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5 Mar 2008 : Column 2552W—continued

Information for 2007 will be released in DASA's National Statistics Notice “Suicide and open verdict deaths among UK regular armed forces personnel” on 31 March.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many instances of breakdown and maintenance damage have been recorded in the (a) Vector and (b) Bulldog vehicle since it first entered service. [190725]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Based on records from the Equipment Failure Reporting System (EFRS), since the Vector vehicle entered service, approximately 119 Equipment Failure Reports (EFRs) have been raised. For the Bulldog vehicle there have been approximately 228 EFRs.

The EFRS is the mandated system for the user to report equipment failures, such as accidental damage, maintenance related failures and breakdowns, as well as equipment failure of any item fitted to the vehicle. It does not incorporate the results of subsequent investigations and therefore does not differentiate between what might later prove to have been operator error or damage sustained as a result of operations. Nor does this data record the severity of a failure which might have no discernible impact on operational capability or safety.

These figures do not include any instances of equipment failure that have not been formally reported by the user.

5 Mar 2008 : Column 2553W

Bulldog and Vector fleets are currently making a significant contribution to current operations.

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department’s order for Ridgeback vehicles will be placed. [190409]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The preferred Ridgeback vehicle has been identified. Commercial negotiations are continuing and we will make further announcements in due course.

AWE Burghfield: Floods

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2008, Official Report, column 2138W, on AWE Burghfield: floods, and page 22 of the Health and Safety Executive Nuclear Newsletter, November 2007 issue, on what date (a) the Health and Safety Executive nuclear installation inspectorate was satisfied that emergency arrangements were in place and (b) operational activities resumed. [187040]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Following the flooding at AWE Burghfield in July 2007, contingency emergency arrangements put in place were considered by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) to be adequate at all times for the activities being undertaken. NII inspected the interim facilities and witnessed an emergency exercise on 24 October, and agreed that nuclear operations could recommence on 5 November 2007.

Ballistic Missile Defence

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the implications of missile defence systems for the UK's defence industry. [191055]

Des Browne: UK defence industry has the opportunity to participate in the work to develop missile defence systems. The MOD supports this effort through the work of the UK Missile Defence Centre, which provides assistance and advice to UK industry.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Peacekeeping Operations

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the reasons are for the change in size of the EUFOR military force in Bosnia-Herzegovina from November 2007 to February 2008. [190722]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The size of the EU military force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR ALTHEA) has reduced from 2,566 at the end of November 2007 to 2,232 at the end of February 2008. The reductions resulted from the progressive transfer of responsibilities from EUFOR ALTHEA to Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities and the attendant closure of former camps at Mostar used by French forces and Rajlovac used by German and Italian forces.

BOWMAN Combat Radio System

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what anti-jamming capability the (a) Bowman and (b) Clansman communications system has. [191595]

5 Mar 2008 : Column 2554W

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I am withholding the information requested as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Challenger Tanks: Repairs and Maintenance

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many tracks needed replacement on Challenger 2 main battle tanks in each of the last six months; how many spare tracks there were available in theatre in each such month; and how many spare tracks there are available. [191344]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The number of tracks issued across the entire fleet in each of the last six months and the number of full vehicle sets of spare track available in Iraq in the last six months are:

Number of tracks issued across the entire fleet Spare tracks available in Iraq





















The number of tracks which needed replacement is not held centrally. A Unit does not stipulate why it is demanding track or part of a track, which might be requested to be either fitted to a vehicle or for stock. A full set of Challenger 2 track is made up of 160 links and is accounted for/stored in sections of five links joined together, called a wrap. A Unit can demand a full vehicle set or a single wrap if it requires only spare links.

There are currently 95 spare tracks available in storage.

Cyprus: Military Bases

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 1 February 2008, Official Report, column 1490W, on Cyprus: military bases, how many individuals were (a) charged with and (b) convicted of poaching under the Protection and Management of Game and Wild Birds Ordinance 2004 in each of the last three years. [190933]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I will write to my right hon. Friend.

Defence Equipment and Support: Recruitment

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what level of commercial experience is required of candidates for each grade of post at the Defence, Equipment and Support headquarters at Abbeywood. [191532]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 4 March 2008]: The level of commercial experience required by candidates will depend on the specific requirements of the job.

5 Mar 2008 : Column 2555W

Departmental Cost Effectiveness

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the savings target is for each top level budget holder in his Department in 2007-08. [190716]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Under the spending review 2004 efficiency programme, the MOD is required to achieve £2.83 billion of cumulative input and output efficiency savings by the end of 2007-08. We are on course to overachieve against this target.

These savings are delivered by departmental change programmes and by implementing the force capability changes set out in ‘Delivering Securities in a Changing World: Future Capabilities’, published in July 2004, rather than by targets on Top Level Budget (TLB) holders. Further details can be found in the MOD Efficiency Technical Note which is available online at:

As part of the 2007 Financial Planning Round, further efficiency savings targets for 2007-08 were agreed with individual TLB holders as follows:

TLB Saving (£000)



Land Forces


Air Command


Central TLB


Defence Estates






Efficiency savings across the Department are reinvested to fund high priority areas of expenditure, such as support to operations and our personnel, including through sustained investment in accommodation.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made in its zero-based budget review under the Comprehensive Spending Review. [191491]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The MOD completed its zero-based budget review as part of the comprehensive spending review 2007, the outcome of which was announced in July 2007.

Departmental Data Protection

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to protect the security of personal data held by his Department, with particular reference to interference by militant extremists; and if he will make a statement. [190450]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Ministry of Defence regulations require that personal data are protected in accordance with legal statute and the Government’s own internal security guidance. The Ministry of Defence is fully engaged in the Cabinet Office led Data Handling Review and we have confirmed to Robert Hannigan’s team our committed to meeting the implementation dates he has set. In addition, I have also invited Sir Edmund Burton, Chairman of the Information Assurance Advisory Council,
5 Mar 2008 : Column 2556W
to examine the adequacy of the measures taken to protect personal data held by the MOD. Depending on his findings, I will consider what further measures may be required.

Departmental Databases

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what databases are (a) owned and (b) maintained by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [185418]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Empty Property

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the (a) cost to the public purse and (b) total value of the empty properties owned by (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies and other public bodies for which he has responsibility in the last 12 months. [190638]

Derek Twigg: Details of all properties that have been empty for all or part of the last 12 months and their associated costs are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The MOD only assesses the sale value of properties when they come forward for disposal.

Departmental Freedom of Information

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Newark (Patrick Mercer) of 5 February 2008, Official Report, column 964, on departmental Freedom of Information (FOI), if he will give a breakdown of all identifiable sources of the FOI requests received by his Department. [190949]

Derek Twigg: Freedom of Information (FOI) requests received by the Ministry of Defence are broken down by source as follows:

However, it is not necessary for a person making a request under the Freedom of Information Act to declare their occupation or background.

Departmental Homeworking

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people in his Department have been authorised to work from home in the last 12 months. [189785]

Derek Twigg: 169 civilian staff are recorded on the Department's central system (HRMS) as home workers. It is possible that under historic reporting
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arrangements there may be significantly more whose home working is not recorded centrally. 44 new formal home working arrangements were approved in the year from February 2007 to January 2008. Staff may also work from home on an occasional basis, but such arrangements are not recorded centrally.

Departmental Pay

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the salary range is for each pay band of civil servants in his Department. [188802]

Derek Twigg: The salary range for each pay band of civil servants in the Ministry of Defence is shown in the following table:

Pay Band Minimum Maximum































Skill Zone 1



Skill Zone 2



Skill Zone 3



Skill Zone 4



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