|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Kevan Jones: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1542-43W, by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Armed Forces, to the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps).
Mr. Kevan Jones: MOD budget managers are required to retain the original claim forms for the reimbursement of official entertainment, and supporting evidence, for a minimum of seven financial years. The supporting evidence will show where authorisation has been given for both the consumption of alcohol at public expense and any incidental expenditure (such as service charges).
Expenditure on official entertainment is recorded as a single discrete item in the MODs Chart of Accounts (Joint Service Publication 530) and reported annually in the MODs Departmental Resource Accounts, most recently on page 298 of the Annual Report and Accounts 2007-08 (HC 850-1).
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) listening exercises and (b) public forums his Department has held in each of the last two years; what the (i) purpose and (ii) cost was in each case; which private contractors were contracted in respect of such exercises; and how much each was paid. 
Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people have joined his Department in a (a) civilian and (b) military capacity in each of the last three years, broken down by service. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: Information on intake of civilian personnel in each of the last three financial years can be found in Table 2.33 of UKDS 2008Intake and Outflow of Civilian Personnel. This information can be found at:
Information on intake from civil life to the UK regular forces personnel in each of the last three financial years can be found in Table 2.19 of UKDS 2008Intake to UK Regular Forces by Service and Sex. This information can be found at:
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which projects his Department has commissioned from (a) think tanks and (b) charities in each of the last two years for which figures are available; what the aim of each project was; which think tank or charity was commissioned in each case; and how much was paid. 
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 27 October 2008, Official Report, columns 631-32W, on departmental temporary employment, how many staff were recruited through each company in each year; and for how long on average staff recruited through these companies worked for the Department in each year. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: I am withholding the information requested as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interests. It is departmental policy that temporary staff can be engaged for periods of up to 11 months only.
Mr. Hutton: Information on casualties has only been centrally compiled since 2001 and it is therefore not possible to identify UK Service personnel injured during the Gulf War 1990-91 without incurring disproportionate cost.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any of the Jaish-al-Mahdi prisoners released under the prisoner release scheme agreed by the British Army and the Iraqi Government had been involved in attacks on British forces. 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 8 December 2008]: Under UN Security Council Resolution 1546 and subsequent resolutions, UK forces in Iraq are authorised to detain persons whom they judge to represent an imperative threat to security. This could include members of groups which may have been involved in attacks against Iraqi or coalition forces or have been planning such attacks.
For all individuals detained by UK forces, the decision to release was taken by the Divisional Internment Review Committee on the basis that these individuals no longer represented an imperative threat to security. We do not comment on cases or circumstances relating to individual detainees.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the Answer to the hon. Member for North East Milton Keynes of 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1554W, on the Joint Force Harrier, where the harmony records for the Joint Force Harrier are kept. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Harmony records for the Joint Force Harrier are not held centrally. Deployment records for individual personnel are held on the Joint Personnel Administration system. Translating these into exact Harmony records for units could be done only at disproportionate cost.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance issued to commanders in relation to (a) detention of pirates and (b) applications for asylum by pirates detained on Royal Navy vessels. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 8 December 2008]: Commanding officers of Royal Navy ships are issued with guidance on the applicable law and principles relating to the handling and detention of those suspected of committing offences on the high seas. I am withholding this information as it would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.
With respect to applications for asylum, I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Veterans gave on 20 November 2008, Official Report, column 669W, to the hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Jenkin).
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance Royal Navy personnel (a) have been and (b) will be given in (i) the impact of human rights legislation on the ability to transfer captured pirates to other countries, including their own, (ii) the prospect of such captives claiming rights and benefits in the United Kingdom and (iii) whether to take pirates into captivity on Royal Navy vessels. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Commanding Officers of Royal Navy ships are issued with guidance on the applicable law and principles relating to the handling and detention of those suspected of committing offences on the high seas. More detailed guidance, specific to the particular operations or circumstances, is issued when required.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Terma self-defence suite will be part of the initial operating capability of Tornados deployed on Operation Herrick from 1 April 2009. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 8 December 2008]: The Department has a policy of not commenting on the details of its defensive aids capabilities. The release of this information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the Answer to the hon. Member for North East Milton Keynes of 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1559-60W, on Tornado GR4, whether the interim Paveway IV capability will have been integrated onto the Tornado before its deployment of Operation Herrick. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 8 December 2008]: I am withholding the information requested as its release would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.
Mr. Hutton: There are currently two Vanguard Class submarines in the operational fleet, which will be joined next year by a third boat on completion of sea trials following a Long Overhaul Period (Refuel) (LOP(R)). The fourth boat is currently undergoing a LOP(R).
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the Prime Ministers Answer to the hon. Member for Billericay of 14 November 2007, Official Report, column 664, what measures the Government have taken to reconsider the atomic test veterans claim in light of the most recent scientific evidence. 
Mr. Kevan Jones:
We have a responsibility to investigate all new research regarding the possibility of any harmful health effects of the nuclear tests we have carried out in the past. The Government have, therefore, studied the most recent scientific evidence from Massey University New Zealand on genetic damage in a group of Royal New Zealand Navy participants in the British nuclear tests. The study report expressly states that its findings throw no light on health effects. The Governments position remains the same, as previously stated, in relation to the common law claim brought by a group of veterans and deceased veterans dependants or beneficiaries,
of the UK's nuclear weapon testing programme. A preliminary trial on limitation is due to commence at the High Court on 19 January 2009.
The wider published peer-reviewed epidemiological evidence to date has not demonstrated a general link between ill-health and participation in the tests. In the event, the vast majority of participants in the UK nuclear weapons trials did not receive any recorded dose of ionising radiation. Some participants received doses that were not significantly above zero. A very few individuals, because of their specialist roles, received higher dose levels, but within the safety limits appropriate at the time. Where the health of these participants has been affected by their service, we pay compensation under our no-fault compensation arrangements.
I am determined to ensure that all avenues of research are looked at. I am therefore pleased to report that I had a constructive meeting with the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association (BNTVA) in late October to discuss the possibility of a new MOD study into health issues, particularly in relation to offspring. My officials are now in discussion with the BNTVA and scientific advisers on the scientific and ethical issues relevant to a further study. I am hopeful that I will be able to make an announcement early in the new year.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what dates the central fire service advisory committee has met since it was established; what the main outcomes were of such meetings; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Khan: The Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council was set up under section 29 of the Fire Services Act 1947. The council was abolished under section 51 of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004. The information requested could be collated only at disproportionate cost.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 25 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1276-77W, on regeneration: coastal areas, which central Government Departments were involved in the Coastal Town Network (CTN); how many times the CTN met; at what level each department was represented; and which local authorities were represented. 
John Healey: Officials from six Departments (BERR, CLG, DCMS, DEFRA, DIUS and DWP) have been involved in the work of the Coastal Towns Network (CTN) so far. The CTN has met twice to date: in July and October 2008, with the next meeting planned for January 2009. Central Government Departments are represented at deputy director (Grade 5) and senior management (Grades 6 or 7) levels.
The city of Brighton and Hove and Kent county council attended the first meeting of the Network in Brighton. East Lindsey district council, Boston district council and Lincolnshire county council attended the Network's second meeting in Skegness.
Local authorities are also represented at the meetings through bodies like the British Resorts and Destinations Association, the Coastal Communities Alliance and the BURABritish Urban Regeneration AssociationSeaside Network.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what records her Department maintains of its expenditure on (a) official hospitality and (b) alcohol for official hospitality. 
Mr. Khan: All expenditure on official hospitality is recorded on the Departments finance system. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 30 October 2008, Official Report, column 1261W, to the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald).
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations she has received from fire fighters on their status as statutory consultees on flooding emergencies. 
Mr. Khan: Following the extensive floods during the summer of 2007 Sir Ken Knight, Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser conducted a review into the response of the fire and rescue service to the floods, and Sir Michael Pitt conducted a wide-ranging, independent review into floods. During the course of these two reviews and ensuing work, many representations were received from the fire and rescue service, including the Chief Fire Officers Association and the Fire Brigades Union. The two reviews were published earlier this year. The Governments response to Sir Michaels report is expected to be published shortly.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|