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As we have already announced, it is our intention that HM Naval Base Portsmouth will be the home port for the new Type 45 Destroyers and the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers. Subject to main investment decisions to be made early in the next decade, the most complex war fighting variant of the next generation of Royal Naval frigates—the Future Surface Combatant—will be base-ported in Portsmouth to maximise the benefits of the common systems and equipment also fitted to the Type 45s and Carriers. The strategic decisions being taken as part of the Maritime Change Programme pave the way for Portsmouth to become, in the longer-term,
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the main operating base for our most complex warships. In addition to providing Fleet Time Engineering Support for these vessels and the eight Hunt Class Mine Counter Measure Vessels, Portsmouth will undertake sufficient Deep Maintenance activity on an occasional basis to sustain the capability of key skills.

I can confirm that HM Naval Base Devonport will be the main operating base for Amphibious Shipping, Survey and Hydrographic vessels, for the Type 22 frigates and, for at least the next five years, for seven of the Type 23 frigates. Work will be undertaken to look carefully at the nature of the less complex Future Surface Combatant variants and to consider the optimal base-porting arrangements for these vessels, taking account of similarities with existing classes. This work will help determine whether there is any case to change the base-porting of the Type 23 frigates. Devonport will also continue to provide world class sea training through Flag Officer Sea Training and will undertake Fleet Time Engineering support for base-ported ships and for visiting sea training vessels. Devonport will also retain and, subject to commercial negotiations, enhance its position as the centre of excellence for Surface Ship and Submarine Deep maintenance activity. Finally, subject to ongoing approvals, we will develop Devonport as the centre of specialisation for Amphibious Operations by moving 1 Assault Group Royal Marines, including the Landing Craft of 10 training Squadron and 539 Assault Squadron currently at Poole and Turnchapel, to Devonport.

Following on from that, HM Naval Base Clyde will become the main operating base for all classes of submarines, including the future classes of submarines, such as the replacement for the Vanguard Class, and eight Sandown Class Mine Counter Measure Vessels. Fleet Time Engineering support for these vessels will also be undertaken at Clyde. To reduce duplication of facilities and to provide future stability for submarine personnel, we intend to accelerate the move towards a single submarine operating base some six years earlier than originally planned, although there will be no base-porting changes for around five years. This decision will see three of the Trafalgar Class submarines transfer their base port to HM Naval Base Clyde upon completion of their respective mid-commission major maintenance periods. This is currently expected to be by 2017, while four will remain at HM Naval Base Devonport until their planned decommissioning dates (currently 2010 to 2017). We will ensure that the necessary infrastructure to support this move will be put in place.

The ISOLUS Project, which is the work under way to develop the solution for the dismantling and recycling of our nuclear submarines, continues to make good progress. We remain committed to complying with legislation and Government policy and will be conducting further research, assessments and consultation before any final recommendations are made. We are on track to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment later this year, including a period of public consultation. After the Strategic Environmental Assessment it is also our intention to establish a demonstrator programme to optimise the process to dismantle and recycle as much material as feasibly possible from our submarines after they have left Royal Navy service, and to examine issues such as how to reuse the reclaimed material in the future. It has been decided, after consultation with stakeholder groups, that the project will be renamed the
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Submarine Dismantling Project to reflect more accurately the scope and future direction of our work in this important area. I expect the next announcement, outlining the proposed dismantling and storage solution, to be made in 2010.

In summary, this suite of decisions seeks to provide clarity and remove uncertainty as far as is possible for many of our stakeholders, including our people and their families, industrial partners and those communities local to the naval bases.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Veterinary Products Committee

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Jane Kennedy): I have received the annual report of the Veterinary Products Committee and its sub-Committees for 2008, which has been published today.

Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

I am pleased to acknowledge the valuable work done by the distinguished members of the Veterinary Products Committee and its sub-Committees and thank them for the time and effort dedicated in the public interest to this important work.

Home Department

National Identity Service

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Shahid Malik): The sixth Cost Report of the National Identity Service is being laid before Parliament today. It sets out an estimate of the public expenditure likely to be incurred on the service over the next 10 years, in accordance with section 37 of the Identity Cards Act 2006. It reports on developments over the past six months, since the fifth Cost Report was published on 6 November 2008. Copies of the report will be available in the Vote Office.

In addition the House will wish to know that we are also publishing today the following three statements: “The National Identity Service: Delivery Update:2009”; Identity Cards Act Secondary Legislation: a Response to the Consultation”; and “ Identity Cards Act Secondary Legislation: an Impact Assessment”. Copies of these documents will be placed in the Vote Office and the Libraries of both Houses.


Prison Service Pay Review Body

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Mr. David Hanson): I am pleased to announce that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor has re-appointed Dr. Henrietta Campbell for two years, and Richard Childs and Joseph Magee for three years as members of the Prison Service Pay Review Body, commencing April 2009. The re-appointments
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have been conducted in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ guidance on appointments to public bodies.

Archival Services

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Mr. Michael Wills): I am today publishing a consultation document, “Archives for the 21st Century”, asking for views on the Government’s proposed new policy for archival services.

Archive services contribute greatly to a modern democratic society: they are the custodians of the nation’s collective memory and an integral part of a healthy democracy. A high proportion of our archival heritage is held by nearly 300 publicly funded archive services within local authorities and universities. Their core mission is to acquire and preserve records from a wide range of sources relating to a particular local or specialist topic and to make these as accessible as possible for public use.

The consultation document sets out the Government’s vision for a vibrant archival sector, one that works closely with and supports the communities served and
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that maximises opportunities to make archives accessible to an even wider range of people. It also seeks to build the foundations for a more sustainable future for the sector, responding to the challenges of the digital information age.

The Government are seeking views on the main proposals to help meet these challenges. They are:

This consultation, which closes on 12 August 2009, is accompanied by impact and equality assessments. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. It can also be accessed via the National Archives website at: consultation

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