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13 Jan 2009 : Column 556W—continued

Armed Forces: Recruitment

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed services recruitment centres there were in (a) 1997 and (b) 2008, broken down by service. [245116]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Both in 1997 and 2008 there were 39 tri-service armed forces careers offices (AFCOs): six of which were/are sponsored by the Royal Navy, 22 by the Army, and 11 sponsored by the Royal Air Force. These AFCOs are supplemented by 94 satellite recruiting offices, the majority of which are Army owned, and a handful operated on a bi-service basis.

Armed Forces: United States

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many British nationals have been injured by unmanned drones operated by US forces since January 2002; [246303]

(2) how many (a) British citizens and (b) UK residents have been killed by unmanned drones operated by US forces since January 2002. [245445]

Mr. Hutton: We cannot confirm whether any British citizens or UK residents have been killed in any such incidents.

Defence: Procurement

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the effect on the defence procurement budget of the reduction in the value of sterling in the last six months. [243254]

Mr. Hutton: Fluctuations in the value of sterling have had a significant effect over the last six months on a range of defence equipment acquisition projects, though the precise aggregate financial impact of these changes over that period could be provided only at disproportionate cost, given that foreign exchange is only one of a number of factors leading to cost variations in projects. Across 2008-09 as a whole, however, the Defence Equipment and Support organisation estimates a pressure of some £130 million from foreign exchange movements. The Department’s in-year financial management process takes into account overall cost changes, including within equipment acquisition, to ensure that the defence programme remains within available resources.

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Departmental Consultants

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department intends to spend on the purchase of consultancy services, with reference to Standard Chart of Account code 51401400, in financial years 2008-09 to 2010-11. [245088]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Department’s current 2008-09 forecast for expenditure on the purchase of consultancy services against the Standard Chart of Account code 51401400 which includes management consultancy of business performance, financial and accountancy services, corporate governance and audit is £104 million.

The Department’s plans for future consultancy services are currently being examined in the Planning Round 2009.

Departmental Data Protection

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department appointed a senior information risk owner in accordance with the report, “Data Handling Procedures in Government” and the accompanying document “Cross-departmental Actions: Mandatory Minimum Action;” and what grade the person holds within the Department. [245359]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The director general information (a two star/senior civil servant pay band 2) was discharging the role of senior information risk owner (SIRO) by late 2003 and formally acquired the role and title, as directed by the permanent under secretary, in response to the February 2004 request from the Cabinet Secretary for all Departments to make such an appointment. The DG information post has since been re-titled chief information officer (CIO). Following the publication of the Data Handling Procedures in Government report the CIO was reconfirmed in the role of SIRO. The SIRO leads on information risk issues at the Defence Operating Board and is called to the Defence Board as and when required.

Departmental Finance

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what monetary value his Department assigns to one life in its economic appraisals of (a) troop safety measures and (b) defence equipment; and if he will make a statement. [245680]

Mr. Quentin Davies: Since the main benefits of Departmental investment in the form of defence capability are not capable of being expressed in monetary terms, the overwhelming majority of MOD investment appraisals use a cost effectiveness approach. This involves a comparison of the whole life costs of alternative options to deliver the same stated defence benefit, without recourse to specific monetary values of life. There have been no economic appraisals supporting business cases of expenditure proposals subject to the Department’s central approval processes where monetary values have been applied to life. However, should it be necessary to directly evaluate the costs and benefits of safety measures the Department’s approach to applying monetary values to life and safety is set out in Joint Services Publication (JSP) 507 “MOD Guide to Investment Appraisal and Evaluation”. This is available at

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The approach follows HM Treasury guidance and is the same as that used by other Government Departments, in particular the Department for Transport and the Health and Safety Executive.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to box 6.4 of the pre-Budget report (CM 7484), if he will place in the Library a copy of the terms of reference of the reviews he intends to undertake of the (a) Met Office, (b) Oil and Pipeline Agency and (c) Defence Storage and Distribution Agency. [245201]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The terms of reference of the reviews on the Met Office, the Oil and Pipeline Agency and the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency have not yet been finalised. The scope of the study which will form the basis for the terms of reference was announced in the pre-Budget report. This indicated that the studies would consider the potential for alternative business models, commercialisation, new market opportunities and, where appropriate, alternatives to public ownership. Gerry Grimstone is working with MOD and shareholder Executive to take forward this work, and progress will be reported in Budget 2009.

Once the terms of reference have been approved, a copy will be placed in the Library of the House.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Harrier aircraft were operating in Iraq at the latest date for which figures are available. [242823]

Mr. Hutton: The last eight RAF Harrier aircraft to deploy on Operation Telic were withdrawn on 6 May 2003.

Military Aircraft: Warships

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans are in place to ensure that the armed forces will have a continuing aircraft carrier capability during the transition between the withdrawal of service of the CVS carriers and the entry into service of the CVF carriers. [245103]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The transition from the existing to future aircraft carriers will be managed coherently and we are currently assessing the modalities for achieving this.

Nuclear Weapons: Testing

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how long the 2005 decontamination exercise on Kiritimati took; and how much the exercise cost, broken down by category of expenditure. [246875]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The contract works on the island commenced during January 2005 and the last package of waste left the Island in May 2008, although most of the scrap metal had been removed by November 2006.

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The costs of removing the waste (not necessarily decontamination) currently amount to £7 million broken down as follows (figures are rounded):

£ million

General items (insurance, mobilisation, provision of compound)


Whole island tasks (removal of asbestos, radiological survey and known radium luminised dials)


Waste removal (vehicles and plant, tanks, boilers drums and bitumen spills, asphalt plant, coral crushing plant, and bunkers)


Shipping and disposal


Rescue Services: Helicopters

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent plans his Department has made to change numbers of (a) helicopters and (b) search and rescue crew personnel at search and rescue centres. [246931]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We have made no recent plans to change the number of helicopters available for search and rescue. It is currently planned that RAF search and rescue crews will reduce by four over the next two years.

Rescue Services: Private Sector

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress the Government has made on plans to invite private companies to bid to operate search and rescue services. [246909]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The competition to bring together the Search and Rescue capability currently provided by the Ministry of Defence and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency into one harmonised service continues, with two industrial consortia (AirKnight and Soteria) actively engaged.

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The main investment decision will be made following further development of the bids through evaluation and dialogue to ensure that the consortia are able to provide the required capability and service levels through life.

Sight Impaired

Tom Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidelines his Department follows in respect of making printed materials and forms accessible to people suffering red/green colour blindness. [245713]

Mr. Kevan Jones: It is MOD policy and a legal requirement to supply materials in alternative formats if requested. The MOD consults with the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) and works closely with the Employers Forum on Disability and the EHRC to ensure it meets the accessibility needs of disabled people. The Departmental Equality and Diversity Scheme 2008-11 contains an undertaking to ensure that all disabled employees and members of the public are able to access our publications in a way that meets their needs.

Weapons: Theft

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many weapons of each type have (a) been stolen and (b) gone missing from armed forces bases in each of the last five years; [246124]

(2) how many weapons of each type have (a) gone missing and (b) been stolen from the Army in each of the last five years. [246125]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 12 January 2009]: The following table sets out details of Ministry of Defence firearms recorded as lost/stolen for the last five calendar years, 2004-08 and include bases both home and abroad. The figures represent the latest available from the Service Police Crime Bureau.

Weapon statistics 2004-08
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Weapon type Stolen Lost Stolen Lost Stolen Lost Stolen Lost Stolen Lost























Machine guns






















Figures by individual service could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what procedures are in place to prevent weapons used by British servicemen and women abroad being stolen and returned to the UK to be used illegally; and whether he has plans to improve those procedures. [246126]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 12 January 2009]: MOD takes every reasonable precaution to ensure all weapons are controlled and stored securely. Comprehensive records are maintained to enable accurate accounting and are subject to both regular and spot checks. We also have specific operations designed to deter those personnel from all three services who may be tempted to illegally import items and also to identify those who transgress. This includes a combined information campaign and a physical search of all equipment including personal baggage, comfy boxes etc. returning to peacetime locations. All security measures are subject to continuous review, security surveys and audits.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Bankruptcy: Devon

Nick Harvey: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many people were declared bankrupt in North Devon in each year since 1997. [246698]

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Mr. McFadden: The following table shows the number of bankruptcies in north Devon in each year from 2000 to 2007, derived from postcodes provided by bankrupt individuals(1,)( )(2). Earlier years figures are not available.

Bankruptcies in north Devon

















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