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22 July 2008 : Column 1056W—continued


22 July 2008 : Column 1057W

Departmental Alcoholic Drinks

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what purchasing process is used by his Department for the procurement of alcohol for hospitality purposes. [219951]

Derek Twigg: Expenditure on alcohol at public expense is governed by the general principles of financial propriety set out in Government Accounting and the MOD's own regulations for the provision of official entertainment promulgated in Joint Services Publication 462, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.

Departmental Compensation

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the 10 highest payments made by his Department were under property compensation cases brought against it over the last 12 months for which figures are available; which of the cases were (a) contested and (b) uncontested by his Department; and what the nature of each incident was. [216705]

Derek Twigg: The 10 highest compensation payments made against property damage claims in the last 12 months are as follows:

£

Damage to charter aircraft

352,872

Damage to charter aircraft

338,895

Damage to locomotive

145,832

Injury to horses caused by low flying military aircraft

39,987

Injury to livestock plus damage to crops and fencing caused by low lying military aircraft

38,936

Damage to hangar roof caused by low flying military aircraft

20,966

Game birds lost due to low flying military aircraft

19,551

Dairy cows destroyed as a result of low flying military aircraft

17,535

Free range hens killed due to low flying military aircraft

13,095

Injury to horse caused by low flying military aircraft

12,443


All the claims were settled without recourse to litigation.

Departmental Computers

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of (a) the number of computer devices left on overnight in his Department when not in use and (b) the cost of leaving computer devices on overnight when not in use in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [217865]

Derek Twigg: Statistics on the numbers of computer devices left on overnight in the Department are not held.

MOD is co-operating with other Government Departments to take forward Government's Green IT Strategy, which includes aims to reduce energy consumption of computer equipment. We encourage the switching off of computer devices when not in use and have issued instructions to that effect.


22 July 2008 : Column 1058W

Departmental Cost Effectiveness

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what efficiency savings for the funding of regional prime contracts were (a) targeted and (b) achieved in each year since 2005. [219996]

Derek Twigg: No efficiency savings in the funding have been imposed on regional prime contracts since the contracts were awarded and funding allocated.

Part of the strategy in implementing the regional prime contracts was to achieve additional output, through betterment to the estate, at the same level of funding. These value for money efficiencies contribute to the Department’s Estate Modernisation Efficiencies and are reported in the annual departmental accounts.

Departmental ICT

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 18 February 2008, Official Report, column 95W, on departmental ICT, when he expects to provide a substantive answer. [220124]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 16 July 2008, Official Report, columns 446-48W.

Duchess of Kent's Psychiatric Unit: Operating Costs

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the maintenance cost of the Duchess of Kent's psychiatric unit was in each of the last five years of its operation. [216249]

Derek Twigg: The Duchess of Kent's psychiatric unit closed in 2003. Maintenance and works costs for the last five years of its operation are shown in the following table:

Financial year Maintenance and works costs (£ million)

1998-99

0.9

1999-2000

0.4

2000-01

0.7

2001-02

0.9

2002-03

0.5


EC Defence Policy

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Government support the French proposals for a (a) European aeronaval group, (b) joint fleet of military transporters, (c) joint fleet of European helicopters, (d) European satellite observation system and (e) permanent EU defence military planning headquarters. [220084]

Des Browne: The Government have not seen any specific plans in respect of the initiatives listed. But at the UK/France summit in March this year, the two Governments agreed to co-operate to develop European military capabilities, available to both the EU and NATO, in a number of fields. The UK Government do not support any proposals for a permanent EU defence military planning headquarters.


22 July 2008 : Column 1059W

Government Decontamination Service: Telephone Services

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what income his Department received from the Government Decontamination Service 0845 number in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2006-07 and (c) 2005-06. [217542]

Derek Twigg: None.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the objective is of the Iraq culture brief in the Civilians Deployed on Operations pre-Deployment Preparation Course Phase 2 at Chetwynd Barracks; [219994]

(2) what process is used to select the instructors for the Iraq culture brief for the Civilians Deployed on Operations pre-Deployment Preparation Course Phase 2 at Chetwynd Barracks; [219993]

(3) if he will place in the Library a copy of the Iraq culture presentation given to the Civilians Deployed on Operations pre-Deployment Preparation Course Phase 2 on 10 July 2008 at Chetwynd Barracks. [219992]

Des Browne: The objectives of the Iraq culture brief given to civilians that are to deploy in support of operations in Iraq, is to provide a basic understanding of the main cultural and social conventions of the country. This enables civilians to interact with the local Iraqi population more confidently and successfully if they are called to do so once deployed in theatre.

The Iraq culture brief is delivered by Iraqi nationals, provided under contractual arrangements. Those giving the cultural brief must hold the appropriate security clearances.

A copy of the presentation given at Chetwynd Barracks on 10 July 2008 is currently being obtained and I will place it in the Library of the House when it becomes available.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether departmental civilian staff deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are issued with (a) mosquito nets and (b) insect repellent before leaving the UK. [219998]

Derek Twigg: There is a significant risk of malaria in most non-mountainous regions of Afghanistan. Where civilian staff are accommodated in tents, they are provided in theatre with a mosquito net treated with insecticide. Where staff are accommodated in buildings equipped with fly screens on windows and double doors to the exterior, such nets are not required. Insect repellent is also made available in theatre. Where the medical risk assessment deems it necessary, MOD civilian staff are also provided with anti-malarial prophylaxis prior to deployment.

Malaria risks in Iraq are rather lower and seasonal, especially in Basra, where the bulk of the UK military force is based. Notwithstanding, mosquito nets treated with insecticide are again provided for all personnel who are not provided with suitably protected accommodation. Insect repellent is also made available in theatre. Anti-malarial prophylaxis is assessed to be unnecessary for deployments to Iraq.


22 July 2008 : Column 1060W

Nimrod Aircraft

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many instances of fuel leaks from Nimrod aircraft have been recorded in the last 12 months. [164431]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I will write to the hon. Member with the information requested and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from Bob Ainsworth to Liam Fox, dated 21 May:

Substantive answer from Bob Ainsworth to Liam Fox, dated 13 July:


22 July 2008 : Column 1061W

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many fuel leakages on a Nimrod aircraft have been reported since January 2007. [199452]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I will write to the hon. Member.

Substantive answer from Bob Ainsworth to Liam Fox, dated 21 May:


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