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Army: Finance

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated capitation cost for a (a) regular infantry battalion and (b) regular infantry brigade was in the latest period for which information is available. [234052]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 10 November 2008]: The estimated annual capitation costs for an infantry battalion ranges between £19 million and £22 million depending on the battalion's role. This has been calculated using the capitation rates for financial year 2008-09; and covers the pay, national insurance and pension contribution costs incurred by the Department.

Brigades are either Light (including Air Assault and Commando), Mechanised or Armoured. All brigades deploy with infantry, but also include a range of other capabilities, which will vary according to requirements of specific operations. Capitation costs for a regular infantry brigade are therefore not readily available.

Colombia: Armed Forces

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any of the personnel of the 15th Santander Infantry Battalion of the Colombian Army have received British training; and if he will make a statement. [234301]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: As I have made clear in previous answers, the Ministry of Defence does not provide training to whole units such as the 15th Santander Infantry Battalion of the Colombian Army. It is possible, however, that individuals trained by the UK in human rights and humanitarian demining have gone on to serve in any part of the Colombian armed forces, including in this battalion.

Defence: Procurement

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what his latest estimate is of expenditure for urgent operational requirements in 2008-09; [234037]

(2) with reference to the answer of 2 June 2008, Official Report, column 679W, on departmental finance, by what means the figure of (a) £900 million for urgent operational requirements for 2008-09 referred to in the Answer and (b) £1,065 million referred to in paragraph 7 of the Government's response to the Defence Committee's Report on the Ministry of Defence Main Estimates 2008-09 was calculated; what the reasons are for the difference in the figures; and if he will make a statement. [234191]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The £900 million figure referred to for urgent operational requirements (UORs) was agreed with HM Treasury in autumn 2007 as the estimate for Reserve expenditure on UORs in FY 2008-09. This estimate was based on a forecast of UOR rates along with the known UOR pipeline of requirements.

We agreed at the time that any predicted spend from FY 2007-08 that did not accrue in year should be allowed in FY 2008-09 in addition to the £900 million without penalty.

Later, in the Main Estimate, we predicted our overall cash requirement, having taken into account some predicted rollover, as £1,065 million.

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The latest estimate for UOR expenditure for FY 2008-09 is around £l billion. This falls comfortably within the prediction.

Departmental Internet

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) hits and (b) visitors his Department’s website received in the 2007-08 financial year. [232969]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Ministry of Defence and armed forces collectively maintain four corporate websites. Statistics for the period 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008 are as follows:

FY 2007-08
Website URL Page hits (views) Unique visitors

MOD corporate website



Royal Navy



British Army



Royal Air Force



Page hits (views) are provided, rather than hits, as they are a more accurate metric.

Departmental Public Relations

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies spent on each of the external public relations and marketing companies included in the Central Office of Information’s Public Relations Framework in each of the last 36 months. [221943]

Mr. Hutton: As with all goods and services procured by the MOD, when buying in external public relations and marketing services, robust principles are applied which include securing best value for money; ensuring probity and accountability; enabling competition wherever possible; and ensuring compliance with the relevant provisions of UK and EU law.

Specifically in relation to external public relations and marketing services, the MOD has made payments to the following company in the Public Relations Framework as follows:

Biss Lancaster








These figures exclude VAT, and are rounded to the nearest £10,000. They reflect transactions made by the MOD’s central Financial Management Shared Service Centre, which handles about 95 per cent. of all MOD payments. Payments not included are those which may have been made (a) on behalf of other Government Departments, (b) by the MOD’s trading funds (which lie outside the MOD’s accounting boundary), (c) locally by the Department, or (d) in relation to collaborative projects where the payments are made through international procurement agencies or overseas Governments.

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EU Battlegroups: Military Exercises

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many members of 4 Rifles have completed the EU Battlegroup certification process; and (a) on what date and (b) at what location the certification exercise took place; [234754]

(2) how many members of 4 Rifles participated in the Druid's Dance exercise between 28 April and 18 May 2008. [234755]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: 607 members of 4 Battalion The Rifles (4 Rifles) have recently completed the EU Battlegroup certification process. The process comprises a Unit/Battlegroup combined arms formation exercise (Druid's Dance) which was completed between 1 September and 21 September on Salisbury Plain Training Area and a Unit/Battlegroup validation exercise (FIRST FLIGHT) which was conducted between 30 September and 1 October at the Joint Air Mounting Centre, South Cerney.

No members of 4 Rifles participated in exercise Druid's Dance between 28 April and 18 May 2008.


Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on a military application for the Galileo global satellite navigational system. [230243]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The UK has no military requirement for Galileo, which is a civil system under civil control.


Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which vehicles make up the Talisman project currently subject to an urgent operational requirement; and what the in-service date of the project is. [232770]

Mr. Quentin Davies: Talisman is a project which will deliver a system of vehicles, sensors and techniques to counter improvised explosive devices. In doing this, the system will better enable safe movement along routes in Afghanistan.

Initially the system will include three vehicle types: Mastiff, Buffalo and High Mobility Engineer Excavator.

Talisman is scheduled for initial fielding during late 2009, although its development will continue beyond that point.

Royal Military Academy

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the capacity for (a) regular and (b) Territorial Army commissions at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst was in each year since 2001; and how many places were unfilled in each year. [234317]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information requested is shown in the following table.

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Financial year Statement of trained requirement Output from training


















































The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) is resourced to train the number of officers needed to meet the Army’s manpower liability each year—this figure is known as the statement of training requirement (SOTR) and is set by the Director of Manning (Army). The total bed space capacity at RMAS for regular and TA officer cadets is 1,100.

Warrior Armoured Vehicle

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many injuries to service personnel have resulted from the Warrior chain gun firing undemanded since 2000. [234979]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There have been four confirmed cases of the Warrior chain gun firing un-demanded since 2000. One of these cases resulted in an injury to a serviceman.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Research

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research he has made of the adequacy of levels of Government spending on research into agriculture and the food chain. [233869]

Jane Kennedy: DEFRA has recently commissioned a study “Survey of external capabilities to meet DEFRA’s strategic aims” which is considering capability needs now and into the future, across the breadth of the Department’s research requirements. Earlier this year, a one-day Agriculture Research Funding Conference and an Evidence Strategy Workshop run for DEFRA’s Chief Scientific Adviser brought together key stakeholders,
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agriculture, food and environmental research scientists and funders. The study report together with recommendations from these workshops will be used to influence future planning and strategic evidence management and the revision of DEFRA’s Evidence and Innovation Strategy.

Agriculture: Waste Disposal

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the sum received from farmers by the Environment Agency for (a) disposal of agricultural waste, (b) groundwater authorisation for disposal of sheep dip and pesticides and (c) integrated pollution prevention control for pig and poultry units above the specified thresholds in each of the last three years; what estimate he has made of the proportion of farm income paid in such fees in each year; and if he will make a statement. [232989]

Jane Kennedy: The Environment Agency has registered more than 600,000 agricultural waste exemptions at an estimated 91,000 farms which are not subject to a fee.

Groundwater authorisations relate to agricultural activities such as the disposal of used sheep dip or pesticide washings. The number of authorisations is decreasing due to changes in farmers’ practice. The Environment Agency received the following in each of the last three years in England:








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