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Military Aid: Training

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on the provision of defence training in (a) Afghanistan, (b) Belarus, (c) Burma, (d) China, (e) Colombia, (f) Cuba, (g) the Democratic Republic of Congo, (h) the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, (i) Iran, (j) Iraq, (k) Israel, (l) Palestine, (m) Pakistan, (n) Russia, (o) Saudi Arabia, (p) Somalia, (q) Sudan, (r) Syria, (s) Turkmenistan, (t) Uzbekistan, (u) Vietnam and (v) Libya in each year since 2003; what training activities were provided; and which (i) provider and (ii) recipient organisation participated in each activity. [301953]

Bill Rammell: A key principle of UK Security Cooperation is to use MOD assets in peacetime to prevent conflict abroad, build and maintain trust between states and assist in the development of democratically accountable armed forces; thereby helping to make a significant contribution to conflict prevention and resolution in line with commitment to Public Service Agreement 30 (Conflict Prevention). I am withholding the detailed information requested as its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and another state.

Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Army, (b) Royal Air Force and (c) Royal Navy helicopters are based in the United Kingdom. [302796]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The total number of Army, Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy helicopters based in the UK (as at 31 October 2009) is shown in the following table:

Service Total number of UK based helicopters

Army

182

RAF

167

Navy

128


These are used for training as well as search and rescue.

A proportion of the Army, Navy and RAF manned United Kingdom based helicopter fleet are currently deployed outside of the UK on expeditionary operations. Contractor owned fleets are not shown.

Military Bases: Northern Ireland

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of security at military bases in Northern Ireland. [302823]


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Bill Rammell: The security of all military bases within the United Kingdom and overseas is kept under constant review. In Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Security Guard Service has recently been trained on and equipped with long barrelled weapons. Security infrastructure improvements have also been made to all barracks in order to match current threat assessments. I am withholding specific details of the measures taken as their disclosure would be likely to prejudice the security, capability and effectiveness of the armed forces.

Peacekeeping Operations: Females

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice his Department gives to British troops in theatre on their responsibilities to bear down on actions that would increase the risk of violence against women. [303566]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: ISAF forces in Afghanistan continue to work hard, in conjunction with the Afghan National Security Forces, to afford all Afghan nationals, both men, women and children, a safe and secure environment in which to go about their daily lives.

Afghan cultural awareness training is provided to all UK personnel deploying to Afghanistan which includes cultural differences when interacting with Afghan women. UK personnel operate at all times under rules of engagement which ensure that force is used in accordance with international humanitarian law. This ensures that civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure are minimised.

Rescue Services: Procurement

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to (a) conclude negotiations and (b) award contracts for the provision of search and rescue services from 2012 onwards. [303635]

Bill Rammell: The competition to bring together the Search and Rescue helicopter capability currently provided by the Ministry of Defence and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency into one harmonised service continues. Negotiations will be completed and the contract placed at an appropriate point following DFT and MOD Ministerial approval. This is expected to be in good time to allow the service to commence in 2012.

Supply Estimates

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons £100 million has been transferred from Capital Resource to Direct Resource within RfR 1 in his Department's Winter Supplementary Estimates. [304442]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Departmental Plan assumed a total transfer of £700 million from SUME Capital to Direct Resource. However, in the 2009-10 Main Estimate we deemed that it would be prudent to switch only £600 million until the departmental forecast had sufficiently matured in year. Our 2009-10 Main Estimates Memoranda (paragraph 3.1) pointed out that a further transfer from SUME Capital to Direct Resource might be made in
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the Supplementary round. The resource transfer has been allocated to the Defence Equipment and Support TLB.

Trident Missiles

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in which countries the (a) arming, fusing and firing system components, (b) neutron generators and (c) gas reservoirs of Trident nuclear warheads are manufactured; and if he will make a statement. [303890]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: As the 2006 white paper (Cm6994) makes clear (paragraph 7-3) certain non-nuclear components of the existing warhead are procured from the US on cost-effectiveness grounds. These non-nuclear components include the arming, fuzing and firing system, neutron initiators and gas transfer system.

Uranium

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to his Department's recent review of the Enriched Uranium Project at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, for what reasons it was decided not to (a) use existing equipment in the A90 facility for Enriched Uranium work and (b) install equipment for Enriched Uranium work in the A90 facility. [303524]

Mr. Quentin Davies: Neither of these options are practicable.

The existing equipment in the A90 facility is unsuitable for use in Enriched Uranium handling. Building A90 is not large enough to enable the installation of dedicated equipment for undertaking such work.

Children, Schools and Families

Biofuels: Boilers

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what information his Department holds on (a) the number of biomass boilers installed in schools and (b) the reliability and efficacy of such boilers. [303754]

Mr. Coaker: The Department does not have a comprehensive record of installed biomass boilers and does not collect or hold information on their performance.

We do however know when they are planned within the Building Schools for the Future and Academies School Building programmes where we provide funding.

The Department is providing additional funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in more than 200 schools in Building Schools for the Future and the Academies programme. This funding is designed to enable newly constructed schools to meet a carbon emissions reduction of 60 per cent. relative to the energy efficiency standards in 2002 building regulations. Of the 79 new schools for which we have detailed information on the measures they will be using, 68 are planning to use biomass. Two of these propose to include biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plants, and one proposes a combination of biomass and a ground source heat pump.


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Children: Carers

Chloe Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in how many households in Norwich North constituency a child under the age of 18 years fulfils the role of a carer for a disabled parent. [301705]

Dawn Primarolo: Precise local and national data on the number of children under the age of 18 years caring for a disabled parent are not collected centrally.

Children: Grants

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the objectives of the Home Access grant for children are; what the (a) average and (b) maximum amount disbursed to each student will be; how many students he expects to receive the grant in each year of its operation; what may be purchased with monies from the grant; what the unit cost of each model of laptop from the chosen suppliers is; and whether the home access package will include free broadband. [303865]

Ms Diana R. Johnson: Objectives of the home access grant: the home access programme will support those low-income families that need Government intervention to obtain a computer and connectivity as well as benefit parents and learners; it will do this through three targeted approaches:

Specifically, the home access grant will provide financial assistance to address the first of these. In the national roll-out of the programme there will be one grant per household.

The average amount (a) disbursed to each family through the grant is forecast to be around £500, with the maximum amount (b) (excluding assistive technology add-ons) being £528 for the full package. Where a full package is not required, the grants will be for £400 for the device with on board software and support only; or £180 for one year's broadband internet connectivity only.

270,000 families are expected to benefit by March 2011, which equates to over 500,000 students in these eligible households. This breaks down to around 30,000 students in calendar year 2009, including the pilot, and the remaining 470,000 in 2010.

The monies from the grant will enable parents to purchase a choice of equipment using one of six approved suppliers. All packages can include broadband connectivity if this is needed.

Children: Missing Persons

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what progress his Department is making in the implementation of the European telephone number for missing children; and if he will make a statement. [302837]


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Ian Lucas: I have been asked to reply.

In the UK the establishment of a system of pan-European, harmonised numbers for services of social value, including the 116000 Missing Children helpline, is being overseen by the independent regulator for communications, Ofcom, together with the Government's Contact Council. On 28 October Ofcom confirmed the selection of organisations which would run the first three numbers to be rolled out in the UK, including the appointment of the "Missing People" charity to run the Missing Children line. Missing People is now finalising the arrangements through which it will work with a communications provider to deliver on this helpline and is looking to launch the 116000 number to be run, in parallel with Missing People's existing helpline numbers, in the next financial year.

Departmental Buildings

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many residential properties his Department owns; and how many (a) are occupied and (b) have been empty for more than six months. [303993]

Ms Diana R. Johnson: The Department for Children, Schools and Families has no residential properties to report on.

Departmental Consultants

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many external consultants work for his Department. [303232]

Ms Diana R. Johnson: In keeping with good procurement practice most consultancy engagements placed by DCSF are based on a requirement for the delivery of outcomes or outputs, and not for the number of people employed. Our management information system reflects this and records the numbers and values of contracts or engagements, rather than individual consultants. We are, therefore, unable to answer the question in the way it has been asked.

Departmental Contracts

Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what criteria his Department uses in determining the award of contracts; and how much his Department and its predecessors spent on the advertisement of tenders for Government contracts since 1997. [303100]

Ms Diana R. Johnson: The Department evaluates most contracts on a best value for money basis taking into account whole life costs. On rare occasions we use lowest price.

Information on the amount spent on advertising tenders since 1997 could be provided only at disproportionate costs.

Departmental Cost Effectiveness

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what efficiency savings projects his Department put in place under the Operational
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Efficiency Programme; on what date each such project was initiated; how much each such project was expected to contribute to departmental savings; how much had been saved through each such project on the latest date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [300929]

Ms Diana R. Johnson: The Department has already been very actively involved in working towards savings in these areas.

One project put in place since the announcement is the Total Place initiative. This is exploring ways of securing better services through "whole area" efficiencies. 13 pilot projects are operating linked to particular themes and DCSF officials have been supporting workshop and other activity associated with those projects concerned with services to children and young people. The work is ongoing and final recommendations are expected to inform the 2010 Budget.

Many of the projects announced by the Operational Efficiency programme (OEP) were already built into the CSR07 VfM programme and Department's 2010-11 settlement. For instance, the Better Use of Resources in Schools initiative includes making available a schools financial benchmarking site which enables schools to compare their patterns of expenditure with schools operating in similar circumstances and identify where resources might be reallocated plus free VfM consultancy, tailored to the needs of the school to help them identify where savings can be made on, for example, collaborative procurement.

Additional OEP projects are still in their early stages of development and because of the nature of OEP in changing the structure and strategy of delivery, have longer time frames for delivery; many of the projects in question will come to fruition within the next spending review.

Achievement towards the DCSF £5.14 billion target, including elements relating to OEP, will be reported when data are available over the coming years in both the autumn performance reports and the departmental annual reports each year.

Educational Attainment: Children in Care

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many children in care sat A-level examinations, excluding equivalents, in the latest year for which figures are available; [301619]

(2) how many pupils who were children in care obtained five GCSEs at grades A* to C in the last three years. [301620]

Mr. Iain Wright: The Department does not collect information on A-level examination attempts and achievements for looked-after children.

Figures showing the attempts and achievements of children who have been looked after continuously for 12 months at GCSE level in the last three years can be found in table C of the Statistical First Release "Outcome Indicators for Children Looked After, Twelve months to 30 September 2008 - England". This is available at:


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