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5 Mar 2008 : Column 2562W—continued

Figures for Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) operated airframes prior to financial year 2003-04 are not available because the system used to capture and store this data was not introduced until 2003.

Cannibalisation is an accepted short-term measure employed by the armed forces around the world to ensure maximum numbers of equipment are available. It is often the only course of action where replacement items cannot be sourced in the required timeframe.

The figures shown in the table refer to individual instances of cannibalisation and not the number of aircraft involved. All instances of cannibalisation are authorised and undertaken in accordance with clearly defined regulations. The term ‘cannibalisation’ can refer to the removal of single or small numbers of components, of any size. It does not necessarily refer to the wholesale utilisation of capital components or airframes.

Military Bases: Devonport

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his plans for Devonport Naval Base are over the next 10 years. [190164]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 28 February 2008]: The Naval Base Review considered the future of all three Naval Bases, including Devonport, and concluded that the most effective means of supporting the Royal Navy is to retain and optimise the three Bases.

A number of maritime change programmes are currently in progress that will have an impact on all three Bases. These include work resulting from the Naval Base Review decision, changes to equipment and platform support arrangements and our evolving strategic partnership with industry. Each is designed to ensure that waterfront activity is delivered in an efficient and sustainable manner.

Peacekeeping Operations

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many contacts there were between British forces and anti-coalition militia in each month since October 2006. [190717]

Des Browne: For Operation Herrick, Afghanistan, I have nothing to add to my answer of today.

For Operation Telic, Iraq the number of recorded attacks on coalition forces in Multi-National Division (South East) per month since October 2006 is as follows:

Number of c ontacts






































It is not possible, except at disproportionate cost, separately to identify attacks exclusively involving British Forces.

These figures are an estimate, not least because of the difficulties in ensuring a consistent interpretation of the basis for collating statistics in a complex fast-moving multinational operation environment.

QinetiQ: Land

Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the value of land disposals by Qinetiq has been in each of the last three years. [190421]

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Des Browne: When QinetiQ was vested as a company in 2001, it was required to purchase its assets from the Government. Consequently, the receipts from the sale of land go directly to the company and, therefore, the details of disposals are a matter for them.

However, claw-back arrangements are in place to ensure that the taxpayer benefits directly from any substantial subsequent increase in value of the land once sold. I also refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) on 27 February 2008, Official Report, column 1577W.

Royal Naval Hospital Haslar: Operating Costs

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the operating costs of Royal hospital Haslar were in each of the last five years. [190635]

Derek Twigg: The Royal hospital Haslar has been administered since 2001 under a partnering arrangement with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT). It currently provides a limited range of clinical facilities, predominantly for NHS civilian patients. It also continues to provide training and experience for well over 100 military doctors and nurses. Operating costs falling to the MOD include certain staff costs, utilities, estate maintenance and works, equipment, services provided under contract, and medical supplies. MOD gross costs were as follows:

Financial year £ million











1. The costs of PHT civilian staff employed on the site and other costs incurred directly by PHT are not included.
2. Military personnel costs are not included. Many military personnel employed at Haslar also have duties elsewhere and their costs are not readily disaggregated.
3. PHT makes a financial contribution towards meeting the MOD's costs, in acknowledgement of the support provided towards meeting its own outputs.
4. Costs are final outturn figures, except for 2007-08, which is a forecast. During the current year many MOD civilian staff are being progressively transferred to PHT, with a corresponding transfer of responsibility for costs.

Surface Ship Support Alliance

Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the role of the Surface Ship Support Alliance. [190837]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 29 February 2008]: The Surface Ship Support (SSS) Project is part of the wider Maritime Change Programme (MCP) that aims to deliver an affordable and sustainable maritime enterprise, and is an important element of the Defence Industrial Strategy.

The SSS Project is currently exploring a wide range of support options to deliver sustainable, efficient and affordable support to legacy complex warships. One of these is the formation of an alliance between the MOD and the two major surface ship support contractors (Babcock Marine and Fleet Support Limited). While this approach is currently the leading option, no final decisions have yet been taken.

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Under the alliance approach, several batches of upkeep packages have already been successfully agreed by MOD and industry. By giving industry visibility of future plans, it is able to plan ahead and adapt their capabilities to meet future requirements.


Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of who and what the Taliban are. [191410]

Des Browne: The Taliban remains a collection of predominantly Pushtun groups and individuals, motivated by a number of different factors, including extreme ideologies, tribal sympathies and personal ambitions.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Admiralty House

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2008, Official Report, columns 1158-9W, on Admiralty House, (1) what minor works were undertaken; [189572]

(2) what the cost was to the public purse of the minor works. [189588]

Meg Munn: In line with normal procedure a one-off deep clean of the property was undertaken at change over of tenants. This included cleaning of lights, curtains, nets and windows, at a cost of £3,319.67, including value added tax (VAT).

A pelmet, tracking and curtains for one window was supplied and installed at a cost of £1,030.16, including VAT.

Two bedrooms, an adjacent corridor and one bathroom were repainted and a washer dryer, a tumble dryer, fridge freezer and mixer taps were supplied and installed. The cost of these works and equipment was £9,322.92, including VAT.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government plans to take to encourage the international community to support the ban of cluster munitions. [191469]

Dr. Howells: In his Guildhall speech on 12 November 2007, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister stated the Government were working

We will continue our efforts both in the Oslo Process and in the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), which includes users and producers of cluster munitions who have remained outside the Oslo Process, to ensure that the humanitarian objective we and many others share is fulfilled. The next CCW
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meeting will take place in Geneva from 7-11 April and the next Oslo Process meeting will take place in Dublin from 19-30 May.

British Overseas Territories: Administration of Justice

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what competence the Government has in respect of (a) the appointment, (b) the suspension and (c) the dismissal of any chief justice in an overseas territory; and if he will make a statement. [186460]

Meg Munn [holding answer 27 February 2008]: All British Overseas Territories except Anguilla, Montserrat, the Virgin Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the British Antarctic Territory and the Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) have their own Chief Justice. Anguilla, Montserrat and the Virgin Islands are under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, which has a Chief Justice. Cases from South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the British Antarctic Territory are heard by the Chief Justice of the Falkland Islands, and in the SBAs Senior Judges are appointed when required.

In most Territories which have their own Chief Justice, the appointment is the responsibility of the Governor, acting on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen in right of the Territory. In a few Territories, e.g. St. Helena and the Falkland Islands, the Chief Justice is appointed by the Governor acting on instructions given by Her Majesty The Queen in right of the Territory through a Secretary of State. This, in practice, means the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

In general, suspension and dismissal of the Chief Justice in those Territories which have one is the responsibility of the Governor of the Territory, acting as Her Majesty The Queen’s representative in right of the Territory.

British Virgin Islands

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State plans to visit the British Virgin Islands. [191817]

Meg Munn: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to him on 28 February 2008, Official Report, column 1812W.

Canada: Diplomatic Service

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) diplomatic and (b) commercial staff were employed in the British High Commission in Ottawa in each of the last five years. [190532]

Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Management Information system only goes back to 2005. Figures prior to this date are not available without incurring disproportionate cost. It is not possible to breakdown the numbers by category of employment. Staff numbers fluctuate due to officers
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leaving and arriving at post. There are no UK-based commercial staff in Ottawa.

Staff numbers are shown as follows.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost of maintaining the British High Commission in Ottawa was in the most recent year for which figures are available. [190533]

Dr. Howells: The cost of maintaining our High Commission in Ottawa in the financial year 2006-07 was as follows:

The cost of maintaining our High Commission in Ottawa in the financial year 2007-08 is as follows:

All utility costs stand at approximately £123,000 for the office building, High Commissioner’s Residence and staff properties.

Caribbean: Royal Visits

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department negotiated the hire of the Leander for use by HRH Prince of Wales during his visit in March 2008 to the Caribbean; and if he will make a statement. [190629]

Meg Munn: The Department for Transport has overall responsibility for the funding of official travel for members of The Royal Family. This is administered by The Royal Travel Office in Her Majesty The Queen’s Household.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what official gifts HRH Prince of Wales will be presenting during his official visit to Caribbean countries in March 2008; and whether the cost of such gifts is to be met from public funds. [190733]

Meg Munn: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will present official gifts to the hosts and those who are playing a significant part in the organisation of the visit. The nature of these gifts will follow long-standing precedents, but it would be inappropriate to specify them before their presentation to recipients. The cost of official gifts will be met from official funds.

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