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Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to make arrangements for members of the armed services serving in Afghanistan to be able to receive Christmas parcels after the end of October. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The MOD, in conjunction with Royal Mail Group, provides a free mail service for letters and packets, up to 2 kg in weight, from families and friends to named MOD personnel deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq throughout the year. The latest posting date to guarantee Christmas delivery is 5 December 2008.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Armed Forces personnel were deployed on operations on the latest date for which figures are available, broken down by location of operation. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The following table shows the number of UK service personnel deployed on operations by location at 5 October 2008. The number of personnel in theatre will naturally fluctuate on a daily basis for a variety of reasons, including leave (rest and recuperation), temporary absence for training, evacuation for medical reasons, the roulement of forces and other factors.
|Number of UK armed forces personnel deployed by location( 1)|
|(1) Countries with 10 or more personnel are shown separately. Other countries with fewer than 10 personnel per country include Georgia, Nepal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia.|
(2) Figures for Iraq and Afghanistan have been rounded to the nearest 100 for operational security reasons. Other figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. Due to rounding methods used, the total may not equal the sum of the individual locations.
(3) Figures for Afghanistan are artificially high due to a current Operation Herrick Relief In Place (RIP) operation.
|Number of complaints received|
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made in the TRiM project for post-conflict trauma, depression and stress training; what the projects budget is; where the projects administration is located; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: The Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) system operates as a proactive, peer group mentoring and support system which aims to identify signs and symptoms and to manage the risk of any mental distress that may be suffered by individuals following a traumatic incident. It is not in itself a treatment programme. The initiative train teams of non-medical personnel from within units to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental distress and give advice to individuals on coping strategies and how to manage them or, where required, refer them for specialist help. The system has already been endorsed by both the Royal Navy and Army Chains of Command.
The allocated budget in Financial Year 2008-09 for all stress management training within the armed forces, which includes costs for TRiM training, is in the region of £1 million. Currently the administration for TRiM training is the responsibility of the individual single services.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Mastiffs, (b) Vector, (c) Jackal and (d) Ridgeback vehicles have been ordered by his Department; and how many have been delivered. 
|Number ordered||Number delivered|
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Christmas functions (a) he, (b) officials from his Department and (c) officials from its executive agencies (i) hosted and (ii) attended in 2007-08; what the cost to the public purse was; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: The Departments instructions on financial management make it clear that it is not permissible to spend public money on Christmas functions. Any Christmas functions that take place are funded from non-public funds or by staff themselves.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) chairs, (b) desks and (c) other office furnishings have been purchased by his Department for (i) main buildings and (ii) other departmental offices in each of the last five years; and at what cost in each case. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: Within MOD, each top level budget is individually responsible for assessing furniture requirements and for authorising procurement of furniture, including chairs, desks and other office furnishings. Information on expenditure by individual MOD building is not held centrally. For details of overall departmental expenditure on these items for the last five years I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my predecessor on 29 September 2008, Official Report, column 2438W, to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban).
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of invoices for goods and services procured from small and medium-sized businesses were paid within 30 days of receipt by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which his Department is responsible in 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: The Department operates a system of settling invoices within 30 days of their receipt by allowing 19 days for confirmation that the service or supply has been satisfactorily performed and 11 days for the Financial Management Shared Service Centre (FMSSC) to make the payment. Statistics for the 30 day cycle could be provided only at disproportionate cost. For this reason the payment performance of the FMSSC has been used to demonstrate the Departments commitment to prompt payment.
In 2007-08, the FMSSC paid 99.96 per cent., of all valid UK bills within 11 calendar days of receipt as part of the Departments contribution to improving the payment culture in the UK. The FMSSC also introduced daily payment runs to enhance its flexibility in providing a prompt and efficient service to industry and the smaller supplier.
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much (a) his Department and (b) its Executive agencies spent on (i) recruitment consultants and (ii) external recruitment advertising to recruit staff in each of the last five financial years; which recruitment consultants were employed for those purposes in each of those years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: The level of expenditure on recruitment consultants and external recruitment advertising to recruit staff in each of the last five financial years is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
External recruitment advertising is used only if internal recruitment has failed or is unlikely to deliver a suitable applicant. Such recruitment is conducted in line with the civil service recruitment code.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what proportion of written Questions for answer on a named day his Department has answered on the due date in the current session of Parliament to date. 
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many and what percentage of ex-service personnel were defined as living in absolute poverty in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) England in each year since 1997; 
Mr. Kevan Jones: The Government do not collect statistics on the number of ex-service personnel living in relative poverty. Veterans facing difficulties in their civilian lives have access to the free veterans helpline and the Veterans Welfare Service which provide advice and support, as well as to the UK benefits provided for those in need.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of people eligible for veterans badges who are resident in the Scottish Borders area; and how many badges have been issued to such residents. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: 74 per cent. of the Hercules C-130 fleet has been fitted with explosion suppressant foam (ESF). Those aircraft that have not been fitted with ESF will shortly begin to be retired from service.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the costs to his Department to date of legal advice relating to claims made by nuclear test veterans claiming compensation from the Government; and how much is expected to be spent in the next 12 weeks. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: Legal costs to the Department relating to compensation claims brought by nuclear test veterans up to 24 July 2008 amount to £968,050.00. The estimated subsequent costs are £543,300.00.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) primary and (b) secondary legislation sponsored by his Department has (i) amended and (ii) enhanced existing powers of entry since May 1997. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times Royal Navy (a) destroyers, (b) frigates, (c) submarines, (d) mine countermeasure
vessels, (e) patrol vessels, (f) amphibious assault vessels and (g) Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels underwent the Storob process in each month since January 2008. 
|2008||Destroyers||Frigates||Submarines||MCMVs||Patrol Vessels||Amphibious Assault Vessels||RFA Vessels|
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