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18 Mar 2008 : Column 1044W—continued


Departmental Property

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many residential properties his Department owns; how many of these are vacant; and how many of these have been vacant for longer than (a) three, (b) six and (c) 12 months. [193000]

Derek Twigg: For the purpose of the answer, residential properties are considered to be Single Living Accommodation (SLA) and Service Families Accommodation (SFA). Although we do not centrally record that accommodation which is vacant, we do record that which is void (not in use for its intended purpose). Void stock includes accommodation being held for planned moves of Service Units, or awaiting planned upgrades, sale or release, modernisation or demolition.

It is not possible to identify from the information centrally held all accommodation that has been void for longer than three, six and 12 months respectively.

However, I can confirm that out of a total worldwide stock of 165,000 SLA bed-spaces and 71,000 SFA properties, the following were void at March 2007 and March 2008.


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As at March: SLA (bed spaces) SFA (properties)

2007

46,325

13,336

2008

34,293

12,240


In addition, I can confirm that out of the 49,000 SFA in Great Britain, the following properties have been void for the following periods:

Period Number of properties

Between three months and six months

1,631

Between six months and 12 months

1,975

Over 12 months

2,913


The Department recognises that the number of voids is unacceptably high and work is in hand to reduce it. The progress we are making is demonstrated by the reduction in void SLA and SFA between March 2007 and March 2008.

EU Defence Policy

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role the European Union military staff has in certifying EU battlegroups. [193872]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The certification of European Union (EU) battlegroups is a national responsibility of the contributing member states, who undertake this certification according to agreed procedures. The EU military staff registers all certification information provided by member states and keeps the EU Military Committee informed of the certification process.

EU Defence Policy: Training

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department is obliged to notify the European Union military staff of exercise rehearsal programmes for EU battlegroups. [193871]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: European Union (EU) member states contributing to EU battlegroups are required to notify the EU military staff of the details of the battlegroup certification exercise and other significant training events and exercises.

Gordon Foxley

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps have been taken to recover money from Gordon Foxley. [194152]

The Solicitor-General: I have been asked to reply.

Following Mr. Gordon Foxley's conviction on 3 November 1993 of 12 counts of corruption, a confiscation order was made against him in the sum of £1,503,901.80.

In May 1994, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) being the victim of the offences began civil proceedings against Mr. Foxley, his family members, the foreign arms companies and a company with which Mr. Foxley was connected.

In February 1996, summary judgment was granted in favour of the MOD as against Mr. Foxley and his son, Paul Foxley, and both were made bankrupt.
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Between July 1996 and September 1997, the MOD settled their claims against the foreign arms companies.

Notwithstanding Mr. Foxley's successful application to strike out Crown Prosecution Service and MOD proceedings to enforce the confiscation and bankruptcy orders, substantial recoveries have been made in respect of Mr. Foxley's offending. The settlements reached with the foreign arms companies amounted to £3,390,371. In addition, other sums of money have been recovered from various Foxley family sources amounting to about £800,000.00. This sum includes Mr. Foxley's share in the matrimonial home.

HMS Southampton: Deployment

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future deployment of (a) HMS Southampton and (b) HMS Exeter; and if he will make a statement. [194221]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I have nothing to add to the answer I gave on 5 March 2008, Official Report, column 2557, to the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox).

Iraq: Ammunition

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of ammunition supplies for British forces in (a) Basra and (b) Helmand province. [193361]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Ammunition stocks for British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are assessed on a weekly basis and supplies are currently sufficient to meet the requirements in both theatres.

Iraq: Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Mastiffs were in service in southern Iraq in each year since 2003. [193365]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: As the Prime Minister announced in his statement to the House on 8 October 2007, Official Report, column 24, the Ministry of Defence has ordered a further 140 Mastiff patrol vehicles in addition to the 100 previously bought and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. I am withholding precise details of the numbers deployed to Iraq as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces who (a) are awaiting deployment and (b) have been deployed to active service have not been supplied with the Mk 6a ballistic helmet; and if he will make a statement. [191468]

Des Browne [holding answer 4 March 2008]: Members of the UK armed forces are routinely issued with Mk 6A helmets prior to deployment to an operational theatre where the threat level requires enhanced ballistic protection: this includes both Iraq
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and Afghanistan. Sufficient additional stocks of Mk 6A helmets also exist in these operational theatres so that any individuals who have not previously been issued with this helmet can receive one on arrival.

Our records do not show any instances where personnel were not supplied with the Mk 6A helmet when the operational circumstances required that they should have received one.

ISAF: Command and Control

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the latest unclassified International Security Assistance Force command and control structure. [193879]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There is no unclassified version of the International Security Assistance Force command and control structure; however an overview of the ISAF command structure, including the regional commands, is available on the ISAF website at:

National Recognition Study

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library responses to the National Recognition Study either in full or redacted to protect individuals' confidentiality. [194448]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 14 March 2008]: The report on the National Recognition Study is still being prepared for submission to the Prime Minister. Any decision on publication of the report will be taken thereafter.

Royal Regiment of Scotland: Manpower

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) inflow, (b) outflow and (c) voluntary outflow rate is of each battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. [193881]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: No information is held on Intake, Outflow and Voluntary Outflow information for each battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. The following figures are for the Scottish Division as a whole.

The following table shows the rates of Other Ranks inflow, outflow and the Voluntary Outflow from the Scottish Division of the Infantry during 1 April 2006 to 28 February 2007. The Total Trained Regular Army Other Ranks Voluntary Outflow rate for the same period is 6.8 per cent.

Scottish Division Financial Year 2006-07( 1) (percentage)

Intake

11.9

Outflow

17.8

Voluntary Outflow Rate

5.5

Notes: 1. The Financial Year 2006-07 is for an 11 month period from 1 April 2006 to 28 February 2007 due to the introduction of the Joint Personnel Administration system. 2. Intake, outflow and voluntary outflow rates are calculated based on the number of intakes and exits as a percentage of the average trained strength of all other ranks during the period. 3. The intake figures include re-enlistments and rejoined reservists.

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Officers are only allocated to a Regiment on Completion of their Commissioning Course at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS).

Wind Power: Planning

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to improve the quality and timeliness of his Department's input to the planning process for wind farm applications. [187691]

Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) already seeks to provide an effective and responsive service to wind farm developers, including a pre-planning consultation service to reduce ongoing costs. We keep our processes under regular review to ensure that we provide a high quality service to those who consult us and are currently reviewing our consultation processes and the level of resources available. These will include additional radar experts and increased manpower in other areas.

We are also considering how best to increase the use of information technology to make it easier for wind farm developers to consult the MOD.

MOD fully supports the Government's renewable energy targets and will continue to work with other Government Departments and key stakeholders to address strategic wind energy issues and our processes for considering wind farm proposals.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he intends to answer Question 168870, tabled by the hon. Member for North Devon on 22 November 2007, on service family accommodation. [194424]

Derek Twigg: I replied to the hon. Member today.

Culture, Media and Sport

Active Places Website

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who is responsible for compiling the data on the Active Places website; and how much the website cost to maintain in 2007-08. [194513]

Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 14 March 2008]: Sport England collects and publishes details of sports facilities in England on the Active Places database. The data are updated by two organisations: Landmark for grass pitches; and the Leisure Database Company for all other facilities on the database.

The budget for 2007-08 is £1.1 million which is being used to fund data maintenance, data acquisition, systems development and hosting.

Alcoholic Drinks: Licensing

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps the Government has taken to minimise the adverse effects of 24-hour drinking on businesses in Coventry city centre. [193344]


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Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 12 March 2008]: No concerns have been raised with me or my Department specifically about the impact of the licensing reform on businesses in Coventry city centre.

The first statistical bulletin on licences issued under the Licensing Act 2003 was published on 8 November 2007. This suggests that Coventry city licensing authority have granted a total of 814 premises licences of which 61 have 24 hour licences. Of these only five are pubs, bars or nightclubs.

Under the Licensing Act 2003, local businesses in the vicinity of a licensed premises or a body representing those businesses can ask for the licence to be reviewed if the premises is having a negative impact on one or more of the four licensing objectives.

Arts: North West

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with the North West Development Agency on support for creative industries in the north-west region. [194451]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 14 March 2008]: My Department has been in regular contact with the North West Development Agency in developing Creative Britain, our strategy for the creative industries.

A key commitment in Creative Britain is the development, by the North West Development Agency and the South West Regional Development Agency, of pilot regional creative economy strategic frameworks.

Big Lottery Fund

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether (a) the Big Lottery Fund and (b) Sport England has plans to introduce a mentoring scheme similar to that proposed by the Heritage Lottery Fund. [194744]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has issued policy directions to UK and England lottery distributors which set the broad framework within which they operate. Whether to offer a mentoring scheme is an operational matter which falls within the remit of individual distributors and is an issue for their consideration.


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