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12 Oct 2009 : Column 411W—continued


Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the RAF Typhoon to be deployed to Afghanistan. [290066]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There are no plans to replace the Tornado in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.


12 Oct 2009 : Column 412W

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will commission research into post-traumatic stress in pilots of unmanned aerial vehicles operating in conflict areas in Afghanistan. [291629]

Mr. Kevan Jones: MOD takes seriously the mental health of all armed forces personnel. The RAF Medical Services have not detected any instances of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, nor any acute stress reaction, in any UK pilot responsible for the operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Afghanistan. There are currently no plans to commission specific research into the mental health of these particular aircrew.

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department will make arrangements to embed the journalist Michael Yon with British forces in Afghanistan. [292511]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Any request by Michael Yon to embed with British forces in Afghanistan will be considered alongside other requests from the media, as was the case for his previous embeds.

He will 'not' be given special treatment, neither will he be disadvantaged by comparison with others.

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the key user requirements relating to the current improvised explosive device threat in Afghanistan are, as used by his Department in the procurement of armoured fighting vehicles. [292512]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The requirements of vehicles for Afghanistan are primarily determined by the specific task the vehicle is to carry out and the threat it is expected to face. This means we need to find the right balance between capability, survivability, mobility and the physical protection that operational commanders demand. I cannot comment on the specific types and levels of protection, as disclosure could prejudice the security of the armed forces.

Air Force: Festivals and Special Occasions

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Air Force shows there were in 2008; and how many he expects there to be in (a) 2012, (b) 2013, (c) 2014 and (d) 2015. [291513]

Bill Rammell: Three Royal Air Force shows were held in 2008, at Waddington, Leuchars and Cosford. The programme for Royal Air Force shows is decided on an annual basis. No decisions have yet been taken regarding shows for the years between 2012 and 2015. In addition to these Royal Air Force shows, the Royal Air Force provides assets for displays and flypasts at several hundred civilian and military events each year.

Armed Forces

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place a copy of the most recent (a) Chief of the General Staff's Briefing Team, (b) RAF Personnel Liaison Team and (c) Navy Personnel Liaison Team report in the Library. [291569]


12 Oct 2009 : Column 413W

Bill Rammell: The most recent report compiled by the Chief of the General Staff's Briefing Team, that for 2008, was placed in the Library of the House in May 2009 and remains the most recently published at this time; a copy of the next report, due for publication in 2010, will be placed in the Library of the House when formally published.

The Royal Air Force Liaison Team was disestablished in 2005 and its last report, published in May 2004, was released into the public domain in late 2008; a copy of this report will be deposited in the Library of the House.

The Royal Navy's Second Sea Lord's Personnel Liaison Team was disestablished in late 2005 though a copy of its last report, published in May 2005, was released into the public domain in late 2008; a copy of this report will be deposited in the Library of the House.

Armed Forces Resettlement Grants

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many applications for armed forces resettlement grants have been refused on the basis of age-related eligibility in the last five years; [291707]

(2) when he next plans to review the age criteria for eligibility for armed forces resettlement grants; [291708]

(3) for what reasons service in the armed forces before the age of 18 does not count for gratuity purposes. [291709]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Age related criteria for the resettlement grant only apply to those service leavers who are members of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) 75 and there are no plans to review this at present. Under AFPS 75 there is a time served eligibility criterion of nine years from the age of 21 and for other ranks 12 years service from the age of 18. If these criteria are satisfied payment is made as soon after a discharge date as possible. No application for a resettlement grant is required, although a form is completed to confirm where payment is to be made. As a consequence none have been declined.

Reckonable service for other ranks was deemed to be from the date of joining or the age of 18 whichever is the latest. Historically, those who joined the armed forces under the age of 18 were boy soldiers, sailors, airmen or apprentices. They had rights to discharge prior to their 18th birthday different to those who were older. Conversion to reckonable service took place automatically for those that were serving on their 18th birthday. For officers, reckonable service commenced from age 21 to reflect the career pattern of those that normally joined after university. Like other ranks, officers who joined under the age of 21 had different conditions of service which automatically transferred to reckonable service on reaching their 21st birthday.

Following the introduction of Armed Forces Pension Scheme 05 on 6 April 2005, service personnel were given the option to transfer from AFPS 75 to the new scheme. For those that did and all new joiners to the armed forces, regardless of age, reckonable service commences from the date of joining. The time served criteria for resettlement grant of 12 years now applies to both groups and is widely accepted to be much fairer.


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Armed Forces: Casualties

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel have been (a) killed and (b) seriously injured on active service in each of the last 30 years. [291801]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The number of service personnel who have died on active service (which is defined as military duty in an operational area) are set out in the following table:

Number

All

1,030

1979

48

1980

17

1981

23

1982

265

1983

15

1984

19

1985

6

1986

12

1987

11

1988

33

1989

14

1990

19

1991

53

1992

6

1993

10

1994

15

1995

12

1996

13

1997

5

1998

8

1999

9

2000

6

2001

8

2002

6

2003

52

2004

24

2005

24

2006

69

2007

89

2008

55

2009 (up to 5 October)

84


Information on service personnel seriously injured prior to 2001 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Since 2001, the numbers of service personnel who have been very seriously, or seriously, injured while on active service in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan are set out in the following table.


12 Oct 2009 : Column 415W

All VSI SI

All

513

205

308

2001

6

2

4

2002

3

3

0

2003

50

14

36

2004

53

17

36

2005

22

7

15

2006

65

29

36

2007

134

47

87

2008

74

32

42

2009 (up to 15 September)

106

54

52


Armed Forces: Engineering

Mr. Newmark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of precision engineering equipment used by the armed forces is purchased from UK suppliers. [291676]

Mr. Quentin Davies: This information is not held in the format requested. It is, however, estimated that about 70 per cent. of MOD expenditure on precision instruments (e.g. medical instruments, scientific instruments, navigational instruments etc) is with companies where work was carried out in the UK, but not necessarily by UK-owned companies. This figure does not include expenditure on those contracts managed via British Defence Staff in the United States, activities subcontracted to industry by MOD Trading Funds or through international collaborative projects.

Armed Forces: Housing

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service families have been granted housing under shared equity schemes since the publication of Command Paper 7424. [291511]

Mr. Kevan Jones: This information is not held in the format requested.

The Key Worker Living programme in England is run on behalf of the Government by 23 regional "Homebuy Agents". There is no requirement to advise the MOD of how many successful applications are from service families.

In Wales, the devolved Administration do not record those in shared equity schemes who are members of service families.

Since August 2008 Scotland began collecting information of this type and to date there are 10 households where the shared equity buyer has declared themselves as being a member of the armed forces or a veteran. However, this may understate the position as not all buyers choose to return a form advising of their employment group in a timely fashion.

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel had priority status under the Key Worker Living scheme in England in 2008. [291512]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Eligibility for Key Worker Status extends to all Regular Armed Forces personnel, including MPGS, MOD Police, Defence Fire Service and clinical staff in MOD medical establishments of all personal status categories. They retain their entitlement to Key Worker Status for the first year after leaving.

However, one of the criteria to be applied in determining key worker status is to have a household income of less than £60,000. While we can identify those service personnel who have a salary less than this amount we do not hold information on other income generated by the household.


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