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21 Oct 2008 : Column 188W—continued

Armed Forces: Reserve Forces

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members and what percentage of the (a) Territorial Army, (b) Royal Navy Reserve, (c) Royal Marine Reserve and (d) Royal Auxiliary Air Force were available for deployment at the most recent date for which figures are available. [227878]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Availability for mobilisation is dependant on a number of factors, in particular which section of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 is being used to make a Call-Out Order. Therefore, while reservists may be unavailable for mobilisation under one section of the Act, they will be available under another. This effectively means that nearly all reservists remain available for mobilisation.

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As at 30 September 2008 the following Volunteer Reserve personnel were available for mobilisation:

These figures exclude those serving on full time reserve service and members of the sponsored reserve.

Armed Forces: Resignations

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel opted not to extend their service in each year since 2003. [227875]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The number of trained UK regular forces service personnel who opted not to extend their service is recorded in tables 1-8 of TSP5 (UK Regular Forces Outflow From Trained Strength to Civil Life) as outflow type “Time Expiry”. Statistics are available for each service and on a tri service basis.

TSP5 is published monthly. The current September 2008 publication includes time series back to 1998/99 and can be found at:

Copies of TSP 5 are also available in the Library of the House.

Departmental Civil Service Agencies

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many agencies were sponsored by his Department in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 1997-98. [228510]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The “Next Steps Report 1997” (Cm3889) provides information on all Executive Agencies as at 31 December 1997. Copies are available in the Library of the House. The most up-to-date list of Executive Agencies is published in the Cabinet Office publication "The List of Ministerial Responsibilities". The latest version, incorporating recent ministerial changes, will be published shortly and I will place a copy in the Library of the House.

Departmental Cleaning Services

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which contractors his Department uses to undertake cleaning duties; and what the hourly rates of pay are for cleaners working in the Department. [223279]

Mr. Kevan Jones [holding answer 10 September 2008]: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

This is due to the number of locations the MOD operates from across the UK and overseas. Also, for a number of sites cleaning is part of a wider building services contract and could not be split out as a separate cost.

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Departmental Data Protection

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) computers and (b) hard drives in his Department contain non-encrypted data. [227438]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 16 October 2008]: The MOD does not currently hold this information centrally and it could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Under the terms of the Burton and Hannigan reviews the MOD is conducting a census of all removable media, which will include removable hard drives and this work is due to complete in March 2009.

We have encrypted 20,000 laptops that are used outside MOD secure sites. Some laptops are not encrypted for technical reasons, such as those running automated test equipment, but are protected by other physical means. The MOD is reviewing its policy on the protection, including encryption, of equipment that is designed to be retained within our secure buildings.

Departmental Information and Communications Technology

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on upgrading its IT in each of the last three financial years. [228418]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The spend incurred in upgrading the Ministry of Defence's IT in each of the last three financial years varied from purchasing single computers and software licences to undertaking major IT programmes, such as the defence information infrastructure. The spend on all individual Departmental IT upgrades, and separating these upgrade costs from ongoing IT support expenditure, in each of the last three financial years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Procurement

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the names and addresses of each organisation that supplied goods and services to his Department in 2007-08, based on the purchase order data held in the Department's financial database. [221942]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The Ministry of Defence purchases goods and services from a large number suppliers every year and information in the format requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Lists of the organisations paid £5 million or more are published annually in UK Defence Statistics. I am arranging for copies of these lists for 2007-08 from UK Defence Statistics 2008 to be placed in the Library of the House. It is also available online at:

The addresses of these companies are available from Companies House:

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Departmental Sick Leave

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 7 October 2008, Official Report, column 610W, on departmental sick leave, what estimate he has made of the cost of providing the requested information. [227380]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Department does not have a separate category of staff on “gardening leave”, as those without permanent posts are actively managed by their line management and where possible deployed on temporary work. There will be occasions when such temporary work isn't available, but that situation is continuously changing and is not recorded centrally. It would cost around £2,000 to survey all relevant management areas to estimate the level of such “gardening leave” at a point in time, and substantially more to monitor it continuously.

Housing: Low Incomes

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for increasing the supply of affordable housing for local people to rent or buy in rural areas. [227979]

Mr. Iain Wright: I have been asked to reply.

The Housing Corporation has been set a national target to provide 10,300 affordable homes in smaller rural communities from 2008-09 to 2010-11. Grant will be allocated to those schemes which meet the needs of local people, the regional strategy and demonstrate strong value for money from the £8.4 billion National Affordable Housing Programme.

The Prime Minister commissioned a report from the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell on how land use and planning can better support rural business and deliver affordable housing in rural communities. His report, published in July, provides a comprehensive review of the issues that our rural communities face, and provides a number of practical recommendations. We are looking at the report in detail and will publish a full response later this year.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many reservists have been (a) mobilised for service and (b) discharged due to injury in Iraq in each year since March 2003. [227877]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The number of Reservists mobilised for Service in Iraq by year is as follows:












Figures for 2008 are not yet available.

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Information on discharges due to injuries on operations in Iraq are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate-cost as it would involve trawling individual personnel files.

Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many helicopters there are in the helicopter fleet of the UK armed services; how many of them are due to be taken out of service by (a) 2015 and (b) 2020; and if he will make a statement. [227036]

Mr. Quentin Davies: There are 594 aircraft in the military helicopter fleet, excluding helicopters which the Ministry of Defence operates but does not own. Given that the majority of the helicopters in our current fleets have out of service dates prior to 2015, and that investment decisions are yet to be taken regarding the extension of the service life of existing airframes and the procurement of new helicopters, it is not possible to predict with any certainty the number and type of helicopters which will be in service in 2015 or 2020.

Northern Ireland Security Guard Service

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made with the review of the Northern Ireland Security Guard Service; and when he expects the review to be completed. [228886]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The review of the Northern Ireland Security Guard Service is currently under consideration in Headquarters Northern Ireland and 38 (Irish) Brigade and will be completed by the end of the year. The trade unions will be consulted on the findings and recommendations of the review.


Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there are plans to create a European Union-led naval task force to combat piracy. [226837]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Ministers from the Departments responsible for countering piracy have recently agreed that HMG should take a more proactive stance on dealing with this issue, recognising that this will be best achieved with international partners including NATO, the EU and coalition forces already in the Gulf of Aden.

We continue to work with our EU partners on measures to implement UNSCRs 1816 and 1838. In September we supported the establishment of an EU cell that aims to co-ordinate military escorts to World Food Programme shipping. We have also supported EU planning for a counter-piracy naval operation off the coast of Somalia, and on 14 October the EU Political and Security Committee decided to accept the offer made by the UK to provide the Operation Commander (Rear Admiral Phil Jones) and the Operation HQ (the Multinational Headquarters at Northwood).

A formal decision from the EU member states to allow planning for the operation to proceed to the next stage is expected in the next ten days. We have made it clear that the UK offer is conditional on sufficient
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forces being generated for the mission to be effective. Current estimates are for the operation to be launched towards the end of 2008, probably in December, once force generation and detailed planning is complete.

The key task of the operation will be to ensure the safe delivery of World Food Programme and other vital humanitarian deliveries to Somalia, but also to deter attacks on European and other shipping. EU partners are agreed that the ESDP operation is closely co-ordinated with other actors in the region, including Combined Task Force150 and NATO.

The ESDP operation will not solve the long-term problems of Somalia which are the root causes of piracy, and we will continue working with our international partners to restore governance.

RAF Menwith Hill: Security

Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to the Ministry of Defence Police was of the policing of the area around RAF Menwith Hill by the Armed Response Team and the Counter Terrorist Unit in each year from 2001 to 2007. [228386]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I am withholding the cost of the Ministry of Defence police (MDP) deployed at RAF Menwith Hill for the purpose of safeguarding national security.


Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was claimed in expenses for taxi travel by officials from (a) his Department and (b) its executive agencies in (i) 2006-07, (ii) 2005-06, (iii) 2004-05, (iv) 2003-04 and (v) 2002-03; and if he will make a statement. [227052]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Staff may use taxis where it is the most cost-effective and economical way of conducting business travel. Because of the way expense data are recorded, the Department is not able to identify expense claims for taxi travel without disproportionate cost.


Departmental Pay

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many non-pensionable bonuses were awarded to members of staff in his Department in the last 12 months; and at what total cost. [226433]

Mr. Paul Murphy: During the last year my Department has awarded a total of six non-pensionable bonuses to staff at a cost of £5,250.00


Departmental Correspondence

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many (a) e-mails, (b) telephone calls and (c) letters from members of the public his Department has responded to since May 2007. [227643]

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Ann McKechin: Since 1 May 2007 the Scotland Office has received over 2,200 pieces of correspondence for reply. The office also deals with an average of 3,000 other pieces of correspondence each year. The office does not record separately how each piece of correspondence was received or responded to. Separate records of telephone calls are not kept.

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