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12 Jan 2009 : Column 97W—continued

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many special advisers were employed in his Department at each pay band on 30 November 2008; and what his Department’s total expenditure on special advisers was in 2007-08. [243576]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The MOD had two special advisers on 30 November 2008, on pay bands 2 and 3. The Government are committed to publishing an annual list detailing the number and costs of special advisers. Information for 2007-08 was published by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 22 July 2008, Official Report, columns 99-102WS.

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Departmental Official Hospitality

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on Ministerial hospitality in (a) 2004-05, (b) 2005-06, (c) 2006-07 and (d) 2007-08, expressed in current prices. [241249]

Mr. Kevan Jones: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Pay

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to ensure that those temporary and permanent employees at the same grade in his Department who are paid at an hourly rate are paid at the same rate. [244395]

Mr. Kevan Jones: MOD civilians are salary paid. Temporary staff are paid on the same pay scales as permanent staff.

Departmental Procurement

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of invoices for goods and services procured from small and medium-sized businesses were paid within 10 days of receipt by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which his Department is responsible in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. [243496]

Mr. Quentin Davies [holding answer 16 December 2008]: Information in respect of payments within 10 days of receipt could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Department is reviewing the processes associated with the overall payment cycle. Once this work is complete it should ensure that the Department is able to measure report performance against the Government's 10 day target. The 10 day target will apply to all MOD suppliers, irrespective of size, as it would be impractical to differentiate between small and medium size enterprises and others.

While the Department is working towards a meeting the 10 day target, it currently measures performance against the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act requirement of 30 calendar days. This allows up to 19 days for MOD branches to confirm that the services or goods supplied have been satisfactorily delivered and then 11 calendar days for the Financial Management Shared Service Centre (FMSSC) to check the invoices and make payment.

The information available and published in the Annual Report and Accounts for 2006-07 and 2007-08, shows that 99.8 per cent. of all valid UK bills were paid within 11 calendar days of receipt in the FMSSC.

Departmental Project Statements

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library unredacted copies of his Department's major project statements from 1983 to 1992. [245126]

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Mr. Quentin Davies: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how his Department’s 2007-08 outturn main estimate breaks down between (a) near cash and (b) non-cash on the same basis as set out in his Answer of 4 March 2008, Official Report, column 2346W. [244576]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's expenditure was on schools and community relations, as referred to in his Department's resource account code hierarchy, in near cash terms, in each financial year since 2000-01. [245092]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The total resource costs for schools and community relations are set out in the following table:

Financial year £ million

















Near cash expenditure is not separately identified in the resource accounts or the centrally held supporting records. Total resource costs have therefore been provided; however it is unlikely that there are any non cash costs attributed to the expenditure items which would result in the near cash expenditure being significantly different from the resource expenditure.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s projections for repayment to the Exchequer for funding for urgent operational requirements are for each financial year for which figures are available. [245107]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The Department’s Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 settlement made provision of £200 million in 2010-11 to meet the cost of repaying to HM Treasury a proportion of urgent operational requirement (UOR) costs in 2008-09, with the aim of ensuring that these arrangements are cost-neutral for the Defence budget. We currently expect UOR repayments in 2010-11 to fall within this £200 million envelope.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the latest versions of the cost of defence output categories taxonomy. [245127]

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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I have placed the most recent version of the Cost of Defence outputs taxonomy in the Library of the House; this was updated in December 2007.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department’s response to HM Treasury’s consultation paper on accounting for PPP arrangements, including PFI contracts. [245312]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Yes, I have placed a copy of the Department’s responses to HM Treasury’s letters referenced RABIG (2007) 23 entitled “Accounting for PPP Arrangements, including PFI, under IFRS” and RABIG (2008) 03 entitled “Accounting for PPP arrangements, including PFI, under IFRS: text for the IFRS-based Financial Reporting Manual (iFReM)” in the Library of the House.

Departmental Telephone Services

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many telephone numbers for which callers are charged at the rate applicable to 0845 numbers are used by (a) his Department and (b) its executive agencies for public access to services. [246987]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The use of 0845 numbers and others that charge at a similar rate is determined at local level in accordance with individual business requirements and obtained directly from the supplier. Records of such numbers are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Depleted Uranium

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are taken to monitor civilian populations who have been in danger of exposure to depleted uranium; and how many persons so exposed have responded to newspaper advertisements and have been voluntarily tested for contamination. [246605]

Mr. Kevan Jones: It is the responsibility of sovereign states where depleted uranium (DU) munitions have been used to monitor for any possible health risk to the civilian population. The Ministry of Defence has conducted environmental surveys for DU in southern Iraq and the Balkans. No widespread DU contamination sufficient to impact the health of the general population or deployed personnel has been found in these surveys. Similar studies have been carried out by the United Nations in the Balkans and Kuwait and information presented at a recent conference suggests that the results of environmental monitoring by Iraqi scientists will be published later this year.

In 2004-05, the independent Depleted Uranium Oversight Board (DUOB) placed adverts in UK newspapers announcing the availability of a retrospective testing programme for the analysis of uranium isotopes in urine. The test was offered to eligible ex-Service or serving personnel and certain categories of civilians who served in the Persian Gulf area between 1 August 1990 and 31 July 1991 or in the former Republic of Yugoslavia on or after 5 August 1994. A total of 496 individuals took up the offer to be tested. No evidence
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of the excretion of DU was found in the urine of any of the individuals tested. As far as we are aware, there has been no other initiative of this type.

Disposal Services Agency: Finance

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much and what proportion of its staffing budget for 2007-08 the Disposal Services Agency spent in Scotland; and what the equivalent figures were for (a) 2004-05, (b) 2005-06 and (c) 2006-07. [241121]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The information requested is shown in the following table:

Disposal Services Authority

Scottish personnel costs (£000) Percentage of personnel costs spent in Scotland














Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 25 November 2008, Official Report, column 1171W, on ex-servicemen, for what reasons the actual number given is lower than the required number in each case; and what steps he is taking to increase the actual numbers where these do not meet requirements. [242841]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The information provided represented a snapshot, and in each case where the actual number of resettlement staff was below the required number, this was the result of natural and temporary gapping of posts, as a result of promotion, transfers etc. of the previous incumbent. In each case normal recruitment or posting action, depending on whether the post was civilian- or military-filled, is being undertaken to fill the vacancies, and it is not intended to leave the posts vacant for any longer than necessary to complete recruitment action.

FCR Scoping Study

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library copies of the (a) FCR Scoping Study, (b) FOM Mapping Study, (c) DRMP Information Strategy and (d) DRMS Information Systems Strategy produced for his Department. [245129]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I will arrange for copies to be placed in the Library of the House.

Future Carrier Programme

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the current in-service dates are for the Future Carrier programme; and if he will make a statement. [245102]

Mr. Quentin Davies: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 17 December 2008, Official Report, column 766W, to the hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis).

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Gray Review

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the terms of reference of the Bernard Gray review are; and when it is due to report; [245106]

(2) pursuant to his written ministerial statement of 11 December, Official Report, column 65WS, on defence equipment, what the terms of reference are for the defence acquisition review; and when it will report. [245203]

Mr. Quentin Davies: Within the policy set by the Defence Industrial Strategy, the review is to examine progress with implementing reforms through the MOD’s Acquisition Change Programme and to make any further recommendations on how to secure better value for money and deliver major acquisition programmes within budget and on time.

The review is expected to be complete by the summer.

Iraq: Legal Systems

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Prime Minister's statement of 18 December 2008 on Iraq, what legal protection UK forces will have under either international or Iraqi domestic law if the draft law on the status of UK forces currently before the Iraq Parliament is not brought into effect by 1 January 2009. [246828]

Mr. Hutton: UK forces in Iraq have the legal basis they need to complete their tasks. On 1 January 2009, Iraqi Council of Representatives Resolution 50/2008 came into effect, authorising the temporary presence of UK forces in Iraq and providing specific legally-binding jurisdictional immunities for UK personnel as set out in the Iraqi Council of Ministers Resolution 439/2008. On the same date, a Government-to-Government Memorandum of Understanding came into effect, setting out the tasks that the Government of Iraq have requested that we continue and complete by 31 May 2009.

I am placing copies of the texts of both resolutions and the Memorandum of Understanding in the Library of the House.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British service personnel have been (a) injured and (b) killed by friendly fire in Iraq since 2003. [240350]

Mr. Hutton: Records show that eight members of the UK armed forces have been killed as a result of friendly fire incidents in Iraq since 2003, although it is not always possible in each and every case precisely to determine the cause of death. Details of the number of UK military personnel injured by friendly fire incidents are not recorded centrally.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what equipment he plans to gift to Iraq once Operation Archive is under way. [244622]

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Mr. Hutton: As the Prime Minister said in his statement to the House on 18 December, we plan to reduce force levels in Iraq as we complete our remaining key tasks in Basra in the early months of next year. Planning for the withdrawal of UK forces continues and any proposal to gift equipment to Iraq would follow established procedures.

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