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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