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Departmental UK EM recruiting goals form part of the overall armed forces EM representation goal (8 per cent. by 2013). A new round of UK EM recruiting goals began in financial year 2006-07. From 1 April 2006, and for the next four years the goals were set at 0.5 per cent. above the previous year's achievement for each service, or rolling forward the previous year's target—whichever was higher. The UK EM recruiting goals for FY 2008-09 are therefore:

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many recruits to (a) each of the armed forces and (b) each regiment were from each socio-economic background in the latest period for which information is available. [232577]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: A person's socio-economic background is not relevant to service in the armed forces. As this information is not required, applicants are not questioned as to their socio-economic background, and no details are kept.

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take steps to (a) identify and (b) make special provision for care leavers entering HM Armed Services. [232611]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Where a care leaver under the age of 18 wishes to join the armed forces, the local authority will be required to sign the consent form in lieu of a parent. Where the individual is over the age of 18, they may choose to tell the armed forces but there is no obligation on them to do so.

The services recognise the local authority’s statutory responsibility to take reasonable steps to keep in touch, or to re-establish contact if lost, with their care leavers, up to the age of 21. They will forward correspondence from local authorities to the individuals concerned. Care leavers are offered the support of the single service welfare services who may also liaise with the appropriate local authority on their behalf if necessary, and given access, should they request it, to the responsible local authority’s services to which they are entitled.

In addition, an identified care leaver being discharged early (i.e. with the less than four years of service) will be classified as a potentially vulnerable service leaver and offered additional assistance with housing, employment and other support as required.

Armed Forces: Uniforms

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the tender process for the future cut and sew contract will begin. [233004]

Mr. Quentin Davies: Work for the cut and sew contract tendering process is already under way and the advertisement is likely to be placed in the European Journal and the Contracts Bulletin by early 2009.


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Armed Forces: Voting

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force personnel registered to vote in each year since 1997. [233056]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The information requested is not available prior to 2005. The following information was obtained from questionnaires sent to random samples of service personnel.

Percentage

Royal Navy Army RAF

2005

73

52

67

2006

84

51

72

2007

81

62

75


Armoured Fighting Vehicles: Procurement

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his Answer of 15 October 2008, Official Report, column 1248W, on armoured fighting vehicles: procurement, what plans his Department has to order military vehicles other than those of the models detailed in the Answer. [230158]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The Department has plans at varying degrees of maturity within its equipment programme to order various military vehicles. The most notable projects are Future Rapid Effects System, Operational Utility Vehicle System and Terrier Armoured Engineer Tractor. Additionally, I refer the hon. Member to the announcement on Protected Mobility vehicles to support current operations made by the Secretary of State for Defence on 29 October 2008.

Army: Self-mutilation

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the study of self-harm at Catterick barracks described in evidence to the Defence Select Committee in its Duty of Care inquiry 2004-05 was completed; what the conclusions and recommendations of the study were; and if he will place a copy in the Library. [232809]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I believe my hon. Friend is referring to a study into self-harm carried out by a clinical psychologist based at Catterick but looking at incidents across the whole Army. A final written report was not completed. However, in September 2007, the clinical psychologist briefed the Army Suicide Prevention Working Group on his findings.

Conventional Forces Europe Treaty

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the (a) status and (b) effectiveness of the Conventional Forces Europe Treaty. [232601]


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Mr. Hutton [holding answer 3 November 2008]: The United Kingdom, along with NATO allies, continues to honour all our obligations under the treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe (CFE) although Russia suspended its participation on 12 December 2007. With NATO allies, we therefore continue to promote engagement with Russia with a view to reaching an agreed way forward. Russia's actions in Georgia have called into question its commitment to the principles on which stability and security in Europe are based, principles which underpin the CFE regime. Nevertheless, with NATO allies, we remain firmly committed to the CFE treaty and wish to achieve the earliest possible entry into force of the Agreement on Adaptation.

The CFE treaty has enabled the unprecedented provision for information exchanges, on-site inspections (over 4 000 on-site inspections have been conducted) and on-site monitoring of the destruction of above limit equipment. It has reduced military capability across the treaty area (60,000 items of treaty limited equipment have been destroyed or removed from its area of application) and it has reduced the potential for surprise attack in the treaty area. The resulting transparency measures underpin European confidence and security building efforts.

Departmental Information and Communications Technology

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people are employed on the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) programme on overseas solutions (a) in the United Kingdom and (b) at each overseas location; and if he will make a statement. [232102]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) programme does not explicitly differentiate between those staff working on the solutions required to deliver to sites in the UK and overseas.

Given that the DII footprint extends to some 2,000 sites, providing a detailed breakdown of DII staff numbers by site, and/or location, could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) civilians, (b) serving members of the armed forces and (c) consultants (i) are and (ii) have been employed in the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) programme; and if he will make a statement. [232103]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The NAO report published 4 July 2008 noted the number of staff within the Department's Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) and Integrated Project Team (IPT) elements of the programme was 570. This comprised some 490 civilian and 80 serving military (rounded). The number of consultants employed in specific roles numbered around 180 (SRO and IPT combined). Staff employed by the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) delivery partner, the Atlas consortium, vary but are typically 2,800. A further 91 staff, civilians and serving military, were employed in the Department's top level budget areas, again as identified in the NAO report.

In order for the Ministry of Defence to calculate the total number of civilians, serving members of the armed forces and consultants that have ever worked on the
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Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) programme, the Department would need to take into account staff turnover, military rotation, delivery partner engagement and each contract that has been placed with consultancy firms; this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) programme in Kathmandu; when he expects the project to be completed; and if he will make a statement. [232108]

Mr. Quentin Davies: Kathmandu presents particular challenges for the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) programme given its remoteness from the UK mainland. The DII programme has already delivered an interim infrastructure to support the implementation of the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) application in Kathmandu and the Department assesses that the DII(F) solution can be completed by the end of 2009.

Departmental Liability

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what dates in each of the last five years his Department informed the House of the creation of contingent liabilities relating to his Department or its non-departmental public bodies. [232739]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Ministry of Defence informed the House of contingent liabilities on the following dates:

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

In addition, the Department informed the chairmen of the Public Accounts and House of Commons Defence Committees of a commercially sensitive contingent liability, which is no longer extant, on 28 November 2007.

Departmental Public Participation

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many citizens’ juries his Department has held since 1 July 2007; what the cost was of each; what issues were discussed at each event; and how many (a) Ministers and (b) members of the public attended each event. [227477]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Ministry of Defence has not arranged any citizens’ juries since 1 July 2007.


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Departmental Training

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what personal training courses at public expense he has undertaken since his appointment. [230958]

Mr. Hutton: Since taking up post on 3 October 2008 I have undertaken mandatory pre-deployment training in preparation for my recent visits to Iraq and Afghanistan.

EU Defence Policy

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on the establishment of a European army; and if he will make a statement. [232598]

Mr. Hutton: I have had no discussions with my European counterparts on the establishment of a European army. The UK’s policy remains that there will be no standing European army, navy or air force.

Ex-servicemen: Advisory Services

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what pilot studies have been established in England and Wales to offer assistance to former members of the armed forces on discharge. [232909]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Ministry of Defence delivers a range of support to its personnel both as they leave service and as veterans. To develop services further, pilot schemes are sometimes run to evaluate which offer the most appropriate support. Two current pilot schemes are:

Mentoring of Early Service Leavers (ESLs)—those who have served up to four years. It has been in progress at Catterick Garrison since June 2007. It aims to establish whether one-to-one ‘light touch’ mentoring improves the outcomes for ESLs six months after discharge. Outcomes to be measured include housing, employment and other forms of well-being. This pilot will conclude in 2009 before evaluation and a report published of its findings.

Community-based mental healthcare for veterans. This has been in progress, led by the Health departments and with the support of the ex-service charities, notably Combat Stress since November 2007. The participating sites in England and Wales, based at national health service (NHS) trusts, include Stafford, Camden and Islington, Bishop Auckland, Plymouth and Cardiff. Each site will run a service for veterans with mental health problems for two years. Core principles include delivery of evidence based interventions and development of a service which is accessible and acceptable to veterans. Following evaluation and publication of the findings decisions will be made on wider roll-out of the service.

Ex-servicemen: Criminal Records

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to publish or evaluate research on the number of criminal convictions of former members of the armed forces. [233045]


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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We plan to conduct new research on veterans in prison in 2009 and we would hope to be able to evaluate and publish some initial findings in the same year.

Ex-servicemen: Homelessness

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of homeless veterans in the UK; and what steps he is taking to protect vulnerable servicemen and women who have left the armed forces. [230762]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Independent research on the problem was commissioned from the University of York by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and their Third Sector partners in the Ex-Service Action Group on homelessness among veterans. The results of this research were published earlier this year and found that the percentage of veterans among London’s homeless population was 6 per cent. in 2007 compared with 22 per cent. in separate research in 1997.

The MOD works closely with the DCLG and other Government Departments, veterans’ organisations and other service providers to ensure a co-ordinated and structured approach to this problem as it affects a small minority of our ex-service personnel. We aim to prevent new service leavers becoming homeless and to provide an effective safety net for those veterans who are homeless. Current measures, including new commitments in the July 2008 Service Personnel Command Paper, include:


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