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19 Mar 2009 : Column 1300W—continued

Armed Forces: Health Services

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent steps his Department has taken to assist service personnel seriously injured in the course of their duties. [263457]

Mr. Kevan Jones [holding answer 16 March 2009] : The MOD takes the care and welfare of all injured service personnel very seriously, and we regularly assess ways in which we can improve the care we provide. During the last 12 months, we have completed a review of our rehabilitation services, which led to the announcement in May 2008 of an additional £24 million of funding, over the next four years, for the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court. The recent Healthcare Commission report into the Defence Medical Services also highlighted the exemplary level of operational healthcare and rehabilitation services.

We look forward to the relocation of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine’s clinical facilities from Selly Oak to the new NHS hospital being built for the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which will start admitting patients in 2010 and will be Europe’s largest and most modern critical care teaching hospital. Casualties from operations overseas will be treated in a modern military ward within the trauma and orthopaedics division of the trust, which will have special features for the exclusive use of military patients.

In line with our commitment in last year’s Service Personnel Command Paper, we have doubled the upfront lump sum payment for the most serious injuries under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). All recipients, according to the severity of their injuries, will have an uplift of at least 10 per cent. in upfront lump sum payments. We also intend to confer additional benefits to extend this effect to those who have already made claims under the scheme.

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Armed Forces: Languages

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Farsi or Dari, (b) Arabic, (c) Urdu and (d) Pashto speaking British military personnel are serving in the British armed forces. [258873]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Information on the languages spoken by British military personnel is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Northern Ireland

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there have been any changes to the number of military personnel on duty in Northern Ireland since the murders of the two soldiers at Massereene army base on 7 March 2009. [264734]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Following the attack outside Massereene barracks on 7 March the military element of base security in Northern Ireland has been enhanced. This has resulted in an increase in the number of military personnel on duty. I am withholding further details as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Armed Forces: Pay

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) maximum, (b) minimum and (c) average cash allowance awarded to military staff in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan was in 2008. [263865]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 16 March 2009]: During financial year 2007-08, the daily rate of operational allowance payable was £12.75 and is £13.08 for the current financial year. These rates apply equally to both Iraq and Afghanistan. It can be paid for a minimum of one day and the maximum payable is determined by the length of an operational tour. The average tour length is typically six months which would result in the payment of £2,380.

Details of the average operational allowance payable and a breakdown by operational theatre is not held centrally.

Civil Contingency Reaction Forces: Finance

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the Strategic Defence Review
19 Mar 2009 : Column 1302W
New Chapter of 2002, what the budget of the Civil Contingency Reaction Force is; what dedicated assets it has; and how many people are assigned to it. [263443]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There are 13 Civil Contingency Reaction Forces (CCRF) drawn from the reserve forces of all three services. They can provide general duties support, which may be used to supplement the local civil emergency response capabilities. The core of a CCRF is formed around a TA infantry battalion (approximately 500 personnel) with its command structure, integral communications, logistic support and sub units. CCRFs are commanded by the regional brigade and may include volunteers from all arms of the Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines Reserve, the Territorial Army and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.

The CCRFs are funded through the divisional budget in order to ensure the personnel are appropriately trained to carry out the roles required of them. They have no dedicated assets beyond the normal equipment held by their parent unit(s). If called to deploy, they would draw on the local divisional equipment pool for any additional equipment needed to suit the emergency requirement e.g. shelters, camp beds, tables, tarpaulins, sandbags, torches. They would be provided with the necessary resources to complete their task.

Departmental Disciplinary Proceedings

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff in his Department (a) were disciplined and (b) had their employment terminated as a result of a poor sickness record in each of the last 12 months. [262248]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Ministry of Defence does not discipline its employees for reasons of illness. It has a range of restoring efficiency procedures to restore and maintain acceptable levels of attendance and deal with staff whose excessive sickness absence and attendance record has become a cause for concern. Employment can be terminated where patterns of irregular attendance from staff become unacceptable, or where long-term sickness absence persists and there is no prospect of a regular return to work. Some staff may also qualify for ill health retirement in certain circumstances, under the terms of their pension scheme.

In the period March 2008 to February 2009, the MOD dismissed 59 civilian employees for unacceptable attendance, 29 for long-term sickness absence and granted ill health retirement to a further 157 employees. A monthly breakdown of this is as follows:

2008 2009
Reason Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Total















Long term














Ill health




























Departmental Furniture

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on the purchase of new chairs for its main building in the last two years; what the unit cost was of each type of chair purchased; and what best value criteria were applied. [263694]

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Mr. Kevan Jones: In the last two years, the MOD has spent £17,687 on new chairs. I am withholding the unit costs of the individual items as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interests. The terms of the contract require the contractor, Modus Services Ltd., to seek to obtain best value for money in its purchasing.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent by his Department on new furniture in each year since 2001. [264197]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The information requested is set out in the following table:

Financial year Amount (£ million)















The figures exclude PFI/PPP projects where the furniture is supplied by the industrial partner and forms a part of the overall project costs. This figure does include furniture for barracks, family accommodation and office furniture. Data are not held prior to financial year 2002-03. Data for financial year 2008-09 are to 31 January 2009 only.

Departmental Official Hospitality

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on (a) alcohol and (b) food in each of the last five years. [261156]

Mr. Kevan Jones: A breakdown of the constituent elements of official entertainment is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

There are specific rules on the quantities of alcohol that may be provided at public expense and the circumstances in which alcohol may be served. The policy, rules and guidance on the provision of official entertainment are set out in chapter 45 of Joint Services Publication 462 (Financial Management Policy Manual), copies of which are available in the Library of the House and online under the MOD’s Publication Scheme at:



Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people over the age of 50 years have been diagnosed with alcoholism in (a) England, (b) the North East, (c) Tees Valley district and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency in each of the last five years. [264372]

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Dawn Primarolo: There are no data collected nationally on diagnoses of ‘alcoholism’.

Contaminated Blood and Blood Products Inquiry

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration he has given to responding to the report from the Archer Inquiry into contaminated blood and blood products; if he will respond in full to its recommendations; and if he will make a statement. [264205]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department is carefully considering the recommendations made by Lord Archer. In recognition of the seriousness we attach to this issue, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and I have met with Lord Archer to discuss his recommendations.

Departmental Public Consultation

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what payments for (a) polling and (b) other services his Department has made to (i) Deborah Mattinson and (ii) Opinion Leader Research Limited since 31 December 2007; and if he will make a statement. [261055]

Mr. Bradshaw: No payments have been made by the Department to Deborah Mattinson. Since 31 December 2007, Opinion Leader Research Limited have been paid £230,871 in total by the Department for a range of work, contracts for which were awarded using standard procurement processes.


Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the average daily calorific intake of (a) men and (b) women. [263582]

Dawn Primarolo: The most recent information available on the average daily total energy (calorie) intake of males and females is shown in the following table. This is taken from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of adults aged 19 to 64 years, carried out in 2000-01.

Average daily total energy intake (kcal and MJ) by sex
Energy intake
Male Female
Age (years) kcal/day MJ/day kcal/day MJ/day

19 to 64*





* Source:
Data from Henderson L, Gregory J, Irving K and Swan G. National Diet and Nutrition Survey: adults aged 19 to 64 years. Volume 2: Energy, protein, carbohydrate, fat and alcohol intake. The Stationery Office (London: 2003).

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