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18 Mar 2010 : Column 982W—continued

18 Mar 2010 : Column 983W

Written Questions: Government Responses

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when she plans to answer question (a) 304402, (b) 304401, (c) 304400, (d) 304393 and (e) 304403, on Jobcentre Plus, tabled on 1 December 2009; when she plans to answer question (i) 304392, (ii) 304397, (iii) 304391, (iv) 304390, (v) 304388, and (vi) 304377 on the Future Jobs Fund tabled on 1 December 2009; and when she plans to answer question (A) 304399, (B) 304398 and (C) 304381, on the Flexible New Deal, tabled on 1 December 2009. [317695]

Jim Knight: The hon. Member's questions have been answered as follows:

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when she expects to answer Question 311758 tabled on 14 January 2010 by the hon. Member for Hertsmere. [320790]

Jim Knight: I replied to the hon. Member's question on 15 March 2010, Official Report , column 601-2W.

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when she expects to answer questions (a) 316961 and (b) 316962, tabled on 8 February 2010 by the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire. [320939]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 5 February 2010]: I have replied to the hon. Member's questions as follows: 316961 on 15 March 2010, Official Report, columns 600-01W and 316962 on 16 March 2010, Official Report, columns 804-05W.


Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether (a) military and (b) civilian staff based in Afghanistan receive training on the recognition and reporting of suspected corruption. [319914]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Both the UK and Afghan Governments are party to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, which defines corruption as:

18 Mar 2010 : Column 984W

HMG officials based in Kabul and Lashkar Gah include Governance and Rule of Law advisors, who are able to identify and advise on how to tackle corruption. The UK Government also provide annual guidance to all embassies and overseas offices on reporting suspected corruption.

In recognition of the importance the UK Government places on dealing with corruption, both military and MOD civilian staff based in Afghanistan receive appropriate training to recognise and report corruption in their functional areas.

Furthermore, all MOD civilian staff, including those based in Afghanistan, adhere to the Civil Service Code and its principles of integrity, honesty, objectivity, impartiality and political impartiality. The importance of dealing with corruption is also outlined in UK Military Doctrine, and included in exercises for military units prior to deployment.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the merits of the replacement of certain uniformed personnel in Afghanistan by (a) contractors and (b) civilians; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the replacement of those personnel by each type of staff. [321249]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Contractors and civil servants carry out a wide range of roles in Afghanistan, including at the main hospital in Camp Bastion and in catering posts in main operating bases. They are also employed in specialist roles such as Financial and Commercial Officers. Civil servants and contractors are an important resource on operations, and are principally used to complement military capacity and capability. Their support to operations is highly valued.

Force and manning levels are kept under continual review, and if it is more appropriate to employ a contractor or civilian in theatre than a member of the armed forces then full consideration is given. However, estimating the cost to the public purse of the replacement of military personnel by contractors or civil servants is difficult due to significant differences in their terms and conditions of employment. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Housing

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when the Armed Forces Home Ownership Scheme pilot was established; and for how long it is intended to run; [321765]

(2) how much the Armed Forces Home Ownership Scheme has provided to members of the armed forces in each year since its inception; and how many members of the armed forces have participated in the scheme in each of those years; [321766]

(3) when he expects to make a decision about the future of the pilot for the Armed Forces Home Ownership Scheme. [321768]

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Mr. Kevan Jones [holding answer 11 March 2010]: The Armed Forces Ownership Scheme Pilot was launched on 26 January 2010. It will run until spring 2013. Ahead of that, the Department's Strategic Defence Review will look at the issue of terms and conditions of service.

This initiative forms part of the overall commitment to facilitate access to affordable homes for our armed forces, set out in 'The Nation's Commitment to the Armed Forces', published in July 2008 (The Nation's Commitment: Cross-Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans, CM7424).

The Ministry of Defence has been working with Communities and Local Government and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to develop a pilot, bespoke, shared equity scheme for the armed forces. The HCA have engaged the Swaythling Housing Society to administer the scheme and they have reported a high number of inquiries regarding it, but due to its infancy no house purchase has yet been completed.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total cost to his Department was of creating, publishing and distributing the booklet, Transforming Military Accommodation; how many such booklets have been printed; to which (a) individuals and (b) organisations they were circulated; and for what reasons the booklet was published. [322855]

Mr. Kevan Jones: I will write to the hon. Member.

Armed Forces: Northern Ireland

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of providing military security in Northern Ireland was in (a) 1997 and (b) the most recent year for which figures are available (i) in cash terms, (ii) in current prices and (iii) as a percentage of the UK's total defence expenditure. [322586]

Bill Rammell: For the purposes of answering this question the cost of providing military security has been interpreted to mean the costs of maintaining a military presence in the Province.

The data requested is shown in the following table:

Cash outturn (£ million) Current prices (£ million) Percentage of total outturn









(1 )Departmental outturn for 1997-98-£21.517 million.
(2 )Departmental outturn for 2008-09-£28.059 million.

The reduction in the outturn is illustrative of the reduction in the military presence in Northern Ireland.

Armed Forces: Expenses

Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the 20 highest of reimbursable expenses amounts were claimed by members of the armed forces with a rank of brigadier or equivalent and above in the last 12 months; and what the expenses were for in each case. [320810]

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Mr. Kevan Jones [holding answer 8 March 2010]: Senior officers of the armed forces are generally tasked with a wide range of responsibility which requires them to travel to meetings as well as visits to exercise areas and deployment theatres. Service accommodation is to be used where it is available but this is not always the case and as a result overnight accommodation expenses will be incurred.

In order to reduce expenditure, greater use is being made of video and telephone conferencing. When travel is necessary, all personnel are strongly encouraged to maximise the value of their time away by incorporating several meetings, thus avoiding the need to travel to the same location on separate occasions. If travelling by road, all practical measures are to be taken to allow the sharing of transport. Furthermore, when arranging meetings, due consideration is to be made to holding the meeting at a time that will allow attendees to return to their home units and avoid the need to stay overnight.

The following table provides information on expenditure reimbursed through the Joint Personnel Administration expenses system for those approximate 500 officers holding the rank of brigadier and equivalent and above for the 12 month period ending 28 February 2010.

Serial Expense type £


Nightly Subsistence Allowance(1)



Motor Mileage Allowance



Incidental Expenses-Overseas(2)



Taxi Fare



Rail Fare



Incidental Expenses-United Kingdom(2)



Car Parking



Air Fares



Day Subsistence-Overseas



Day Subsistence-United Kingdom



Hire Car Fuel Costs



Excess Fares



Home to Duty Vehicle Allowance



Get You Home Overseas Allowance



Educational Psychologists Report



Ferry Charges



Foreign Currency Exchange Costs



Underground Fares



Passport/Visa Fees



Home to Duty Cycle Allowance


(1) Nightly Subsistence Allowance is the cost of bed and breakfast and up to a further two meals in a 24 hour period.
(2) Incidental Expenses are designed to cover necessary personal incidental expenses actually incurred when an overnight absence in a hotel or temporary service single accommodation is occupied. This includes, for example, the cost of a telephone call.

This table only includes reimbursed expenditure and does not include payment for services made directly by the Department.

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Defence: Expenditure

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will provide the annual figures for defence expenditure that supports his Department's statement that such expenditure has increased by 10 per cent. in real terms since 1997. [321707]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The statement that the Department has routinely made in terms of the real term increase since 1997 is that:

Due to changes in the accountancy methods over this period, the only way to compare historic Defence budgets is through 'Near Cash', which includes those elements measured on an accruals basis that turn into cash transactions quickly. For example: pay, current procurement, and income from sales. The MOD's Near Cash budget is direct RDEL added to capital DEL.

The Near Cash Defence budget in 1997-98 was £21.80 billion, which equates to a real terms value of £28.37 billion at 2008-09 prices using the HM Treasury GDP deflator. For the year 2009-10, the Near Cash Defence budget is £31.92 billion, which equates to a real term value of £31.30 billion. This represents a 10.31 per cent. increase since 1997.

In addition, for the year 2010-11 the planned Near Cash Defence budget is £33.33 billion, which will equate to a real term value of £31.93 billion, an increase of 12.63 per cent. since 1997.

Actual figures are used in the calculation of percentages.

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