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Mr. Quentin Davies: The delivery of the 174 remaining Mastiffs is expected to take place between spring and autumn 2009. Not all of these vehicles will be deployed on operations since some will be retained in a training pool.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on (a) maintaining, (b) decorating and (c) otherwise improving departmental buildings in the last five years; how much has been spent on wallpaper since 2001; and what plans there are for further spending on departmental decorations. 
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has a large estate in the UK and overseas comprising many kinds of buildings. While the majority of the maintenance responsibility is now carried out by Defence Estates, this has not always been the case. Much of the maintenance is still carried out by others, including private finance initiative arrangements where maintenance elements are not readily identifiable.
Mr. Kevan Jones: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) does not collect this information. Independent research was commissioned from the University of York by MOD and its colleagues in the Ex-Service Action Group on Homelessness (ESAG). The research found that the percentage of veterans among Londons homeless population was 6 per cent. in 2007 compared with 22 per cent. in separate research in 1997. We are exploring opportunities for further research to find out the extent of veterans homelessness in the rest of the country.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his oral evidence to the Defence Select Committee on Tuesday 16 December 2008, what the out of service dates assumed in his Departments memorandum to the Committee for the (a) Agusta 109, (b) Apache AH Mk1, (c) Gazelle AH1, (d) Lynx Mk 7/9, (e) Lynx Mk 3/8, (f) Merlin Mk1, (g) Sea King Mk 4/6c, (h) Sea King Mk 5, (i) Sea King ASaC 7, (j) Chinook Mk2/2a, (k) Merlin Mk3.3a, (l) Puma HC1 and (m) Sea King Mk3/3a were, set out in tabulated format; what his most recent estimate of out-of-service dates is for each model; for what reasons the out-of-service dates have changed in each case; and on what date the decisions to change date were taken. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: The most recent assumed out-of-service dates for each helicopter are shown in the following table. These dates have not changed since this information was given in the MOD memorandum provided to the House of Commons Defence Committee in November 2008. Where a life extension programme is planned to extend the out of service date of a helicopter but has not yet been approved at Main Gate, the resulting extended OSD is set out in brackets.
Any Main Gate decision to invest in the modernisation or enhancement of existing aircraft will need to be taken in a through life context, recognising the relative priorities within the whole Defence Programme.
|Aircraft type/mark||Current planned OSDs||Comments|
We expect to have to invest further in these aircraft (eg to address obsolescence, meet emerging requirements and extend the planned date of their retirement to 2040) during the next decade, although no investment decisions have yet been made
We expect to have to invest further in this aircraft to extend the planned date of its retirement to 2022, when it is expected that the capability provided by these aircraft will be replaced by the Future Medium Helicopter programme
We expect to have to invest further in this aircraft to extend the planned date of their retirement to 2018, where upon it is expected that the capability provided by these aircraft will be replaced by the Future Medium Helicopter programme
Mr. Kevan Jones [holding answer 14 January 2009]: In accordance with HM Treasury's Wider Markets Initiative, some defence land and property which is not required in the short to medium term is leased to third parties for commercial use, which might include the storage of waste. Details of such instances are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Kevan Jones: The cost of moving 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) and its headquarters from Hermitage, together with 14 Sqn of the Regiment, located at Ayrshire Barracks, Moenchengladbach, Germany, is estimated to be £18.9 million (net present value over 25 years). A decision on the date for the start of the project is expected by March 2009.
The intention is for the Royal School of Military Survey to collocate with other intelligence training organisations at Chicksands, Bedfordshire. As the project is still in its initial stage, with the investment appraisal still to be completed, no confirmed date or cost is available. Any announcement on a date for relocation is unlikely before October 2010.
The relocations will not only improve operational effectiveness by collocating intelligence capabilities at RAF Wyton and intelligence training at Chicksands, but will enable significant long term savings in estate management and support costs.
The MOD will work to minimise the impact on civilian staff at Hermitage by providing any assistance it can to those who may be affected, relocating personnel and avoiding compulsory redundancies wherever possible.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cases there were of British servicemen and women being disciplined for stealing armed forces' weapons (a) abroad and (b) within the UK in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 12 January 2009]: Thefts of weapons are investigated by the service police, Ministry of Defence police or the Home Department police, either jointly or independently. We do not hold comprehensive information about all cases referred to the civil courts and so the information provided is based only on cases tried by courts-martial during 2008.
No service personnel have been court-martialled specifically for stealing armed forces weapons abroad or in the UK. However, 10 service personnel have been court-martialled for offences involving the theft of ammunition; being in possession of various items ranging from weapon parts to blank rounds of ammunition, plastic explosives and detonators; or the sale of weapon parts. Of these 10 cases, one was acquitted. In all other cases, sentences ranging from a £750 fine for possession of ammunition, to 15 years imprisonment and reduced to the ranks and dismissed with disgrace for selling SA80 rifle parts, were awarded.
8. Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received from farmers on the availability of seasonal labour; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: We have listened to the concerns expressed by the industry about shortages of seasonal labour and at the end of last year announced an increase in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme quota of 5,000 for 2009 bringing it up to 21,250.
The UK is actively engaged with the European Commission's current activities to reform the Common Fisheries Policy, which will include consideration of the quota and fisheries access management systems. I have publicly signalled my intention that the UK should play a leading role in shaping this reform and the future of the CFP.
Hilary Benn: A Commission proposal for a ban on the import of seal products into the EU was discussed for the first time by the Council of Ministers on 20 October. The UK supports a ban and we will work closely with the Council and other member states to introduce it as quickly as possible.
13. Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the cost-effectiveness of the New Forest National Park Authority; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: The New Forest National Park Authority has made good progress since its creation in 2005 and I believe it is now making a real contribution to the benefit of the area. The findings of the 2008 National Park Authority Performance Assessment, when available, will allow us to check that the authority is on track.
Jane Kennedy: Over the last 12 months, the rural development agencies have begun delivering a £300 million programme of investment in improving the competitiveness of farming and forestry under the Rural Development Programme for England. The Rural Payments Agency's continued progress in making payments under the single payment scheme has helped farmers' cash flow. Reducing trade distorting subsidies helps farmers better respond to the demands of the market; the recent common agricultural policy health check took another step by reducing coupled payments and regulatory burdens on farmers.
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