some default text...
Previous Section Index Home Page

1 July 2008 : Column 752W—continued


1 July 2008 : Column 753W

Derek Twigg: Approximately 90 per cent. of MOD posts in the MOD require National Security Vetting which includes a full criminal record check. This requires candidates to declare all criminal convictions, including spent convictions. Pre-employment checks on the remainder require all candidates to declare unspent convictions, and random checks are made on these declarations.

Inquiries carried out by the Defence vetting agency indicate that between 5 per cent. to 10 per cent. of MOD applicants for National Security Vetting show an adverse trace on the Police National Computer. Such traces indicate a record against the individual and show any kind of conviction, ranging from juvenile offences to the most serious crimes. A trace may also indicate a police caution, that the person is wanted or missing, or that there is an impending prosecution. While a proportion of the traces will indicate a criminal record, it is not possible to give a definitive figure, nor state how many individuals were subsequently employed, without examining individual cases at disproportionate cost.

EU Defence Policy

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Government’s policy is on (a) the creation of a standing EU budget for funding EU military operations and (b) other proposed reforms to the funding procedures of EU military-led operations. [214354]

Des Browne: The majority of costs of EU military operations are paid by the member states contributing troops and assets, on a ‘costs lie where they fall’ basis. But there is an EU arrangement for the funding of limited agreed common costs of EU military missions, the ATHENA mechanism. Under this mechanism, decisions on the common costs of individual operations require unanimity among EU member states, on a case-by-case basis. We believe that this mechanism is effective for the funding of EU military operations; therefore we would not support any reform of this mechanism.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Government’s policy is on the creation of a single EU Strategic Directorate in Brussels to carry out EU (a) military and (b) civil missions. [214356]

Des Browne: The Government have not seen any proposal for the creation of a single EU Strategic Directorate in Brussels to carry out EU military or civilian missions. However, we support the need for greater coherence between civilian and military components in crisis management, both within and between EU missions or in theatres where international organisations such as the EU, NATO and the UN operate alongside each other. We would therefore consider carefully any proposals for improving such coherence. We would not support proposals for an EU military Operation HQ.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Government’s policy is on the creation of an independent European Union standing strategic planning capability. [214357]


1 July 2008 : Column 754W

Des Browne: The EU military staff, created by the treaty of Nice in 2001, already provides the European Union with an independent standing strategic planning capability. Its military officers are all seconded from EU member states.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 16 June 2008, Official Report, column 721W, on EU defence policy, whether his Department plans to increase the number of its (a) military personnel and (b) civilian staff attached to the (i) European Union military staff and (ii) European Defence Agency. [214367]

Des Browne: There are no plans to increase the number of military personnel or civilian staff attached to the European Union Military Staff.

All vacancies in the European Defence Agency, both civilian and military, are subject to open competition across all participating member states. The numbers of British military or MOD civilian staff are therefore likely to vary slightly over time as vacancies arise.

EU Rapid Reaction Force

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what discussions he has had with his French counterpart on developing a 60,000 strong EU rapid reaction force; [214337]

(2) what the Government's policy is on the creation of a 60,000 strong EU rapid reaction force. [214353]

Des Browne: There are no proposals for the creation of a 60,000 strong EU rapid reaction force, nor have I had any discussions about creating one.

The UK continues to support the Helsinki Headline Goal that all member states agreed to in 1999, which calls for the EU member states to be able to:

This represents an overarching target for member states’ collective level of capability, from which the EU's capability development framework takes its lead. It does not imply the creation of a standing EU force of any kind. Any commitment to an EU-led operation is voluntary and is a decision for national Governments to make on a case by case basis.

Ex-servicemen: Military Decorations

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the proportion of veterans who have been awarded a veteran’s badge; and if he will make a statement. [213004]

Derek Twigg: There are no accurate figures for the current veteran population however it is generally accepted as around 4.5 million. We have awarded an HM Armed Forces Veterans Badge to approximately 602,000 individuals. We have now extended eligibility to all veterans. This figure is growing as the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency are currently issuing between 2,000 and 2,500 badges each week. We take every opportunity to publicise the badge and encourage others to do so as well.


1 July 2008 : Column 755W

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of (a) armoured vehicles, (b) other vehicles, (c) fixed wing aircraft, (d) rotary wing aircraft, (e) weapons systems and (f) unmanned aerial vehicles of each type which have been removed from service as a result of battle damage in Iraq and Afghanistan are now (i) in service, (ii) fit for purpose and (iii) out of service. [214363]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I am withholding the information requested as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Military Aircraft

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many C17 aircraft are operated by the Royal Air Force; and how many of those are (a) leased and (b) owned by the Royal Air Force; [214094]

(2) how many C130 aircraft are operated by the Royal Air Force; and what proportion of these are owned by the Royal Air Force. [214096]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Royal Air Force currently operates six C17 aircraft, two of which are owned by the Royal Air Force. The remaining four CI7 aircraft are leased and will be purchased by the Royal Air Force this year.

The Royal Air Force currently operates and owns 42 Hercules C130 aircraft.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many heavy lift aircraft have been hired by the armed forces in the last three years, broken down by aircraft type. [214095]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information is not held in the format requested.

Military Aircraft: Procurement

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when a decision will be made on the company which will construct the (a) Hawk advanced jet trainer and (b) Typhoon tranche 3; and where each will be manufactured. [214088]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The contract for the build of the Hawk advanced jet trainer was awarded to BAE Systems in October 2006. The aircraft are manufactured at Brough on Humberside. Negotiations with partner nations and industry on Typhoon Tranche 3 are underway and expected to continue throughout this year. The UK's national partner companies in the Eurofighter and Eurojet consortia are BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce respectively. Typhoon aircraft are manufactured at sites across the four partner nations.

Nuclear Submarines

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 17 June 2008, Official Report, column 849W, on berths, if he will list those berths with safety plans in place as specified in
1 July 2008 : Column 756W
the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001 which are available to nuclear powered submarines in (a) the UK and (b) overseas. [213950]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The berths, including anchorages and buoys, with safety plans attached to them under the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001 are as follows:

Location Number of berths

UK

HMNB Devonport

17

HMNB Clyde

10

HMNB Portsmouth

5

Southampton

2

Portland

2

Loch Goil

1

Loch Ewe

2

Broadford Bay

1

Clyde estuary

1

Barrow in Furness

2

Overseas

HMNB Gibraltar

2


Porton Down: Human Experiments

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Written Ministerial Statement of 31 January 2008, Official Report, column 26WS, what progress has been made in the payment of compensation to servicemen affected by the Porton Down experiments. [214592]

Derek Twigg: Payment of those claims referred to in the written ministerial statement of 31 January 2008, Official Report, column 26WS, was made in full to the claimants’ legal representatives on 8 February 2008.

Type 45 Destroyers: Procurement

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the advice he received from the First Sea Lord relating to the cancellation of the seventh and eighth T45 destroyers procurement programme. [213808]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: As is the usual practice with decisions of this nature, the decision not to purchase further Type 45 destroyers beyond the six presently on order was taken by Ministers as part of the Department's most recent planning round and after careful consideration by the Defence Board, of which the First Sea Lord is a member.

International Development

Afghanistan: Agriculture

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether an agricultural policy is being established in Afghanistan under the command of (a) the International Security Assistance Force and (b) any other organisation; and if he will make a statement. [213990]


1 July 2008 : Column 757W

Mr. Douglas Alexander: A national agriculture policy for Afghanistan is being developed by the Government of Afghanistan as part of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS). The ANDS is the Afghan Government’s five-year development plan aimed at reducing poverty, stimulating economic growth, and improving governance and donor coordination. The ANDS was launched formally at the International Conference in Support of Afghanistan in Paris on 12 June 2008.

The ANDS sets out the long-term strategic vision for agricultural and rural development. It aims to support the poor rural populations and develop the productivity and commercial viability of the agricultural sector. The lead Ministry, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, has developed Implementation and Investment Plans in response to the ANDS. The Department for International Development is providing support to this Ministry to develop and implement these plans.

Africa: Health Services

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had on UN plans to monitor and assess the implementation of the Maputo Plan of Action. [213251]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Officials from the Department for International Development (DFID) are currently in discussion with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) about the development of the monitoring plan to assess the progress of the Maputo Plan of Action. The issue of the monitoring plan was raised at the recent UNFPA Executive Board meeting in Geneva.

Africa: Overseas Aid

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what UK bilateral aid programmes are under way in (a) Gambia, (b) Ghana, (c) Cameroon and (d) Equatorial Guinea; and what the (i) duration and (ii) cost is of each. [214581]

Gillian Merron: The following tables show all the UK bilateral aid programmes under way in (a) the Gambia, (b) Ghana, and (c) Cameroon. There are no UK bilateral aid programmes in Equatorial Guinea.

(a) The Gambia
Commitment
Sector Programme £ million From To

Education

Basic Education Support for Poverty Reduction

3.5

2005

2010

Governance

Legal Capacity Building programme

2.65

2004

2010

Financial Governance programme

1.7

2004

2009

Support to the Pro-Poor Advocacy Group

0.57

2005

2009

Civil Society

Concern Universal: Empowering Civil Society Organisations

0.55

2006

2009


Next Section Index Home Page