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For the purposes of MOD reporting, the definition used for the number of helicopters available for use is the number in the Forward Fleet. This figure excludes any aircraft undergoing programmed upgrades, major repair or awaiting disposal. The data provided on the number of qualified pilots, represent the number of pilots in flying roles who are both qualified and current to fly each type. Information on the number of current and qualified pilots who are occupying non-flying roles
is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Data for total and forward fleets are as at 1 May 2008.
|Number of engagements|
|(1 )Incomplete data. (2 )Forecast of planned engagements for the current year.|
Since 1996, the Royal Marines Band Service (RMBS) has had a requirement for 356 trained musicians and buglers, comprising 12 officers and 344 other ranks. The actual strength by gender as at 22 May 2008 is 259 males and 70 females. A breakdown of actual strength by year is not available.
Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will hold discussions with automated teller machine (ATM) operators on removing ATMs which charge for cash withdrawals from UK military bases. 
Derek Twigg: Automated teller machines (ATMs) are installed on military establishments via a variety of means and as such this is not a matter which is managed centrally in the Ministry of Defence (MOD). ATMs are incorporated within multi-activity contracts, through independent agreement made locally by individual Commanding Officers, or provided as part of retail and leisure run facilities. Subject to the terms of any associated lease or licence, Commanding Officers are free to enter discussions with ATM providers and seek the removal of fee paying ATMs at any time. Where ATMs are provided under contract, removal would, of course, have to be in line with the terms of the contract.
I understand that one of the leading ATM providers on the MOD estate, Forces Financial, is in the process of replacing its fee paying ATMs with free to use machines. It is anticipated that this replacement programme will be complete by mid 2009.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We are undertaking an examination of our planning assumptions for equipment over the next 10 years, with a view to bearing down on cost increases to equipment programmes and shifting the overall balance of defence procurement to the support of operations.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the planning assumption of the average unit cost of (a) procurement and (b) through life support for a Joint Strike Fighter is; what changes there have been to these assumptions since April 2002; how many Piranha 5 Future Rapid Effect System utility vehicles are planned to be procured; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Unit production costs for joint strike fighter are dependent on the number and timing of aircraft purchases for all partner nations and the delivery profile. The UKs total procurement cost is likely to be up to £10 billion, depending on the number of aircraft required. Through life support for joint combat aircraft will also be shaped by the number and timing of aircraft deliveries and will be announced when the programme is sufficiently mature. We are continuously defining our requirement before seeking approval to procure aircraft.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what, in near cash terms, the (a) resource and (b) capital planned spend on each of his Departments 20 largest equipment projects is for financial years 2008-09 to 2017-18. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Information on the Departments planned spend across the acquisition timescale for the 20 largest projects, post major decision point measured by value based on future forecast procurement expenditure, and 10 largest projects, pre major decision point, can be found within the National Audit Office Major Projects Report 2007 Project Summary Sheets, (HC 98-11 Session 2007-08 dated 30 November 2007), as published by the Stationery Office and available on the NAO website at:
The detailed financial data form part of the internal advice to Ministers on the overall affordability of the Defence programme and contain information which is commercially sensitive. I am therefore withholding this information as its release would, or would be likely to prejudice commercial interests.
The A400M programme uses an output index in the form of the Eurozone gross domestic product (GDP) deflator, as published monthly by the Statistical Office of the European Union (otherwise known as EUROSTAT). The Eurozone GDP deflator then in force is applied to each invoice at the time it is presented.
The BVRAAM programme uses a number of indices based on national price inflation series, as published by the governments of the partner nations. The UK index is based on the producer price index (MM2), published monthly by the Office for National Statistics. The indices applied are those in force either one month before the programme milestone point to which an
invoice applies, or at a contractually defined date, depending on the category of deliverable item to which the invoice applies.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when (a) officials, (b) Ministers and (c) members of the inquiry team of the National Recognition of our Armed Forces study met the British Association of Chambers of Commerce to discuss links between service units and commanders and associations of chambers of commerce in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The independent Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces invited a number of contributions from a broad spectrum across the military, Parliament and other relevant areas of society including business leaders. I understand that the study team did not consult directly with the British Association of Chambers of Commerce but did meet with representatives from the Confederation of British Industry. A complete list of those who contributed is at Appendix 2 to the report, a copy of which can be found on the MOD website:
Defence Ministers and officials may, over the past 12 months, have had discussions with the British Association of Chambers of Commerce on links with the armed forces, but any such discussions would have been in the normal course of business and not specifically related to the national recognition study.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what his policy is on the principle of selective briefings to journalists suggested at Recommendation 32 in the Report of the Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces; 
(2) what discussions (a) his Department and (b) the Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces (i) has had and (ii) plans to have with HM Treasury on the change of Treasury rules necessary to carry out recommendation 15 of the Report of Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces in respect of charging for the use of military assets; 
(5) what estimate he has made of (a) the number of man-days and (b) the notional salary costs required to implement the 3+2+1 principle cited in the report on National Recognition of the Armed Forces. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth:
As I stated in my written ministerial statement on 19 May 2008, Official Report, columns 3-4WS, many of the Recommendations contained in the Independent Report will require detailed consideration
across Government Departments and, where necessary, engagement with other organisations for those that are beyond the sole responsibility of Government. This work will take into account any resource issues and any amendments to existing regulations. We will be responding fully to all the Recommendations as soon as possible.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what egregious cases of media representation informed Recommendation 33G of the Report of the Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces; and what official action was taken in each case. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I understand that Recommendation 33 of the Independent Report into National Recognition of our Armed Forces was not informed by any specific egregious cases and, instead, is recommending a course of action to deal with such cases. The Government will consider the Recommendation and respond as soon as possible, as part of its overall response to the Report.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) local and (b) regional journalists were consulted in preparing the recommendations relating to improving media coverage contained in the Report of Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I understand that the independent team set up to conduct the Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces consulted a number of media personnel as set out in Appendix 2 of the Report, a copy of which can be found on the MOD website:
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what dates the National Union of Teachers was consulted in preparing the report of Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I understand that my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham and Stamford (Mr. Davies) did not consult the National Union of Teachers in the process of conducting his independent inquiry into the National Recognition of the Armed Forces.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what leaders of the (a) Jewish, (b) Hindu and (c) Muslim faiths were consulted in the course of the Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces; 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The independent Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces invited a number of religious leaders and groups to participate. A complete list of those who contributed is at Appendix 2 to the report, a copy of which can be found on the MOD website at:
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