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1 Apr 2009 : Column 1263W—continued

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much capital spending is planned to be brought forward by his Department to (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10. [266292]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: No capital expenditure has been brought forward.

Sri Lanka: Internally Displaced Persons

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps the Government have taken to assist displaced persons in Sri Lanka. [267222]

Mr. Thomas: The UK Government have repeatedly pressed at the very highest levels that both parties to the conflict abide by their fundamental obligations under international humanitarian law and that the quantity and frequency of food and other relief shipments to the conflict areas be increased urgently.

To strengthen international humanitarian response in Sri Lanka we are working closely in support of the UN in setting up a new multi-donor emergency response
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fund. This will be managed by the UN to provide a rapid response to assist displaced people. DFID has committed £5,000,000 of humanitarian assistance since September 2008. This has been used in the following ways:


Armed Forces

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many non-UK citizens are (a) seconded to and (b) being trained by the British Army; how many in each case are from each foreign country; how long on average the (i) training programmes and (ii) secondments are; and what the (A) average cost and (B) objectives of each are; [267355]

(2) how many British Army personnel are (a) being trained by and (b) seconded to military forces outside the UK; where they are located; and what the purpose of these attachments is. [267356]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Given the many forms of secondment and training undertaken, involving over 100 countries and ranging, in terms of size, from individuals attending staff courses, through British military advisory and training teams, to the training being given by British Army units in Iraq and Afghanistan, the statistical information requested for average costs and lengths of secondment and courses is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Similarly, the specific objectives of each secondment and training course are not held centrally but the principal objective is to use British Army assets in peacetime to discourage hostility abroad, build and maintain trust between states, facilitate inter-operability between British and overseas armed forces, develop and sustain alliances, provide partner nations with the skills to undertake peace support and counter-terrorism operations, and assist in the development of democratically accountable armed forces; thereby helping to make a significant contribution to conflict prevention and resolution.

The provision of training is also undertaken for income generation purposes but all offers of training are made only where they comply with wider Government policy on engagement and the relevant security restrictions applying to each country.

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Armed Forces: Discrimination

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what steps the Government are taking to ensure women are not discriminated against in the armed forces; [267686]

(2) what steps the Government are taking to ensure members of ethnic minorities are not discriminated against in the armed forces. [267687]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The armed forces aim to create a working environment free from harassment, intimidation and unlawful discrimination in which everyone is not only valued and respected, but encouraged to realise their full potential, regardless of race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, social background or sexual orientation. All complaints of discrimination or harassment are taken seriously, investigated thoroughly and, when proven, dealt with robustly.

The Departmental Equality and Diversity Scheme 2008-11, published in 2008, sets out the Ministry of Defence strategy for meeting our statutory duties on equality and diversity. Education is central to the drive to promote awareness of diversity and equality and to eliminate unacceptable behaviour. Equality and diversity training is undertaken at the Joint Equality and Diversity Training Centre and widely across all three Services. Other measures include: confidential advice and support helplines; trained equal and diversity advisers in every unit; guidance, videos and briefings on diversity issues. Progress made by the armed forces in promoting racial equality was recognised when all three Services finished in the top 10 public sector employers in Race for Opportunity's annual benchmarking report.

An independent Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces took up her appointment on 1 January 2008. The Commissioner has the power to refer allegations of discrimination, harassment, bullying, and dishonest, improper or biased behaviour to the chain of command for action. The role of the Commissioner is to provide scrutiny and assurance that the complaints process is working effectively and that lessons are learned and changes implemented.

Armed Forces: Health Services

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average interval between operational tours for each medical regiment was in the latest period for which information is available. [265136]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Army Medical Regiments are deployed on operations in the close support role, as part of a wider medical framework that is provided by the Medical Group.

The Medical Group can be commanded by any of the three single Services with sub-unit sized elements from the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. The Territorial Army also makes a significant contribution to the Medical Group, particularly in the hospital role. The provision of medical capability determines the composition of the Medical Group rather than being defined by a Medical Regiment, which could deploy as a whole or in part as a component of the Medical Regiment. As such, calculating the tour interval for these units does not appropriately reflect the dynamic
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manner in which they are deployed or indeed provide insight as to the effect on individual Service Personnel who are trickle posted through these units.

Armed Forces: Housing

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of his Department's expenditure on upgrading of service family accommodation in 2008-09; and what estimate he has made of such expenditure in each of the next five years. [266352]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Approximately £35 million is forecast to be spent in 2008-09 on upgrading Service Family Accommodation (SFA) in the United Kingdom to the Department's highest standard for condition. We are also spending £25 million on other improvements which would not constitute an upgrade, but improves the quality of life for Service occupants and their families.

The current plan is for expenditure of approximately £48 million each year over the next five years on upgrading SFA in the United Kingdom.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of single family accommodation units were in condition (a) 1, (b) 2, (c) 3 and (d) 4 in each of the last five years. [267644]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Of those service family accommodation properties worldwide assessed for their standard for condition (SfC), the following percentage were at each SfC in the last five years:


July 2008 November 2007 April 2006 April 2005 April 2004

























Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many single family accommodation units have dropped one or more condition levels in each of the last five years. [267645]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his most recent estimate is of the average cost of upgrading a single family accommodation unit. [267646]

Mr. Kevan Jones: It is not possible to provide a meaningful average cost of upgrading service family accommodation (SFA) properties as costs can vary considerably depending on the amount of work required for each property, the number of properties covered by a particular project and other factors such as size of properties and the type of construction.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much has been spent on upgrading service family accommodation in 2008-09; [267647]

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(2) what the planned spending on upgrading service family accommodation is in each of the next five years. [267648]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Up to 28 February, 2008-09 expenditure on upgrading service family accommodation (SFA) was some £30 million. The final expenditure for 2008-09 will not be confirmed until a little while after the financial year end.

Upgrade expenditure of some £48 million is planned in each of the next five years.

Armed Forces: Recruitment

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the numbers of people to be recruited into the armed forces over the next three years. [260788]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Current recruiting targets for the Royal Navy and Army over the next three years are in the following tables. It should be noted that recruitment targets are constantly being monitored and readjusted by the services and therefore these figures are liable to change.

Royal Navy
















The current downturn in the UK's economy has caused marked changes in the current outflow rate of RAF Servicemen and as a result the forecast outflow rates for the next several financial years (FY) have also had to be reassessed.

This means that the previously derived recruiting targets are currently having to be recalculated.

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on encouraging former members of the armed forces to re-enlist; and if he will make a statement. [265899]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Royal Navy and the RAF currently have no specific campaigns in place to encourage former member of their Services to rejoin, although the Royal Navy has conducted small-scale targeted letter campaigns in the past.

In the Army, however, ex-soldiers are actively encouraged to rejoin the Army by the use of non-remunerative measures (maintenance of regimental links, public information activities, and press releases etc.) and remunerative measures in the form of the Army rejoin bounty. The bounty was introduced to offer a partial solution, in conjunction with the use of other manning levers, to fill shortfalls and ranges between £2,000 to £12,000 for those personnel already qualified to rejoin specific pinch point trades at specified ranks.

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Army: Pay

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average pay of (a) lance corporals and (b) privates was at the latest date for which figures are available. [267649]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The average annual basic pay of lance corporals and privates and their equivalents in the RN/RM and RAF is provided in the following table. The averages shown are based on pay rates for 2009-10 as announced by the Government on 31 March 2009 and service numbers as at January 2009.

Rank Average annual basic pay (£)

Lance corporal and equivalent


Private and equivalent


Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of (a) lance corporals, (b) privates, (c) corporals, (d) sergeants, (e) warrant officer 2s, (f) staff sergeants and (g) warrant officer 1s are in the (i) higher and (ii) lower pay spine; and what criteria are used to determine an individual’s appropriate spine. [267650]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information requested is provided in the table. The figures represent the ranks specified and their equivalents in RN/RM and the RAF. The percentages shown are based on service numbers as at January 2009.

Rank Percentage in higher band Percentage in lower band

Warrant Officer 1



Warrant Officer 2



Staff Sergeant









Lance Corporal






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