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Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent progress has been made in the review of catering and other ancillary services provided to military bases in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Department sent a consultation document to trade unions on 9 January 2009 seeking agreement on recommendations for the future delivery of catering, retail and leisure services and soft facilities support in Northern Ireland. The trade unions have 30 working days to respond plus an additional 15 days if required.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what Royal Navy assets will form the UK contribution to Op Atalanta in the (a) second quarter, (b) third quarter and (c) fourth quarter 2009; 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The UK will contribute the Operation Commander and the Operation Headquarters to Op Atalanta throughout 2009, and the Royal Navy is currently providing HMS Northumberland for the first period of this EU counter-piracy mission.
HMS Portland will, on a case by case basis, support Combined Task Force 151 for counter-piracy operations. The UK will continue to provide a frigate to broader coalition operations in the region, including Combined Task Forces 150 and 151.
Mr. Kevan Jones: The Ministry of Defence has not settled any common law claims for compensation relating to participation in the British nuclear testing programme of the 1950s and 1960s. The MOD does, however, have a long established war pension scheme which pays no-fault compensation in the form of tax-free pensions and allowances for ex-service personnel injured or made ill as a result of their service before 6 April 2005. There are no time limits for making a claim under the war pension scheme. The scheme is administered by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA). Information on awards under the scheme is published quarterly by the Department's Defence Analytical and Services Agency (DASA) derived from data from the war pension computer system. Those data do not enable injuries or illnesses to be linked to service at a particular location. It is not, therefore, possible to identify payments made to British nuclear test veterans under the war pension scheme. Nor is it possible to say how much has been spent on war pensions to nuclear tests veterans.
The Department is committed to compensation policy and individual decisions reflecting case facts and the relevant law, which are evidence based and in line with contemporary medical and scientific understanding. To meet this commitment there is routine scrutiny of the published peer reviewed literature and any other evidence of suitable quality.
When considering a claim for a war pension the facts of each case are considered on their individual merits. The test of proof is unique to the war pension scheme and is preferential to the claimant. It is more advantageous than the normal civil test of proof. In a war pension claim made more than seven years after leaving service there has to be no more than reliable evidence to raise a reasonable doubt that there is a connection between service and the claimed condition.
For nuclear test veterans, entitlement may be given under the war pension scheme for leukaemia, other than chronic lymphatic leukaemia, and polycythaemia rubra vera, in both cases where the condition arose within 25 years of presence at a nuclear test. This is based on the findings of the three National Radiological Protection Board epidemiological studies on mortality and cancer incidence of nuclear test participants 1952 to 1998 (published in 1988, 1993 and 2003). For these
conditions, entitlement relates to presence at the sites and not exposure to ionising radiation. Otherwise the studies concluded that levels of mortality and cancer incidence in participants and controls were similar, with overall mortality less than expected from national rates.
A war pension, however, may be awarded in any individual case where the evidence shows that the individual is suffering from a recognised radiogenic disease and was exposed to a significant level of ionising radiation. It is important to note that the overwhelming majority of British nuclear test veterans received a zero dose of ionising radiation.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Piracy is a crime of universal jurisdiction which any state is entitled, as a matter of international law, to prosecute. However it remains for individual countries to ensure legislation or suitable arrangement are in place for the detention and trial of pirates.
In line with UN Security Council Resolution 1851, the inauguration of the International Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia took place on 14 January to discuss an international response to piracy. The Contact Group was attended by 24 countries and five organisations, including UK representatives. One of the key focus areas is strengthening judicial frameworks for arrest, prosecution and detention of pirates, exploring regional arrangements, bilateral arrangements, and international judicial systems. A working group is taking forward discussions on this important issue.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which regiment or battalion forms the Small Scale Focused Intervention Force (SSFIF); whether it is fully equipped; whether the present SSFIF is deployed; and when the future SSFIF will take over from the present SSFIF. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Small Scale Focused Intervention Force was replaced by the Small Scale Contingent Battle Group (SSCBG) in January 2009 and is currently formed by 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment. A rotation of the SSCBG will take place in December 2009, for which a replacement unit has yet to be determined.
Mr. Quentin Davies:
RAF Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles are capable of carrying 5001b laser guided bombs and Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. The actual
weapons fitted during each operational deployment can and does vary and will be tailored to meet the operational requirement.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2009, Official Report, column 1053W, on unmanned air vehicles, what drone systems were procured prior to the purchase of the Reaper system in the last 10 years; and at what cost. 
|Year of procurement||System||Cost (£ million)|
In addition to the systems listed above, the Hermes 450 UAS was declared In Service in July 2007. The Hermes 450 is not owned by MOD but is provided through a service provision contract with a Thales/Elbit consortium.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) required and (b) actual level of spare part availability is for each (i) frigate, (ii) destroyer and (iii) submarine type in the Royal Navy. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: There is no requirement to measure the availability of spare parts for Royal Navy vessels in the format requested as availability is measured at equipment, rather than platform, level. Instead, the Department holds data on the number of demands made for spare parts and whether the required delivery date for each line was met.
There are over 700 different types of equipment fitted to vessels across the fleet, made up of over 450,000 line items. These include items that support the systems and equipment onboard the vessels themselves, as well as the medical and general stores and the weapons and helicopters that they carry. Records of all replacement equipment demands are not currently held centrally as they are classified. A new system is, however, being rolled out that holds details for some 270,000 line items across 400 types of equipment. Performance statistics for demands placed against those items on the new system in the last 12 months are provided in the following table:
|Vessel type||Percentage delivered by required date( 1)|
|(1) Spares that were delivered in time to meet the required delivery date specified by the demander (e.g. ships crews).|
A public awareness campaign celebrating 21 years of DEFRA agri-environment schemes highlighting the importance and contribution agriculture makes to protect the natural environment.
A regular stand at the Royal Show to highlight key agriculture and horticulture issues to the public.
Regular ministerial attendance of a wide range of agriculture and county shows.
A programme of ministerial regional visits to raise profile of key DEFRA projects in the regions.
Commitment to developing the understanding young people have of both where and how their food is produced by supporting the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) led Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto.
Working closely with DCSF, the Department of Health, and other stakeholders to support the Year of Food and Farming (YFF) in Education, an industry-led initiative to reconnect children and young people with the countryside.
Supporting Open Farm Sunday, an industry run initiative, organised by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) with the objective of encouraging the public to visit farms, find out what farmers do, why they do it and why farms matter.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 December 2008, Official Report, column 485W, on agriculture: subsidies, how the £10,000 for additional costs was allocated. 
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 12 January 2009]: The £10,000 figure put against additional costs was the estimate for dealing with appeals against penalties imposed by the Rural Payments Agency on applicants who had a breach of cross compliance reported by the Environment Agency (EA). This relates to the time spent by the EA team in head office and the area inspector involved with the case.
Jane Kennedy [holding answer 14 January 2009]: The following table gives the total number of claims made to the Rural Payments Agency under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) in England for scheme years 2005, 2006 and 2007.
|SPS scheme year||Number of claims|
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the administrative cost of processing an individual claim under the single farm payment scheme was in the latest period for which figures are available. 
This figure was obtained by considering the direct processing costs and the total number of claims received. It is not however representative of the actual costs of processing individual claims because in practice, these vary in complexity and thus processing effort is required to validate and pay them.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many claims of under (a) £5, (b) £10, (c) £20, (d) £50, (e) £150, (f) £200, (g) £250 and (h) £400 were made under the single farm payment scheme in 2007. 
|SPS claim value||Number of claims|
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