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Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received from the Royal British Legion on the operation of the military covenant; what response he has made; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence has held regular discussions with the Royal British Legion (RBL) since the launch of its "Honour the Covenant" campaign in September 2007, covering a wide range of issues affecting the nation's responsibilities to its armed forces. Since 1997, the RBL accepts the Government have made a number of improvements but would like to see more done. The Government have taken a number of important steps to ensure that the nation meets its responsibilities towards its armed forces, veterans and their families, including improvements to compensation, healthcare, accommodation, and welfare support. The forthcoming Cross-Government Command Paper will review the current position and set out such further improvements as may be appropriate. The RBL is a member of the External Reference Group for the Command Paper.
Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British service personnel were serving in (a) Iraq, (b) Afghanistan, (c) the United Kingdom and (d) elsewhere at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 17 March 2008]: The following table shows the number of UK Service personnel deployed on operations by location at 10 March 2008. The number of personnel in theatre will naturally fluctuate on a daily basis for a variety of reasons, including leave (rest and recuperation), temporary absence for training, evacuation for medical reasons, the roulement of forces and other factors.
|Number of personnel deployed by location( 1)|
|(1) Countries with 10 or more personnel are shown separately. Other countries with fewer than 10 personnel per country include Georgia, Nepal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia. Figures for the number of UK regular forces stationed in locations worldwide can be found in Tri-Service Publication 10 (TSP10) copies of which are available in the Library of the House; the latest available data are at 1 April 2007 and can also be found at: http://www.dasa.mod.uk/publications/tsp10/tsp10execsum.html|
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to ensure that British armed forces will not come under the command of (a) the European Union and (b) other European states' armed forces; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth:
The decision to launch any EU military operation can be taken only by unanimity among member states. Whether to contribute British
forces to any operation is a voluntary decision for the UK Government to take case by case.
Any British forces contributing to an EU operation are likely, depending on the arrangements made for it, to come under the operational control of the Military Operation Commander, who may be a national of any EU member state and who would be chosen by the Council of Ministers of the European Union acting unanimously. The Lisbon Treaty will not change this position.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service family accommodation properties in England and Wales were identified as awaiting disposal or demolition in each year since 2002; and how much rent was paid to Annington Homes for those properties in each year. 
Derek Twigg: The number of service family accommodation properties in England and Wales that have been identified for disposal or demolition, together with the rent paid for them to Annington Homes Ltd (AHL), in each year since 2002 is shown in the following table:
|Financial year||Non-AHL disposals||AHL disposal||Demolition||Rent paid to AHL (£ million)|
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2008, Official Report, column 2550W, on armed forces: housing, what proportion of single living accommodation in each of the named countries is used only during operational deployment. 
Derek Twigg: With the exception of the 6,119 single living accommodation (SLA) bed-spaces in the Falkland and Ascension Islands that are all used as accommodation for Service personnel on operational deployment, the Department does not count bed-spaces used in operational theatre and therefore were not included in my answer of 5 March 2008, Official Report, column 2550W.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what additional funding has been allocated in 2008 to improve military personnel accommodation in Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many (a) British service members and (b) non-British service members, of each nationality, he expects to participate in Exercise Druids Dance; and (i) when and (ii) where the exercise is expected to take place; 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Exercise Druids Dance is the generic name given to each of a series of eight All Arms Battle Group collective training exercises which take place annually on the Salisbury plain training area.
The number of military personnel involved per exercise will vary depending on the Armys force generation requirements. Information on the number of British service members and non-British service members, broken down by nationality, is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
I understand that the hon. Member is interested in one particular Druids Dance exercise, which is due to take place between 28 April and 18 May this year and will serve a number of purposes including preparation for the contingency role of the European Union Battlegroup; 490 British and 70 Foreign and Commonwealth members of the British Army will be participating in this exercise.
It is estimated that the cost of this specific exercise will be £1,770,239, of which, £1,752,628 is met from the Land Forces Top Level Budget and £17,611 is met from the Defence Equipment and Support Top Level Budget.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Territorial Army personnel routinely take part in Regular Army exercises in order to practice for their operational role and prepare for mobilisation. Closer integration between the Regular Army and TA is actively encouraged and an official pairing mechanism has been established between Regular and TA units to reinforce this. The specific information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's total expenditure was on messing and food allowance, as listed in his Department's resource account code hierarchy, in near cash terms, in each financial year since 2000-01. 
|Financial year||Messing and food allowance (£ million)|
Near cash expenditure is not separately identified in the final resource accounts or the centrally held supporting records. Total resource costs have therefore been provided; however it is unlikely that there are any non cash costs attributed to the expenditure items which would result in the near cash expenditure being different from the resource expenditure.
The expenditure in 2006-07 is not available as a geographic allowance as it is currently included within the statistics, which in previous financial years was mapped to a different RAC. This is being reviewed.
Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence agrees targets for receipts in respect of the disposal of land and buildings with HM Treasury as part of the periodic spending reviews. Spending budgets in each financial year are agreed and set accordingly.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Other than the cases already in the public domain, as a result of the recent data loss, the information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate costs.
Derek Twigg: The amount of resource (in cash terms) consumed as a proportion of the total yearly near cash outturn of the MOD since 2001-02 is set out in the following table. A proportion of personnel costs (for example some operational allowances) are recovered from the Treasury Reserve.
|Financial year||MOD personnel expenditure as percentage of departmental near cash outturn|
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