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13 Nov 2008 : Column 1298W—continued

Defence Equipment

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in respect of which models of Royal Air Force vehicles his Department has plans to retro-fit (a) explosion suppressant foam and (b) other risk-reducing technologies. [233575]

Mr. Quentin Davies [holding answer 6 November 2008]: Explosion Suppressant foam (ESF) is one form of fuel tank inerting (FTI). The other method is the introduction of inert gas to the fuel tank's air cavity, reducing oxygen levels and minimising the potential for explosive ignition of vapours. FTI is already fitted to some aircraft types within the Royal Air Force, including the C130s, and there are plans in place to fit a number of other aircraft types. In addition, the Department is considering its
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response to the recommendations made by the coroner at the conclusion of the inquest into the loss of Hercules flight XV179.

All aircraft deployed into operational theatres are fitted with defensive aids suites features commensurate with the assessment of the threat faced and the role of the aircraft.

I am withholding information pertaining to the fitting of specific survivability features to individual aircraft types as their disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Department of Community Mental Health

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many new referrals to each Department of Community Mental Health there have been in each year since 2003. [234923]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Ministry of Defence’s 15 military Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMHs) across the UK (plus satellite centres in Cyprus and Germany) provide out-patient mental health care for members of the armed forces. The Department does not hold centrally data on DCMH attendance prior to January 2007 and the data for 2008 are in the process of being validated. Therefore the figures in the following table relate to the calendar year of 2007 only.

DCMH New attendances in 2007

Aldershot

394

Brize Norton

654

Catterick

720

Colchester

340

Cranwell

239

Cyprus

81

Donnington

385

Faslane

178

Germany

578

Haslar

306

HQNI

145

Kinloss

166

Leuchars

155

Marham

211

Plymouth

488

Tidworth

379

Woolwich

228

Total

5,647


These figures record all new attendances at DCMHs (i.e. people who have not attended a DCMH previously), and therefore does not include those who were receiving ongoing treatment which started prior to January 2007. The figures include all people who attended a DCMH appointment, not all of whom will have been subsequently diagnosed to have a mental disorder.

Data from the Defence Analysis and Statistical Advice (DASA) Psychiatric Morbidity Report indicate that during 2007 3,917 personnel were identified as having been diagnosed with a mental disorder. This equates to 69.4 per cent. of those who attended an appointment at a DCMH.


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Departmental Conditions of Employment

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of employees in his Department (a) are on a flexible working contract, (b) are on a job share employment contract and (c) work from home for more than four hours per week. [233828]

Mr. Kevan Jones: As at 1 October 2008, 10.1 per cent. of civilian staff work part-time (this figure excludes personnel in Trading Funds, locally engaged civilians, and Royal Fleet Auxiliary staff). The level of detail required on alternative working patterns is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

It is MOD policy that all civilian employees can apply to work flexibly, e.g. part-time, job share, staggered hours compressed hours e.g. nine day fortnight or four day week. Managers are encouraged to agree requests whenever possible.

Departmental Lighting

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many energy saving light bulbs his Department has (a) used and (b) bought in each of the last five years. [233134]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The quantity of energy saving light bulbs bought for use in ships and temporary accommodation for each of the last five years is in the following table. These figures do not include light bulbs bought for accommodation or buildings, which are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Quantity

2004

(1)

2005

11,800

2006

2,510

2007

27,160

2008

8,360

(1) Not held centrally.

Usage figures are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Recruitment

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people recruited by his Department in 2007-08 were aged over (a) 55 years and (b) 60 years; and what percentage this represented of the number of new recruits in each case. [235247]

Mr. Kevan Jones: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 6 November 2008, Official Report, column 674W to the hon. Member for Upper Bann (David Simpson).

Future Surface Combatant

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Future Surface Combatant programme is expected to go through the initial gate phase; and when the first vessel is expected to enter service with the Royal Navy. [235648]


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Mr. Quentin Davies: On current plans, the Future Surface Combatant programme is scheduled to achieve initial gate approval in mid-2009, after which it will enter its assessment phase. The first of the vessels is currently expected to enter service late in the next decade.

HMS Illustrious

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel from HMS Illustrious went absent without leave in each of the last 12 months. [234918]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The following table shows absence without leave (AWOL) from HMS Illustrious in each of the last 12 months:

AWOL

November 2007

1

December 2007

0

January 2008

1

February 2008

0

March 2008

0

April 2008

1

May 2008

0

June 2008

2

July 2008

1

August 2008

0

September 2008

1

October 2008

0

Notes:
1. Formal absenteeism (AWOL) is recorded by the Royal Navy once an individual has been absent for more than 24 hours.
2. The Royal Navy records AWOL statistics by the number of incidences of AWOL rather than the number of people who have gone AWOL. The figures could therefore include repeat offenders.

Morocco: Armed Forces

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what agreements his Department has with the government of Morocco on training facilities; and whether any facilities included in the agreement are in the Western Sahara. [235119]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Governments of the United Kingdom and Morocco signed a Joint Accord on Technical and Military Co-operation in 1993 under which the two countries conduct bi-lateral military co-operation including training. This arrangement does not specify what facilities are used in Morocco and does not cover the territory of Western Sahara. The British armed forces do not conduct bi-lateral military activity with Western Sahara, the status of which is yet to be determined by the UN.

Nuclear Weapons: Finance

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent estimate he has made of the total life cycle costs of (a) the Polaris/Chevaline and (b) the Trident nuclear deterrent systems, expressed in current cost equivalents and broken down by category. [234203]

Mr. Hutton: The Polaris/Chevaline system was replaced as the UK's strategic nuclear deterrent capability by the Trident system in the mid-1990s. Consequently, no recent
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estimate has been made of the costs of Polaris and the information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The costs of the current Trident nuclear deterrent are estimated at around £15.7 billion for acquisition at 2008-09 prices and around £19.3 billion on the same price basis for in-service costs from entry into service until final disposal.

These estimates exclude the costs of the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

Work and Pensions

Children: Maintenance

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what average length of time was taken to restart child maintenance payments after the death of a parent with care in the latest period for which figures are available. [229579]

Kitty Ussher [holding answer 23 October 2008]: I have consulted with the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission who have confirmed that the information requested is not available. However provisions under the Child Support Act 1991 ensure there is no break in payment where a new application is made within eight weeks.

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which interactions with the tax and benefits systems will alert staff to draw attention to parents with care of the child maintenance to which they are entitled. [232492]

Kitty Ussher [holding answer 3 November 2008]: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have therefore asked the Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in what proportion of Child Support Agency (CSA) cases the non-resident parent was not compliant with the maintenance award calculated by the CSA at the latest date for which information is available. [233863]


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Kitty Ussher: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have therefore asked the Commissioner to write to my right hon. Friend with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:


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