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The Government are committed to rebuilding apprenticeships. Since 1997, we have witnessed a renaissance in apprenticeships from a low point of 65,000 to a record 225,000 apprenticeship starts in 2007/08. Completion rates are also at a record high with 64 per cent. successfully completing an apprenticeshipup from 37 per cent. in 2004/05.
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills when he plans to reply to the letter of 19 March 2009 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. J. Harris, transferred from the Department for Work and Pensions. 
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made in implementing the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in UK and international military programmes in Afghanistan in the last 12 months. 
The UK is committed to the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, to protect the rights of women and girls in areas suffering conflict, and to incorporate their perspectives in conflict resolution and peacekeeping planning. In Afghanistan, the impact on women is routinely considered as we take forward our military, stabilisation, governance and reconstruction activity. In support of this resolution the UK is funding various programmes to promote womens equal participation in governance and to build awareness of womens rights among civil society and policy makers. This includes two bilateral programmes that address
issues of violence against women. The Government contribute £737,000 to the UN Development Fund for Women (UNTFEM)s Elimination of Violence against Women Special Fund. Through this programme, Government partners and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are being supported to improve protection and assistance to women at risk and victims of violence. The UK is also supporting a five-year Womens Empowerment programme from 2005-10, implemented by the NGO Womankind. This £500,000 initiative focuses on promoting womens equal participation in governance; building awareness of womens rights among civil society and policy makers; and on providing educational, health, community and counselling support for victims of violence.
Over a third of children now enrolled in school are girls.
We have committed over £35 million to support the Afghan governments micro-finance programme, giving women in particular better access to finance.
Following the adoption of a quota system, 27 per cent. of seats in the lower house of the Afghan Parliament are now held by women.
Single living accommodation is classed as unoccupied when it is not routinely used overnight. However, this includes, for example, rooms which are assigned to individuals on operational deployments and not available for reassignment.
Service accommodation can be unoccupied for various reasons, such as, being held pending due to planned moves of service personnel, is subject to major maintenance, modernisation, demolition or disposal work.
Mr. Kevan Jones: The Defence Fraud Analysis Unit has conducted an investigation into commercial activities at the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency. While fraud has not been identified, the report raises potentially serious issues and an internal investigation has therefore been commissioned. The chief executive and former finance director, now director corporate services, have been suspended on full pay pending the outcome of this investigation.
Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of jobs in the defence sector in Dunfermline and West Fife constituency in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: The information is not held in the format requested, therefore the MOD is not able to provide these figures at constituency level. However, figures can be provided for the numbers of MOD civilian and service personnel who are directly employed at MOD establishments/bases located in the Fife local authority area, which includes West Fife and Dunfermline, for each of the last three years. This information is provided in the following table.
|All MOD service personnel||MOD civilian personnel||Total|
Estimates for those people in Scotland employed directly and indirectly in industry, commerce and those companies that receive contracts directly from MOD and indirectly through the supply chain supporting such contracts, for each of the last five years, is provided in the following table.
Figures rounded to the nearest 500 jobs.
John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions arising from the operation of ICT systems in his Department under the Greening Government ICT Strategy. 
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what estimate he has made of the (a) energy consumed by, (b) energy cost of and (c) carbon dioxide emissions from each category of IT device in each division of his Department in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what steps his Department has taken to address the effect on levels of carbon dioxide emissions from his Department of its ICT purchases since the publication of the Greening Government ICT Strategy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: The MOD Sustainable Development Strategy identifies Green ICT as a key enabler in reducing the emissions from our estate and we remain committed to achieving the stated targets provided as follows.
Green ICT Roadmap to deliver Government targets developed (completed).
Be ready to report on the progress made towards ICT Carbon Neutrality.
Energy consumption of Government ICT on the office estate will be Carbon Neutral by 2012.
All new MOD ICT will be Carbon Neutral across its lifecycle.
We established an internal Sustainable Procurement Programme Office in 2008 that has incorporated all of the key steps from the Greening Government ICT Strategy into our overarching policies and guidance for procurement. We have also run the challenging Green ICT Scorecard against our current and future infrastructure service.
Information about energy consumption, energy cost and carbon dioxide emissions from our ICT equipment for each of the past five years is not been held in the format requested and so any retrospective estimate could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department paid to its civil servants in bonuses in each year since 1997; and (a) how many bonuses were paid, (b) what the aggregate monetary value of the bonuses was and (c) what the highest bonus paid was in each such year. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: Bonus arrangements for senior civil service (SCS) staff were changed in 2002-03, and for staff below the SCS, new bonus arrangements were introduced in 2003. Therefore, information between 1997 and 2003 is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The amounts paid to civil servants in each year, the number of bonuses paid and the aggregate monetary value of the bonuses and the highest bonus in each year since the 2003-04 FY are shown as follows. Figures for payment in FY 2009-10 are not yet available.
|Financial year||Number of bonuses paid||Value of bonuses paid (£)||Maximum bonus (£)|
Mr. Philip Hammond:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies paid in end-of-year performance bonuses to (i)
all staff and (ii) senior Civil Service staff in 2008-09; and how many such payments were made. 
|Number of payments made||Value of payments made (£)|
For the SCS, the size of the non-consolidated performance pay pot is based on recommendations by the independent Senior Salaries Review Body. For performance year 2007-08 to which the information refers, the limit was set at 8.6 per cent. of the SCS pay pot. The median payment was £8,000. The Government have responded positively to current economic conditions by freezing the size of the pot for payments to be made in 2009-10.
The total paybill for staff below the senior civil service, excluding trading funds, covered by the main pay award is £1.827 billion, of which, up to 2.7 per cent. is for non-consolidated performance awards to staff. The median payment in 2008-09 was £775.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the performance and effectiveness of the UK's current fleet of AW101 Merlin helicopters; for how long he estimates those aircraft will remain in service in the UK armed forces; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: The UK operates two basic variants of Merlin helicopter; the Merlin Mk1, which entered service in 1999, delivers a variety of maritime roles and the Mk3/3a, which entered service in 2000 (Mk3) and 2008 (Mk3a), is operated in a battlefield support role. Since introduction into service, the Merlin helicopter has proved itself to be a very capable modern operational platform, having already provided excellent support to operations in Iraq and ongoing maritime and anti-piracy operations. We expect to deploy the Merlin to Afghanistan later this year.
Our Merlin aircraft are expected to remain in service for at least another 20 years, and we are exploring opportunities to extend this further. The Merlin Mk1 is already undergoing a major capability sustainment activity and we are currently investigating the optimum means of maintaining Merlin Mk3/3a capability.
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