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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
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:
£1,500,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross for relief supplies such as food and plastic sheets for shelter and medical staff to treat the injured;
£1,000,000 to Office of the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Refugees for activities such as overseeing the registration of internally displaced people (IDPs) and advocating to the Government of Sri Lanka for better conditions in camp settlements;
£250,000 has been committed to the International Organisation for Migration for trucking and logistical services;
£250,000 has been committed to the World Food Programme for food delivery and logistical services to other organisations such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs);
£335,000 has been committed to IOM for emergency assistance in IDP camps.
£750,000 is under consideration for UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for setting up the multi donor Sri Lanka emergency response fund which will give funds quickly to NGOs once established; and
£915,000 remains on hand ready to be flexibly programmed as the situation demands on the ground.
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; 
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.
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.
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
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.
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. 
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.
|July 2008||November 2007||April 2006||April 2005||April 2004|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (£)|
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 individuals appropriate spine. 
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|
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