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21 July 2008 : Column 837W—continued

21 July 2008 : Column 838W

Armed Forces: Internet

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department made towards the target for the provision of wireless internet facilities for the Armed Forces by Easter 2008. [206925]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The introduction of the first wireless internet facility commenced in Camp Bastion on 15 May 2008. We currently anticipate that the roll out of WiFi facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan will be complete by the end of 2008.

When the wireless project is completed, we expect that the ratio of internet connections to personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan will have improved from an average of one terminal to 50 personnel to an average of one terminal to 10 personnel where WiFi is available, a 400 per cent. increase.

Armed Forces: Manpower

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate (a) the number and (b) the proportion of the population which has served at any time in the armed forces. [217326]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The MOD does not hold a figure for the total number of living ex-service personnel. Against the 2005 Royal British Legion estimate, we judge there to be some 4.5 million veterans. This would amount to approximately 7.5 per cent. of the UK population.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which regiment or battalion forms the Spearhead Land Element (SLE); whether it is fully equipped; whether the present SLE is deployed; when the future SLE will take over from the present SLE; and what unit will form the next SLE. [220000]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland form the Spearhead Land Element (SLE), which is not currently deployed. The SLE is fully equipped in accordance with the Joint Rapid Reaction Force directive and operational mounting instructions. The next SLE will be provided by the 2nd Battalion The Rifles, who will assume this role from 25 July 2008.

Armed Forces: Olympic Games

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces will be competing in the forthcoming Olympic games in China. [220295]

Derek Twigg: Three members of HM forces are due to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. Two are competing from the Royal Navy, Lieutenant Peter Reed RN in the coxless fours and Lieutenant Commander Penny Clark RN in the dinghy sailing laser radial. Captain Alastair Heathcote from the Army will be in the rowing eights. All are competing for Great Britain.

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Armed Forces: Pensions

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) value of unclaimed armed forces’ preserved pensions; and what steps he has taken to reconcile armed forces’ preserved pensions with their beneficiaries. [220639]

Derek Twigg: Details of the number, and value of unclaimed preserved pensions are not held and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. There is no legislative requirement for the administrators of the armed forces pension scheme (AFPS) to trace individuals who have not claimed their preserved benefits.

Personnel leaving the armed forces today receive information that clearly explains that it is their personal responsibility to claim their preserved pension at the appropriate time and provide information on how to do so. In addition, the veterans UK website contains helpful information and the issue is publicised at various MOD sponsored veteran's events held regularly throughout the UK. Furthermore, because this is a common situation
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across pension schemes the Department of Work and Pensions provides a free tracing service to members of pension schemes who have lost contact with earlier employers; the AFPS is registered with this service.

Defence Medical Services: Manpower

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the (a) required and (b) actual complement is of each medical personnel type in each branch of the armed forces of the Defence Medical Services; [182331]

(2) what the (a) required and (b) current strength of Defence Medical Services is, broken down by (i) service and (ii) trade. [216245]

Derek Twigg: Manning data are as of October 2007 as this is the most accurate available.

The following table summarises the required manning level of the Defence Medical Services of the Armed Forces, including the requirement for a manning and training margin (MTM) and the actual number of personnel, including those in training.

Requirement MTM( 1) Personnel -trained strength Personnel in training( 2) Personnel total

Royal Navy












Royal Air Force












(1) The Manning and Training Margin (MTM) relates to personnel who are undertaking career directed professional training and those who are non-effective, for example while on terminal leave or long-term sick leave.
(2) Personnel in training does not include personnel who are already trained in a medical speciality and who are in career directed professional training.
Manning Return, October 2007

Tables which provide the figures for each medical speciality and show the requirement and the number of trained personnel (but not personnel in training) in each medical and dental personnel division of the armed forces as at October 2007, have been placed in the Library of the House.

Departmental Alcoholic Drinks

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are in place in his Department to monitor expenditure on alcohol for hospitality purposes. [219602]

Derek Twigg: The policy, rules and guidance on the provision of official entertainment are set out in Chapter 45 of Joint Services Publication 462 (Financial Management Policy Manual), copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The appropriate budget manager has the responsibility to verify compliance within the rules.

Departmental Buildings

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what proportion of residential properties owned by his Department are vacant, broken down by county. [216342]

Derek Twigg: The information is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Pay

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what proportion of staff in his Department received bonus payments in 2007-08; what the total amount of bonuses paid was; what the largest single payment was; and if he will make a statement. [213304]

Derek Twigg: The number and value of annual appraisal-related bonuses paid to members of the senior civil service (SCS), to fixed term appointees and to civil servants below the level of the SCS covered by the MOD main pay deal (excluding trading funds and agencies), in 2007-08, are listed in tables 1 to 3 as follows. The Ministry of Defence also awards special bonuses to individuals and teams for exceptional performance in a specific task or for the achievement of professional qualifications which benefit MOD and the individual; these are shown in table 4. The final table (5) shows the total value of all bonuses paid in cash terms; it is not possible at this time to give the percentage of the work force to which this refers and this will be advised at the end of July.

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Table 1: Bonuses paid to senior civil servants


Number of bonuses paid


Value of bonuses paid (£)


Highest bonus payment (£)


Table 2: Bonuses paid to fixed term appointees


Number of bonuses paid


Value of bonuses paid (£)


Highest bonus payment (£)


(1) There is one outstanding bonus payment still to be agreed.

Table 3: End of year bonuses paid to staff below the level of the SCS (excluding MOD trading fund agencies


Number of bonuses paid


Value of bonuses paid (£)


Highest bonus payment (£)


Table 4: Special bonuses (excluding MOD trading fund agencies)


Number of staff who received bonus(es)


Value of bonuses paid (£)


Highest bonus payment (£)


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Table 5: Summary of bonuses paid
Total 2007-08

Value of all bonuses paid (£)


Percentage of total civilian work force


(1) Staff numbers taken from departmental end year accounts not yet available.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what bonus was awarded to his Department’s permanent under secretary in each year since 1997. [218516]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 14 July 2008]: Although the Government, with the agreement of those concerned, may in exceptional cases decide to publish personal information about individual public servants, the general policy is to treat such information, including about variable pay, as private.

Decisions on pay and reward for permanent secretaries are considered annually by the Permanent Secretaries’ Remuneration Committee and are subject to the rules and regulations governed by the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) and the Cabinet Office. Since 1 April 2002, non-consolidated variable pay awards paid to permanent secretaries have fallen within the SSRB recommended ceilings imposed on the rest of senior civil service (SCS). Bonuses for performance during 2002-03 were paid in financial year 2003-04 and continue to follow that pattern as shown in the following table.

Performance year 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

Paid in financial year






SSRB average SCS bonus ceiling(1)






Permanent secretaries range(2)

2.8 to 11.9

4.4 to 10.5

4 to 11.4

2.5 to 9.9

3.3 to 13.3

(1) Shown as a percentage of the overall SCS pay bill.
(2) Shown as a percentage of individual base pay.
Bonus awards for permanent secretaries for the year up to 31 March 2008 will be within this year’s 8.6 per cent. overall ceiling for bonuses.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much expenditure his Department has incurred on the (a) Long Service Advance of Pay, (b) New Build HomeBuy, (c) Open Market Homebuy, (d) English Partnerships First Time Buyers Initiative and (e) Shared Equity services schemes in each year since 2006. [220669]

Derek Twigg: MOD’s (gross) expenditure per calendar year on Long Service Advance of Pay (LSAP) was around £24 million in 2006, £22 million in 2007.

The Department has incurred no expenditure on New Build HomeBuy, Open Market Homebuy, and English Partnerships First Time Buyers Initiative. These are a matter for the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Shared Equity Services is a commercial company providing arrangements for service personnel.

Departmental Research

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of his Department's budget was used for research within its areas of responsibility in each of the last 10 years. [218065]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The following table shows total MOD expenditure on research activity in each of the last 10 financial years for which complete data are available. Figures are inclusive of non-recoverable VAT, expressed at current prices, and presented in £ million. Because of transitional arrangements with the introduction of resource accounting and budgeting, the figures are expressed as a percentage of the MOD net cash requirement from 2001-02 in order to provide a broad comparison over the period. Before this point, MOD reported its expenditure on a cash accounting basis.

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£ millions

MOD departmental net research Expenditure Percentage of aggregate MOD expenditure































UK Defence Statistics

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