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30 Oct 2008 : Column 1224W—continued

A small number of staff have opted out of joining any of the available Civil Service pension schemes; currently 11 (2 per cent.) in DCMS and 7 (7.5 per cent.) in The Royal Parks.

Sport England: Public Appointments

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 14 October 2008, Official Report, column 1206W, on Sport England: public appointments, what the reason is for the most recent delay in appointing a new chairman of Sport England; and if he will make a statement. [230767]

Andy Burnham [holding answer 27 October 2008]: We have decided to recruit a deputy chair to support the chair. Due to the complementary nature of these roles, the chair appointment has been delayed to allow a single competition process. Both of these posts will be ministerial appointments regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, and appointed through open competition. Both posts have now been advertised.

The chair and deputy chair will play a critical role in delivering the new Sport England strategy, which aims to build the foundation of sporting success through the creation of a world leading community sports system.


John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many community amateur sports clubs there are in (a) Bassetlaw constituency, (b) Nottinghamshire and (c) England. [224912]

Mr. Timms: I have been asked to reply.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have removed one club from the Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) register in the last six months following the club's dissolution.

HMRC do not separately identify CASCs by constituency. As of 30 October 2008, according to HMRC records, there are 78 registered CASCs with a Nottinghamshire postcode.

At the end of August 2008 there were 4,965 sports clubs registered with HMRC as CASCs. A list of registered clubs is published on the HMRC website at

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HMRC does not hold figures on numbers of CASC registrations broken down by sport.


Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the (a) total payload and (b) flexibility of the weapons system of the (i) Tornado aircraft to be deployed in Afghanistan and (ii) Harrier aircraft to be withdrawn from Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [231749]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: A comprehensive assessment has been made of the relative capabilities of the Tornado and Harrier Weapons Systems in terms of payload and flexibility. Both aircraft have similar capability and are fully capable of meeting all of their commitments in Afghanistan.

Armed Forces: Electoral Register

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of service personnel in (a) the Army, (b) the Royal Navy and (c) the Royal Air Force are registered to vote. [231468]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The information requested is contained in the Service Voting Survey 2007 Report which was placed in the Library of the House on 7 July 2008.

Armed Forces: Financial Services

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what financial support or advice is available to armed services personnel in financial difficulty or debt. [231400]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Where service personnel find themselves facing financial difficulty the chain of command, welfare officers and pay staff can offer general guidance and signposting to specialist support agencies where appropriate. Each of the services also offers similar support through the single service websites. The MOD is currently working with the Financial Services Authority to ensure that all service personnel receive financial awareness training.

In addition, the Minimum Drawing Rate ensures that deductions from pay cannot reduce a service person's monthly pay beneath a minimum level. With the introduction of Pay as You Dine, measures are in place to ensure that three meals a day are always available to those facing financial difficulties.

Armed Forces: Housing

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel in (a) single living and (b) service family accommodation have defaulted on their rent payments in the last 12 months. [231401]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Charges for accommodation for service personnel are deducted from an individual’s pay at source, therefore it is not possible to default on rent payments.

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Non-service personnel who occupy service accommodation are billed directly but this information is not held centrally and it would incur disproportionate cost to identify how many have defaulted on rent payments.

Armed Forces: International Cooperation

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the NATO-supported centres of excellence in (a) joint air power competence, (b) defence against terrorism, (c) naval mine warfare, (d) combined joint operations from the sea, (e) civil military operations, (f) cold weather operations, (g) joint chemical biological radiation and nuclear defence, (h) air operations analysis and simulation and (i) command and control. [230576]

Mr. Hutton: We sponsor and provide personnel to those COE that generate a capability that we are unable to create in-country or within the existing NATO framework and that are of particular benefit to the UK. Occasionally, we provide UK expertise for limited periods of time to those COE that provide useful capability but which we are unable to support as a full MOU signatory.

HQ Allied Command Transformation is responsible for COE accreditation and oversight. However, we require all UK personnel posted to COE to provide regular reports to the lead organisation within the MOD on the activities and the operational value of the COE. These reports are used to determine future levels of UK commitment.

Currently we support the Joint Air Competence, Defence Against Terrorism, Combined Joint Operations from the Sea and Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiation and Nuclear Defence COE but not the Civil Military Operations, Naval Mine Warfare, Cold Weather Operations, Air Operations Analysis and Simulation and Command and Control COE.

Armed Forces: Young People

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to ensure that parents or responsible adults are consulted before the recruitment of minors to the armed services; and what procedures are in place to ensure such consultation takes place in circumstances where the parents of the minor have separated. [230986]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: During the recruit selection process staff at the armed forces careers offices provide comprehensive written and verbal guidance to all potential recruits, in particular those under 18 years of age, and their parents regarding their terms of service and rights to discharge. Parents/guardians of applicants aged under 18 are required to complete a formal written consent form before the young person can apply to join and again before the applicant can enter service. The detailed conditions for applicants who are under 18 years of age are:

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Arms Trade

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the establishment of common international standards for the export, import and transfer of conventional arms. [228172]

Bill Rammell: I have been asked to reply.

The Government are strongly in favour of establishing common international standards for the export, import and transfer of conventional arms. That is why the UK has taken an international lead in establishing an Arms Trade treaty (ATT). Together with six other countries, we have been pressing for such a treaty to be agreed at the UN. At this year’s First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the UK has co-authored a resolution proposing further work at the UN in 2009 aimed at establishing an ATT. Achieving an ATT is a complex process, which will take time, but we have made good progress, and we will continue to work actively towards achieving our goal.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary launched a new phase of the UK’s campaign towards an ATT by hosting a meeting of key stakeholders from industry, civil society, academia and the media in London on 9 September. In addition, I hosted a briefing on 9 October for the London-based Diplomatic Corps setting out the Government’s support for an ATT and encouraging active international engagement in the UN process.

Departmental Civil Servants

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many civil servants were promoted in each year since 1998. [231461]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Prior to April 2005, data on the number of civil servants promoted in each year since 1998 were not held centrally. To provide the information would require asking Business Partners to trawl their records and this could be done only at disproportionate cost. The number of civil servants who were substantively promoted from April 2005 to date is shown in the following table:










Note: These figures do not include individuals who advance or progress within a pay band.

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Departmental Motor Vehicles

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what policies his Department has in place to support British motor manufacturers. [230424]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The Department's policy on the acquisition of vehicles, and motor trade assemblies/parts, is to seek best overall economic advantage in the supply arrangements. EC procurement rules prohibit preferential treatment of UK providers and MOD pursues the normal EC prescribed competitive route, where those rules apply.

The MOD does, however, consider wider economic factors, such as the effect on British industry, when looking at the options for significant purchases. The MOD also pursues a policy of maximum competition within the sub-contract supply chain with a view to incentivise innovation and maximise opportunities for small to medium enterprises.

Departmental NDPBs

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what funding has been agreed with each of his Department's non-departmental public bodies for the period 2008 to 2011. [229132]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Department has allocated the following levels of funding for the current financial year for the Department's non-departmental public bodies:


Royal Naval Museum


Royal Navy Submarine Museum


Royal Marines Museum


Fleet Air Arm Museum


National Army Museum


Royal Air Force Museum


Departmental Retirement

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many serving armed services personnel have taken voluntary early retirement in each year since 2001. [231399]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The number of trained UK Regular Forces service personnel who have taken early voluntary retirement is recorded in tables one to eight of TSP5 (UK Regular Forces Outflow From Trained Strength to Civil Life) as outflow type “Voluntary Outflow”.

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.


James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer to the right hon. Member for Horsham of 19 June 2008, Official Report,
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column 1187W, on Dorneywood: official hospitality, what use his Department has made of Dorneywood for official engagements in the last 12 months. [221939]

Mr. Kevan Jones: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office (Mr. Watson) on 20 October 2008, Official Report, column 90-91W.

EU Code of Conduct on Conventional Arms Transfers

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the EU Code of Conduct on Conventional Arms Transfers. [228171]

Bill Rammell: I have been asked to reply.

The Government believe that the EU Code of Conduct on Conventional Arms provides a robust and effective system for all member states of the EU to assess their strategic exports.

The Government are constantly reviewing application of the code, both domestically and by our EU partners. If cases come to light suggesting that the code is being interpreted inconsistently by our EU partners, the Government pursue this through discussions at the EU Council Working Group on Conventional Arms (COARM) in Brussels which is responsible for the implementation of the code of conduct. The development at COARM of the User’s Guide on the Code of Conduct (published in full in this year’s Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls), has helped to reduce the number of these cases.

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