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21 Apr 2008 : Column 1651W—continued

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officials from his Department retired under the voluntary early redundancy scheme
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on 31 March 2008; what proportion of them were not paid their redundancy payment; and for what reason; when he expects (a) lump sum payments and (b) confirmation of pension payments to be made to those people; whether those people will be entitled to compensation in consequence of the time taken to (i) confirm arrangements and (ii) pay the lump sum; and if he will make a statement. [199541]

Derek Twigg: 563 civilian staff left the Ministry of Defence under the early release scheme with a last day of service of 31 March 2008. Of those, authorisation of payment of lump sum had not been made for 194, primarily because of the unusually high number of leavers on the same day.

All final notification of awards is expected to be complete by 18 April, making it possible for all awards to be made by the end of April. If payments cannot be made until more than one month after departure, we do consider the case for ex-gratia compensation, depending on the circumstances of a specific case.

Departmental Pay

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 1 April 2008, Official Report, columns 734-35W, what paid leave entitlements apply to casual staff in his Department. [199667]

Derek Twigg: Casual staff receive the same paid leave entitlements as permanent staff. Entitlement is based on length of qualifying service which is currently set at 25 days on entry but may be increased to 30 days if previous reckonable service has occurred with a recognised public body. In addition all staff receive public and privilege holidays which total 10.5 days. Both are pro rata if they are part-time.

Departmental Sick Leave

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many days sick leave were taken on average by staff in his Department in each of the last five years. [198952]

Derek Twigg: The following table displays average working days lost for MOD civilian personnel(1) per calendar year 2003 to 2007.

Average working days lost per calendar year
Non-industrial Industrial Total





















(1) This includes all permanent and casual non-industrial and industrial civilian personnel, but excludes Trading Fund (except 31 December 2007 figure), Locally Engaged Civilian and Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel.
(2) Figures from 2005 onwards are calculated using the Cabinet Office definition of Working Days. Figures prior to this are calculated using the Standardised definition.
(3) Total includes Trading Fund personnel, due to a change in definition. Industrial and non-industrial totals may differ from previously published figures for 2007 due to this change in definition.

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Departmental Sustainable Development

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department is on course to meet sustainable operations on the Government estate targets (a) to source at least 10 per cent. of its electricity from renewables by 31 March 2008 and (b) to increase recycling figures to 40 per cent. of waste by 2010. [198037]

Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is committed to working to meet the UK Government sustainable operations on the Government estate targets. For the target to source at least 10 per cent. of its electricity from renewable sources, it was agreed that given the very large scale of the MOD estate the MOD should achieve this target by 2010, rather than by 31 March 2008. The latest available data show that, in 2006-07, 8.8 per cent. of electricity procured by MOD through centrally let contracts was sourced from renewable sources.

In 2006-07, the MOD achieved around a 37 per cent. recycling rate. We will continue to reduce waste and are committed to recovering and recycling more commercial and industrial waste than we send to landfill by 2012 on the way towards becoming a zero-waste to landfill organisation by 2020.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether his Department has adopted the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Management Programme or plans to do so in the next 12 months; [198038]

(2) whether his Department met the target in the Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate to reverse the upward trend in carbon emissions by April 2007. [198039]

Derek Twigg: At the time of the launch of the Sustainable Operations on the Government Estates (SOGE) targets in June 2006, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) had already achieved reductions in CO2 emissions from its estate. This trend has continued for the financial year 2006-07 with the MOD achieving an 8 per cent. reduction in CO2 emissions from the MOD Estate against a 1999-2000 baseline (adjusted in March 2008).

MOD continues to work with the Carbon Trust to trial the Carbon Management Programme on the Office Estate and this will inform adoption elsewhere within the Department. As part of this work MOD is developing the strategy necessary to ensure the carbon neutrality of the Office Estate and Top Level Budget Holders’ Headquarters by 2012.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department is working towards an accredited certified environmental management system (a) for its whole estate and (b) in some of its buildings. [198040]

Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Top Level Budget Holders (TLBs) and Trading Fund Agencies (TFAs) are responsible for developing Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) suitable for their different functions and estates. All of these EMSs must be based on ISO 14001 standards.
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TLBs/TFAs are empowered to decide whether ISO 14001 accreditation is appropriate for their organisation.

Departmental Telephone Services

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) 0800, (b) 0845 and (c) 0870 telephone numbers for the public are in use by (i) his Department and (ii) agencies which report to his Department. [200124]

Derek Twigg: The use of 0800, 0845 or 0870 numbers in the Department and its agencies is determined at local level in accordance with individual business requirements and ordered directly from the supplier. Records of these numbers are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Video Conferencing

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set a target to increase the use of video-conferencing by his Department to reduce the need to travel to meetings. [195885]

Derek Twigg: The MOD makes good use of video conferencing and continues to refresh the existing video conferencing facilities which have been in use for many years. No targets have been set to increase the use of video conferencing, however, we are determined to reduce the cost of travel and we have put in place the Defence Travel Modernisation programme which is designed to reduce the cost of travel to the Department but, in addition, to enable better management oversight of travel patterns and so manage the need to travel. Areas under consideration include facilities to support remote working where savings of some £10 million are expected over the next five years.

EC Defence Policy

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the remit of the EU Contributors' Committee is; upon what authority it is established; who the chair is; which countries are represented on the committee; what role the European Commission has in the committee; and if he will make a statement. [198796]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: A Committee of Contributors is set up in advance of each ESDP operation. It plays a key role as the main forum for contributing nations collectively to discuss all problems relating to the day-to-day management of the operation. The principle of the Committee of Contributors and its role were agreed at the European Council at Nice in 2000.

Each Committee of Contributors is usually chaired by a representative of the Secretary-General/High Representative or the presidency, assisted by the chairman of the Military Committee of his Deputy.

All EU member states are entitled to be present at the Committee's discussions irrespective of whether or not they are taking part in the operation, but only contributing states will take part in the day-to-day management of the operation. Non EU European allies and other countries deploying significant military
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forces under an EU-led operation will have the same rights and obligations in terms of day-to-day management of the operation as EU member states taking part in the operation, including sitting on the Committee of Contributors for that mission.

Representatives of the Commission and other stakeholders may be invited for relevant parts of the Committee's discussion, as appropriate.

Electronic Government

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether mechanisms are in place to monitor the extent to which his Department's (a) internal and (b) external (i) correspondence and (ii) distribution of publications is carried out electronically. [199196]

Derek Twigg: There are currently no mechanisms within the MOD to monitor the amount or extent of electronically published material or correspondence. It is MOD policy to reduce the dependency and the amount of paper used within the Department and the significant majority of the Department's manuals and guidance documents are now available in electronic format. Staff are encouraged to use email internally and when appropriate for any external correspondence. Likewise, publication directly to the MOD's website ( is encouraged.

Gurkha Welfare Trust: Finance

John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department contributed to the Gurkha Welfare Trust in each of the last three years; what evaluation he has carried out of the Trust’s work; and what plans he has for future funding. [198337]

Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence supports the work of the Gurkha Welfare Trust through the provision of an annual grant in aid. In the last three years this has amounted to:

Financial year £







(1) A carry over of funds from the previous year meant that less money than originally budgeted was required by the trust in 2006-07

This money contributes to the administrative costs of the trust’s Gurkha Welfare Scheme in Nepal and enables the MOD to fulfil its obligations to pay pensions and deal with welfare issues for serving soldiers in the more remote regions of Nepal.

The Gurkha Welfare Trust is a registered charity, independent of the Ministry of Defence. It only formally reports to the Ministry of Defence on the expenditure of the grant. However, it is the Department’s view that the trust, through its field arm, the Gurkha Welfare Scheme, conducts invaluable work in Nepal, including the payment of welfare pensions to the Gurkha ex-servicemen and widows who do not qualify for a service pension. It provides, free of charge, even in the most remote areas of Nepal where ex-servicemen live, primary health care including doctors’ clinics. In addition it provides secondary health care free for all those not in receipt of a service
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pension and subsidised by 70 per cent. for those who do have a pension. It is involved in delivering community aid including bridge building, drinking water projects and building schools, which benefits not only the ex-service community but the infrastructure of the country as a whole in the brigade’s traditional recruiting areas in the foothills of Nepal.

The grant in aid is provided by the Department under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding. The terms of the arrangement are reviewed every five years.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many troops deployed to Iraq (a) were entitled to operational allowance and (b) received operational allowance in each year since its inception. [184310]

Derek Twigg: All Service personnel deployed to Iraq are entitled to receive the operational allowance, which can be paid for a deployment of one day or more.

Providing details of those personnel who have received the operational allowance specifically for deployment to Iraq and by year is not held, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the mission statement is for British troops in Iraq. [196615]

Des Browne: The mission of UK forces in southern Iraq is to support the government of Iraq and their security forces so that they can take responsibility for ensuring security without coalition assistance and create the conditions for economic and political development. This involves monitoring, mentoring and training the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and providing support to ISF-led operations when requested. UK forces also undertake a range of force protection and logistic duties in support of the multi-national force's mission.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Territorial Army and Reservist personnel who have been deployed on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have not undertaken Operational Training and Assessment Group training. [198835]

Des Browne: Territorial Army or Reservist personnel deploying to either Iraq or Afghanistan, or visiting either theatre for six days or more, must have completed Operational Training and Assessment Group (OPTAG) training prior to deployment. Those personnel who are visiting these theatres for a period of five days or less are not required to complete the full OPTAG training package but must, as a minimum, have viewed a training DVD and received a briefing upon deployment. All Territorial Army and Reservist personnel who have been deployed on operations in Iraq or Afghanistan have undertaken the mandated pre-deployment training.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many returnees from (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan have been unable to take post-operational
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tour leave in accordance with the terms set out in the Army Leave Manual 2000 in each year since 2001. [199065]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost, but the inability to take post operational leave should only occur in exceptional circumstances.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether leave for troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan is counted from the time that a person (a) leaves for the airhead, (b) arrives at the airhead, (c) arrives in the UK or (d) arrives home. [199067]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Service personnel deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan may be granted ‘Rest and Recuperation’ (R and R) on the authority of the in-theatre operational commander. This is in addition to annual leave.

The maximum permissible period for each instance of R and R is 14 nights, inclusive of travelling time. As such, R and R is counted from the time that the individual leaves for the airhead. While the policy on R and R states that it would normally be taken in or as close to theatre as possible, in practice R and R is most commonly taken at home.

In addition, service personnel receive post operational leave (POL). The qualifying period for POL commences from the day that service personnel leave their permanent duty station and continues until the day they return to it.

POL, which is also in addition to annual leave, should commence as soon as possible after service personnel arrive home from the qualifying deployment. The journey home is considered as part of the deployment and not as part of POL.

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he issues posthumous medals for service personnel who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan while showing courage above and beyond the course of duty. [199262]

Derek Twigg: Service in Iraq and Afghanistan is recognised by the award of the Iraq Medal and the Operational Service Medal ‘Afghanistan’ respectively. The medals are awarded early when a serviceman or woman leaves the operational theatre in the event of wounding or death, regardless of how long they have served there. This policy applies to any operational theatre for which a campaign medal is issued.

The full range of gallantry and meritorious service awards are also available for those serving on operations and may be awarded posthumously to those killed whilst deployed. Such awards include the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, the Military Cross and the George Medal. A number of these have been awarded posthumously to individuals who had died in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the ultimate British Military award, the Victoria Cross. By such means we ensure that individuals' distinguished actions, courage and bravery are honoured by the nation.

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