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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Written Ministerial Statement of 12 March 2008, Official Report, column 18WS, on
the Contingencies Fund, what the unforeseen pension pressures in 2007-08 are. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 26 March 2007]: The 2007-08 spring supplementary estimate for the armed forces pension scheme sought an increase in the net cash requirement of £150 million for the 2007-08 financial year due in the main to higher levels of terminal pension payments (lump sums and early departure) than had been anticipated at the time of production of the main estimate.
I also refer the hon. Member to the answer given in another place by my right hon. Friend, the Minister for Defence Equipment and Support on 31 March 2008, Official Report, House of Lords, column WA128.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will put in place mechanisms by which Defence Equipment and Support will be required to report on its annual expenditure and activities to the House. 
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) departmental officials and (b) officers of the armed services notified his Department that they intended to work for (i) British Aerospace, (ii) British Airways, (iii) BP, (iv) Shell, (v) Rolls Royce, (vi) HSBC, (vii) Standard Chartered, (viii) RBS, (ix) HBOS, (x) Barclays and (xi) another company on leaving their post in each of the last five years. 
Derek Twigg: Applications to take up appointments with the named companies received in each of the years in question are set out in the table. Further information relating to other companies could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The figures provided relate specifically to those personnel who are required to notify the MOD of their intention to work for a specific company in accordance with departmental policy (The Business Appointment Rules).
|Category||BAe||BA||BP||Shell||Rolls Royce||HSBC||Standard Chartered||RBS||HBOS||Barclays|
In each of the last five years the Department received no formal notifications of intention to join any of the following companies; British Airways, BP, HSBC, Standard Chartered, RBS, HBOS or Barclays. All figures have been rounded to the nearest five to prevent unintended disclosure of personal information.
|Rank||Number of personnel|
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 28 February 2008, Official Report, column 2710W, on drinking water, how much his Department spent on provision of bottled water to his Departments main building in the latest year for which figures are available. 
Derek Twigg: As part of our commitment to the Sustainable Development agenda, since 1 October 2007, the PFI Contract for Main Building no longer supplies bottle water to the predominance of meetings, however bottled water may still be purchased for large conferences and private functions.
|Number of bottles||£ (approx.)|
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the development of the (a) security, (b) political and (c) economic situation in Basra province since December 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
Des Browne: I refer the hon. Members to the update I provided to the House on the security situation in Basra in my Statement on 1 April 2008, Official Report, columns 628-43. We continue to keep the security situation in Basra under close review following the transfer of Basra to Provincial Iraqi Control in December 2007 and in the light of recent developments. We and our coalition partners continue to provide support to the Iraqis in our overwatch role in accordance with our rules of engagement.
There has been encouraging political progress in Basra since December. For example, the supporting the Law Council, which represents all of Basras political leaders, signed an agreement in December 2007 committing them to support the rule of law and recognise the ISF as the sole guardians of security in Basra. This demonstrated a willingness on the part of all of Basras political parties to work together in a spirit of compromise and reconciliation. This commitment has been tested during recent events, but it is striking that Muqtada al-Sadr, in his statement of 30 March 2008, reaffirmed the importance of cooperation with the Government and the need to respect the rule of law.
The UK is also working with coalition partners and the Government of Iraq to promote private sector-led economic growth in Basra. Since December we have helped to launch a Basra Development Commission, which is bringing together Iraqi, regional and international business leaders to provide advice and guidance to the Provincial Council and promoting Basra as an investment location through a recent major investment conference in Kuwait. We are leading on an initiative to help set up the Basra Development Fund, to provide finance to small and medium sized enterprises, and to make progress on key projects such as the redevelopment of Basra International Airport and Umm Qasr port.
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