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17 Nov 2008 : Column 144W—continued

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for which Government websites his Department is responsible; how many visitors each received in the last period for which figures are available; and what the cost of maintaining each site was in that period. [235035]

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

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17 Nov 2008 : Column 146W
Website URL Cost FY 2007-08 (£) Visitors

Acquisition Operating Framework


3.376 million page requests for FY 2008-09 to date

Admiralty Leisure

Included in cost for UKHO

75,656 October 2007 to October 2008

Army Fit


2,128,812 (page views)

Army Online



British Army



British Army Jobs


27,978,203 (page views)

British Forces Post Office





859,146 (page views)

Chief Scientific Advisor



Competition of Ideas



Grand Challenge



Counter Terrorism Centre


17,123 (over last 12 months)

DCSA Catalogue (now ICS Catalogue) (

£881.90 (does not include staff costs)

80,000 page requests for the one page where a 'hit counter' is installed

Defence Academy

£17,250 (31 October 2007 to November 2008)


Defence Analytical Services Agency

£21,600 (does not include staff costs)

22,693 (August to October 2008)

Defence Dynamics(2)

£22,000 (1 October 2007 to 31 March 2008)

1,549,220 (number of 'hits' 1 October 2007 to 31 March 2008)

Defence Engineering and Science Group



Defence Estates

Included in costs for

Site averages 2,000 hits per day since September

Defence Export Services Organisation



Defence Image Database



Defence Science and Technology Laboratory


624,611 (over last 12 months)

Defence Support Group(3)

£23,333 April to October 2008

25,329 April to October 2008

Disposal Services Authority



Met Office


232,938,512 (page views)

Ministry of Defence



MOD Procurement Portal



National Army Museum (NAM)



National Employer Advisory Board

£28,975 (staff costs not included)





Royal Navy



Service Children's Education


10,360,831 (This is number of 'hits' for November 2007 to October 2008)

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency






UK Defence Standardisation

£3,608 (1 January to 31 May 2008)

84,193 (1 January to 31 May 2008))

UK Hydrographic Office

£197,568 FY 2008-09

373,077 October 2007 to October 2008

Admiralty charts and publications

Included in cost for UKHO

48,191 October 2007 to October 2008

Schools—Defence Dynamics



n/a = Not available. (1 )Not applicable. (2) The Defence Dynamics site launched in October 2007; figures provided are from 1 October 2007 to 31 March 2008 and do not include the cost of the original site build or the cost of producing lessons to be displayed on the site as these are not considered to be site ‘maintenance' expenses. (3) Defence Support Group (DSG) was born of the merger of ABRO and DARA on 1 April 2008. (The annualised cost of maintaining the site is estimated at £40,000)

EC Defence Policy

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his French counterpart on the creation of (a) a separate EU military headquarters and (b) a European rapid reaction force. [234219]

Mr. Hutton: I have had no discussions with my French counterpart on either of these points.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the UK’s share of the approved budget for EUFOR Tchad/CAR is according to the EU’s Special Committee ATHENA; and how much had been paid as of 10 November 2008. [235433]

Mr. Hutton: The UK’s share of the approved budget for EUFOR Tchad/CAR according to the EU’s ATHENA financing mechanism, is 17.14 per cent.; as of 10 November 2008 the UK has paid £13.9 million.

EU Carrier Group

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on participation in the EU Carrier Group; which (a) Royal Navy and (b) Fisheries Protection Squadron vessels he expects to participate in the Group's activities; and if he will make a statement. [235563]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: My right hon. Friend, Baroness Taylor, the Minister, with responsibility for international defence and security with responisbility attended the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council on 10 November where she signed the declaration of intent to establish a European Carrier Group Interoperability Initiative on behalf of the UK.

This is a high level declaration of intent aiming to increase interoperability between countries operating aircraft carriers or with naval vessels able to support carrier operations. There is no intention to create a standing carrier group and as such no standing commitment of either Royal Navy or fishery protection vessels is envisaged.

Ex-servicemen: Mental Health

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will include a mental health assessment in discharge medical reports for retiring servicemen and women. [233653]

Mr. Kevan Jones: A discharge medical assessment is undertaken 90 days prior to discharge. This detailed examination is undertaken by a doctor and the results are recorded on an F Med 1 form. The F Med 1 contains a specific assessment of the mental capacity and emotional stability of the individual. A re-assessment is carried out at seven days prior to discharge to ensure there have been no changes.

A summary of each individual’s medical history whilst in the armed forces, including the results of the discharge medical, is contained in an F Med 133 form which is given to the individual to pass on to their civilian GP. The F Med 133 also contains information on how the GP can gain access to the individual’s complete service medical records if required.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answers of 3 September 2007, Official Report, column 1632W and 6 November 2008, Official Report, columns 677-78W, when the decision was taken to extend the service life of the Type 22 and Type 23 Frigates; how much such an extension to their service lives will cost; and if he will make a statement. [235645]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 13 November 2008]: Adjustments either to extend or shorten the assumed service lives of the Royal Navy’s Type 22 and Type 23 Frigates have been made in several recent planning rounds. In most cases the financial impact of these adjustments has fallen beyond the planning period in question and hence the net cost or saving to the defence budget has not been estimated in any detail.

Gulf of Aden: Piracy

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment his Department has made of the risks to UK-flagged merchant vessels from piracy in the Gulf of Aden. [235845]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Government's stance on piracy has moved to a more proactive stance where Royal Navy units are conducting counter-piracy missions through Combined Task Force 150, NATO and the forthcoming EU mission. Advice and guidance to UK-flagged merchant ships is issued by the Department for Transport. We continue actively to monitor the situation through our units in the region, the UK Maritime Trade Organisation in Dubai and the UK Maritime Component Command Headquarters in Bahrain.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether representatives of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces have held meetings with Jaish-al-Mahdi independently of the Iraqi government during 2008; [236122]

(2) pursuant to the Answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, column 304W, on Iraq: peacekeeping operations, whether the discussions with representatives of Jaish-al-Mahdi included the matter of prisoner release. [236210]

Mr. Hutton: In 2007, with the full knowledge and support of our Coalition partners and the Iraqi
17 Nov 2008 : Column 147W
Government, UK forces conducted a dialogue with a range of militia leaders in Basra, including Jaish al-Mahdi. All discussions between UK forces and unreconciled groups have been conducted as part of the shared reconciliation strategy of the Coalition and the Government of Iraq and this national reconciliation strategy includes a scheme for prisoner release. Across Iraq, dialogue continues between the Coalition, the Government of Iraq and unreconciled groups.

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