Derek Twigg [holding answer 10 September 2008]: As at 1 July 2008 the current strength of the Army was 108,750. This figure includes all trained and untrained personnel, Ghurkhas and full-time Reserve personnel. It excludes Army Reservists mobilised for service.
Des Browne: Following on from discussions at the Bucharest summit, the NATO Secretary-General called for a special meeting of NATO Defence Ministers to focus on the political challenges of NATO reform and to give ministerial direction and leadership to the transformation agenda. As a firm believer in the need for a fresh look at our international institutions, I offered to host the meeting which will be held at Lancaster House on 18 and 19 of September 2008. The Secretary-General has not issued any formal agenda, but has broadly outlined the issues facing the allianceplanning and delivering key capabilities; efficient use of human, financial and technical resources; and joint and proportionate burden-sharing. It is likely we will discuss also recent events in Georgia.
Des Browne: The United Kingdom Government would be prepared to use nuclear weapons only in extreme circumstances of self-defence. We would not use our weapons, whether conventional or nuclear, contrary to international law.
The UK does not rule in or out the first use of nuclear weapons. A policy of no first use of nuclear weapons would be incompatible with our and NATO's doctrine of deterrence. We do not determine in advance how to react to aggression. This would be decided in the context of all circumstances prevailing at the time. Our overall strategy is to ensure uncertainty in the mind of any aggressor about the exact nature of our response, and thus to maintain effective deterrence.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Government's policy is on Poland's hosting of US missile defence facilities and Russia's position on such hosting; and if he will make a statement. 
The US ballistic missile defence assets in Europe will provide a limited defensive capability against a small number of states of concern who are currently seeking to develop or acquire ballistic missiles with the capability of striking Europe. Russia is fully aware of the capabilities, and limitations, of the planned US system, and are aware that their security should not, and could not, be threatened by it.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many gas boilers were installed in homes in England and Wales in each year since 2004; and how many were (a) A-rated, (b) B-rated condensing boilers and (c) D-rated boilers. 
|Number of units sold to the domestic sector
|Energy efficiency class
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether councillors who are members of a joint committee with another council are required to (a) sign the code of conduct and (b) maintain a separate register of interests for both the council to which they were elected and the council also represented on the joint committee; and what guidance the Standards Board for England has issued on this matter. 
When a councillor serves on a joint committee, they are acting as a representative of their authority and so must comply with their own councils code of conduct. The councillors register of interests made to the council they were elected to is available to public scrutiny.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which companies her Department has contracts with for the provision of cleaning services; and what the hourly rate of pay is for cleaners in her Department. 
John Healey: Cleaning services are provided as part of the Integrated Facilities Management Contract for CLG's HQ building with MITIE Group PLC. The current hourly rates of pay for cleaning grades are as follows:
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1392W, on departmental overseas visits, which overseas conferences her Department's representatives attended as part of the 388 overseas visits referred to. 
Mr. Dhanda: Communities and Local Government does not hold central records about individual overseas visits. All overseas visits require the local approval of the appropriate deputy director who will ensure business need and value for money are justified.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department spent on the eco-town policy and its implementation in each of the last three years for which figures are available; how much it has spent on the policy and its implementation in relation to the Pennbury site in each such year; and what its planned expenditure on the eco-towns policy is (a) in relation to the Pennbury site and (b) in total in each financial year to 2012-13. 
John Healey: The eco-towns policy was announced in February 2007 and it has been developed alongside our housing policies. The costs for developing the policy form part of the Department's running costs and are set out in the departmental annual report, Community, opportunity, prosperity. Future allocations to support infrastructure and local authority expenditure in relation to any of the sites will be drawn from the growth funding made available in CSR07.
The Pennbury site was announced as a shortlisted location on 3 April 2008. Since then and to date we have spent or committed approximately £153,000 on publicity and local authority assessment work, in addition to our
assessments of financial viability and sustainability for all the sites. We are currently consulting on Pennbury and all the shortlisted eco-town locations.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether data gatherers for energy performance certificates, who are not domestic energy assessors, will need to be accredited and undertake a Criminal Records Bureau check. 
John Healey: CLG has issued guidance setting out the circumstances in which data gatherers may be used. A Criminal Records Bureau check is needed for a data gatherer who visits dwellings unaccompanied by either a domestic energy assessor or the landlord where the dwellings have tenants. A data gatherer does not need to be accredited but cannot produce a certificate. The certificate is the responsibility of the domestic energy assessor (DEA).
John Healey: The English Regional Network is a voluntary body that represents regional assemblies at a national level; as such the Secretary of State does not have the power to abolish it. A consultation paper on the Review of Sub National Economic Development and Regeneration was published on 31 March which included proposals to remove regional planning powers from regional assemblies and a response to that consultation will be issued in due course.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what representations she has received on the FiReControl Project from (a) Chief Fire Officers, (b) chairs of local fire authorities and (c) chairs of local authority companies since March 2008; and whether such representations have indicated opposition from fire authorities in their region to the move to regional control centres; 
(2) what plans she has to introduce regional fire control centres in areas where the local fire authority opposes their introduction; under what authority such powers may be exercised; and what powers she has to enforce such action. 
John Healey: We are working closely with all interested parties, including chief fire officers, fire and rescue authorities and local authority controlled companies, to deliver the FiReControl Project. There have been formal and informal representations and as with any project, a mixture of views have been submitted.
As the recently published Business Case Part 1: The Regional Cases show, FiReControl will significantly enhance national resilience and will provide a much greater functionality for the fire and rescue service in England. Communities and Local Government is
committed to delivering this project. The Fire and Rescue Service National Framework 2008-11 reinforced this commitment.
Communities and Local Government have worked in partnership with other interested parties to deliver the FiReControl Project, and wishes to continue working in this way. But because of its importance we would consider, but only as a last resort, the use of powers under sections 22 and 29 of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 to ensure a successful move to FiReControl Network.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the timetable for the regional fire control centres in England to be fully operational as a national network is. 
For further details on the schedule for each FRA I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) on 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 541W.
Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many fire appliances there are in service in each brigade; and how many in each brigade carry (a) defibrillators and (b) other first aid equipment. 
John Healey: Information on the number of front-line pumping appliances and defibrillators in each fire and rescue service in England during 2007 is set out in the following table. Information on how many of these appliances carry a defibrillator or other first aid equipment is not centrally held and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
|Front-line appliances and defibrillators in the fire and rescue servicesEngland 2007
|Fire and rescue service
|Front line pumping appliances
|(1) Number of defibrillators held in each fire and rescue service, which are carried on pumps, other vehicles like vans or are located at fire stations. Source: Communities and Local Government