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27 Mar 2008 : Column 340W—continued


27 Mar 2008 : Column 341W

Tourism: Yorkshire and Humberside

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what initiatives his Department has to promote Yorkshire to international visitors. [196720]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 25 March 2008]: My Department has provided VisitBritain with funding of £49.9 million in 2007-08 to promote Britain as a whole as an attractive place to visit. Destinations and attractions in Yorkshire are included within VisitBritain’s themed campaigns and are also featured on VisitBritain’s websites, which contain detailed destination guides.

The Department’s funding agreement with VisitBritain requires them to achieve a specified proportion of additional expenditure by inbound visitors outside London. For 2005-06, the target was 55 per cent., and VisitBritain achieved 61 per cent. For 2006-07, the target was 54 per cent. and VisitBritain achieved 57 per cent.

VisitBritain: Finance

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the return on investment of spending by (a) VisitBritain and (b) VisitEngland in (i) 2005-06 and (ii) 2006-07. [195038]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 18 March 2008]: VisitBritain's method of calculating the return on its marketing investments was considered and approved by the National Audit Office in 2004. Since then, VisitBritain has moved increasingly from print-based promotion of the tourist industry to electronic marketing. This meant that new ways of measuring the return on investment were necessary, as the old methodology had begun to produce unrealistic results by 2005-06. With the agreement of DCMS, VisitBritain brought in new methodology for the start of 2006-07.

VisitBritain's performance against its Funding Agreement targets was as follows:

International marketing of Britain
Target Achieved Estimated tourist expenditure generated (£ billion)

2005-06

30:1

54:1

1.906

2006-07

30:1

31:1

1.095


Domestic England marketing within Britain (advised by VisitEngland)
Target Achieved Expenditure generated (£ million)

2005-06

12:1

20:1

243.2

2006-07

13:1

17:1

225.3


England marketing in established European markets (advised by VisitEngland)
Target Achieved Expenditure generated (£ million)

2005-06

15:1

32:1

32.3

2006-07

30:1

19:1

19.4


27 Mar 2008 : Column 342W

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by whom each soldier killed during the 1st Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment/2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment’s recent operational tour in Helmand Province was replaced in the order of battle. [175622]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I will write to the hon. Member.

Substantive answer from Bob Ainsworth to Patrick Mercer:

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what reports he has received on the incident involving the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan police in Lashkar Gah on 20th March 2008, which is being investigated by Royal Military Police. [197113]

Des Browne [holding answer 26 March 2008]: I have received an initial report regarding this incident, which is currently subject to investigation. It would be inappropriate to comment further while the investigation is continuing.

Aircraft Carriers

Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of security scenario planning in which the proposed aircraft carriers were deemed to be an essential part of the UK's response; and if he will make a statement. [195435]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Future Carrier, as an integral part of the Carrier Strike capability, contributes to a number of planning scenarios, the details of which I am withholding as their release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the defence of the United Kingdom. The 2004 “Future Capabilities” White Paper noted that aircraft carriers contribute to medium-scale intervention and large-scale operations, though they are a very flexible platform which also provides wider utility.


27 Mar 2008 : Column 343W

Armed Conflict: EC Action

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Treaty of Lisbon affects the UK’s capacity to take unilateral military action. [196349]

Des Browne: No. The provisions on the Common Security and Defence Policy in the Lisbon Treaty do not change the fundamental nature of the Common Foreign and Security Policy under the current Treaty on European Union (TEU). As under the TEU, individual member states will not be constrained from conducting their own foreign policy, including a decision to undertake unilateral military action.

Armed Forces: Deployment

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK personnel are deployed on operations, broken down by location. [196616]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: 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.

P ersonnel deployed by location( 1)
Location Number

Total

13,460

of which:

Afghanistan

7,600

Iraq

3,800

At Sea

710

Qatar

410

Cyprus

280

Kuwait

260

Oman

190

Kosovo

130

Bahrain

70

Bosnia

10

Other

30

(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.

Armed Forces: Postal Services

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many instances of mail lost in transit between military personnel and their families were recorded in each month of 2007. [196610]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The number of claims for compensation paid by the MOD for non-delivered and damaged mail for each month of 2007 was as follows:


27 Mar 2008 : Column 344W
Month Number of claims compensation paid

January

74

February

55

March

32

April

95

May

62

June

80

July

72

August

32

September

80

October

59

November

42

December

12


Armed Forces: Public Transport

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will bring forward proposals for a scheme to enable members of HM Armed Forces to travel free on public transport when wearing uniform. [195978]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: It would be inappropriate for the MOD to make any specific recommendations regarding free use of public transport for military personnel, as this is a matter for individual public transport providers.

However, the Government are currently examining the wider issue of the provision of services to our armed forces personnel under the Service Personnel Command Paper and the nation’s relationship with the armed forces under the National Recognition study carried out by my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham and Stamford’s (Mr. Davies).

Armed Forces: Vehicles

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) helicopters, (b) vehicles and (c) fixed-wing aircraft were lost under enemy fire in each year since 2003, broken down by model. [195379]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 19 March 2008]: One Lynx helicopter was lost to enemy fire in Iraq in 2006.

A total of three Hercules aircraft have been lost, one in Iraq in 2005, one in Afghanistan in 2006 and the third in Iraq in 2007.

One Harrier aircraft was lost in Afghanistan in 2005.

I am withholding detailed information regarding the numbers and types of land vehicles lost to enemy fire as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, security or effectiveness of the armed forces.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) where the initial request came from to supply additional Supercat M-WMIK vehicles; when that request became an order; and what function these future vehicles will perform; [195628]

(2) what the reasons are for the increased cost of the new Supercat M-WMIK order; [195630]

(3) how many Supercat M-WMIKs had been supplied prior to the current orders for 130 and 72; and at what unit price. [195631]


27 Mar 2008 : Column 345W

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Mobility Weapon Mount Installation Kit (M-WMIK) was identified as a solution in spring 2007, to meet a request from commanders in Afghanistan for an enhanced WMIK vehicle to complement the Land Rover based WMIK fleet. The M-WMIK will provide mobility for battle group support weapons and offers high levels of agility coupled with considerable firepower. The initial contract was signed in July 2007.

I am not aware of increased costs; this is the first time we have procured the M-WMIK vehicle. Some specialist users possess vehicles based on the same Supacat chassis, but the costs of these were broadly similar.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent modifications have been made to the main armament of the Challenger II tank for training purposes. [196607]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There have been no recent modifications to the main armament of Challenger 2 (CR2). In June 2006, however, we brought into service a new Live Fire Crew Training System to provide realistic CR2 crew training using a removable barrel insert and smaller calibre rounds.

Army: Manpower

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the required strength of army officers is in each of the categories (a) 1/(D), (b) 1, (c) 2, (d) 3, (e) 4, (f) 5 and (g) 6 to 9. [195629]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The categories referred to are the NATO categorisations used to identify equivalent ranks across the armed forces. The current permanent liability (required strength) for Regular Army officers, for each category is split between direct entry officers, i.e. those who join the Army as officers, and late entry officers, who are promoted from the non-commissioned ranks:

NATO rank Army rank Direct entry Late entry

OF7+

Major General to General

64

OF6

Brigadier

174

OF5

Colonel

535

OF4

Lieutenant Colonel

1,664

79

OF3

Major

3,375

909

OF2

Captain

3,331

1,569

OF1

Second Lieutenant and Lieutenant

1,777

0

OF1 (Des)

(1)660

(1)OF1 (Des) are officers under training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

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