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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department's underspend of £1.75 billion in 2007-08 against its budget is to be carried forward to 2008-09; and what the reasons are for this underspend. 
Mr. Hutton: The Department's final audited outturn underspend for 2007-08 comprised principally depreciation charges and movements on provisions, requested in the spring supplementary estimate through request for resources 1 (RfRlprovision of defence capability), that did not materialise. This underspend was in indirect resource which, as non-cash, does not contribute to the Department's spending power. Moreover, it was agreed in comprehensive spending review 2007 that any RfR1 non-cash resource underspend would be set at zero at the start of 2008-09 and could not therefore be subject to end year flexibility (EYF), with any requirement for further non-cash provision to be considered with the Treasury when it arose.
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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend East of 11 November 2008,
Official Report, column 1001W, on departmental public relations, which areas of work or projects the external public relations firm worked on; and for what reasons in-house communications staff were not used for such work. 
Mr. Hutton: Biss Lancaster have been used by the Army's Recruiting Group: to provide strategic advice in the development of its recruitment marketing communications plan to support specific recruitment projects; to generate through the media interest among the recruitment target audience; and to obtain positive coverage of careers in the Army.
In-house communications staff provide essential knowledge of the Armys business. However, the use of Biss Lancaster provides the Army with particular expertise and experience in the specialised recruitment field, offering best value for money to the taxpayer for this type of work.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Governments policy is on the provisions of the so-called reciprocity clause contained in the recent EU Directive on the coordination of procedures for the award of certain public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts in the fields of defence and security; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: The directive will provide member states with common procurement rules for defence and security which take account of the special features of that market. This will enable them to open up the majority of their defence procurements (apart from certain sensitive contracts) to competition. The aim is a more effective, open and transparent European defence equipment market and the innovation that will bring.
The Recital in question seeks to outline the importance of the creation of a globally competitive European Defence Industrial Base but importantly does not require member states to purchase defence equipment exclusively from within the European Community. We will continue therefore, as now, to look to the global market to meet our capability needs.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what his most recent assessment is of the extent of damage to HMS Endurance; and what his most recent estimate is of the cost of repair; 
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the extent of the damage to HMS Endurance as a result of the recent flooding incident; what method will be used to return the vessel to the United Kingdom; and whether repair or replacement will be the more economical long-term option. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: HMS Endurance suffered extensive damage to her engine room and some accommodation areas during the flooding incident in December. Subject to further assessments, our intention is that the ship will return to the UK, by heavy lift repair ship or barge, for repair prior to her return to service, at a date to be agreed. I am withholding the projected repair costs as they are commercial-in-confidence.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Her Majesty's Government are aware of the strategic value of sovereign presence in the South Atlantic and Antarctic regions. A number of options are under consideration but it is not yet clear how long the repairs to HMS Endurance will take. HMS Endurance normally undertakes her duties in the austral summer so this year's patrol has, through force of circumstance, been curtailed. Operational deployments are continually weighed against defence responsibilities around the world and therefore it would be inappropriate to provide detail at this point in the planning stage for HMS Endurance's repairs and return to duty.
Mr. Quentin Davies: I am withholding this information because the forward programme contains commercially sensitive information, and its release would be prejudicial to the effective conduct of public affairs.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 11 December 2008, Official Report, columns 65-67WS, on defence equipment, what effect the reduction of the planned production order from 70 airframes to 62 airframes will have on the procurement cost of the Future Lynx programme; and when the decision to reduce the order was taken. 
Mr. Quentin Davies [holding answer 19 January 2009]: The reduction of the planned production order will save some costs, however the extent and breakdown of these savings is commercially sensitive and if released could prejudice our commercial interests. The decision was taken as part of the examination of the equipment programme.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his Statement of 11 December 2008, Official Report, columns 65-67WS, on defence equipment, on what date the decision was taken to reduce the number of airframes to be procured under the Future Lynx programme from 70 to 62. 
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to reply to the letter of 9 December 2008 from the hon. Member for Billericay and others on the subject of nuclear test veterans. 
|Number of new contracts||Value of new contracts (£)|
These figures include contracts awarded directly to the RAND Corporation, RAND Europe and RAND Europe Cambridge Limited. Contract values have been rounded to the nearest £10,000. The figures do not cover contracts which are awarded to suppliers on behalf of other Government Departments; by the MODs Trading Funds and Non-Departmental Public Bodies (which lie outside the MODs accounting boundary); locally by the Department under low-value procedures; or in relation to those collaborative projects where the payments are made through international procurement agencies or overseas governments.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Data on the number of personnel in each service of the volunteer reserves as at 1 April 2008 and 1 April 1997 are available in Table 2.17 of UK Defence Statistics 2008 (UKDS), which can be found at:
In addition, DASA produces an Army Personnel Statistics Report on a monthly basis, which includes the Territorial Army. The total number of personnel in the Territorial Army (TA) as at 1 November 2008 was 35,920(1, 2). There are no equivalent publications for the Naval Service or Royal Air Force, therefore the latest available data for these services are those published in UKDS.
(1) Due to ongoing data validation issues within the Joint Personnel Administration system, TA figures are provisional and subject to review.
(2) Denotes provisional.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which vessels are currently on order for (a) the Royal Navy and (b) the Royal Fleet Auxiliary; and what the anticipated in-service date is of each. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 19 January 2009, Official Report, columns 1053-54W, to the hon. Member for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle) which provides details of Royal Navy vessels currently on order and the in-service dates.
Vessels procured as part of the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) Programme will replace elements of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. As the hon. Member will be aware from the Equipment Examination announcement on 11 December 2008, Official Report, column 65WS, we are currently reviewing the overall MARS requirement and procurement options, and any resultant implications for the current international competition for the Fleet Tanker element. We expect to determine a way forward later this year.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission may take when it has good reason to believe that a parent with liability to pay child maintenance plans to leave the country. 
Kitty Ussher: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have therefore asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested.
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner. The Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission may take when it has good reason to believe that a parent with liability to pay child maintenance plans to leave the country. 
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