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3 Jun 2008 : Column WA29



3 Jun 2008 : Column WA29

Written Answers

Tuesday 3 June 2008

Armed Forces: Helicopters

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Serving Royal Air Force officers are not permitted to fly Ministry of Defence helicopters for private purposes.

Armed Forces: Hercules Accident

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Following the outcome of the ZH876 board of inquiry, tactical air traffic control procedures have been revised to allow better handling of incidents on tactical landing zones in operational theatres. This should prevent any recurrence of the circumstances that led to the loss of communication noted by the board of inquiry.



3 Jun 2008 : Column WA30

Armed Forces: HMS “Endurance” Deployment

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): While deployed to west African waters, HMS “Endurance” is scheduled to support wider MoD and FCO objectives in the region including providing capacity building and peace support operations training and contributing to maritime security and defence diplomacy initiatives. This tasking is currently scheduled to last around six weeks.

Armed Forces: Vehicles

Lord Lee of Trafford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The information requested is set out in the following table.

Vehicle TypeIn Service (Total Fleet)Currently AvailableOn OrderExpected Out-of-Service Date

Warrior

793

590

0

2035

Saxon

147

143

0

2014

Sabre

No longer in service

Spartan

525

210

0

2014-26

Scimitar

360

228

0

2014-26

Samson

51

29

0

2014-26

Samaritan

50

33

0

2014-26

Sultan

205

119

0

2014-26

FV430

1490

1118

0

2025 Bulldog

2010 all other variants

Mastiff

108

108

174

TBD

Ridgback

0

0

157

TBD

M-WMIK (known as Jackal)

52

50

78

TBD

Vector (includes 12 ambulances)

169

169

0

2015

For the purposes of MoD reporting, the definition used for “currently available” is that the vehicle and everything on it is working and operationally effective. This includes vehicles awaiting minor repairs, or currently in transit to theatres worldwide, but excludes any vehicles undergoing major repair or planned refit. Vehicles known to have been destroyed on operations have also been accounted for. Nine hundred FV430 vehicles are undergoing a major armour upgrade programme to become Bulldog vehicles, 500 of which have now been completed. Twenty-six per cent of unavailable Spartan, Scimitar and Sultan vehicles are currently either undergoing major overhaul or scheduled for refit. The remainder are awaiting a decision on disposal. The out-of-service dates for the Mastiff, Ridgback and Jackal vehicles have yet to be decided.



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Burma: Cyclone Nargis

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Crawley: The current estimate of the number of dead and missing following Cyclone Nargis is rising to in excess of 200,000 people. At least 1.5 million people are in need of immediate assistance.

The UK made an initial pledge of £5 million for the immediate relief effort following Cyclone Nargis and stands ready to contribute much more. These funds will be used to help meet urgent humanitarian needs and will be channelled through UN agencies, the Red Cross and NGOs delivering assistance on the ground. This contribution will be in addition to the UK's long-term humanitarian programme inside Burma.

We have readied our stockpile of emergency supplies including tents, water containers, blankets, and plastics sheets, and we have sourced additional logistic equipment and other relief items. The first airlift of these materials departed on 12 May.

A Department for International Development (DfID) team of emergency response experts arrived in Burma on the weekend of 10 and 11 May, to support the DfID Burma office and help to maximise the impact of DfID emergency funding.

Buses

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: An extra £212 million has been made available to local authorities from 2008-09, through a special grant, to fund the increased cost of the new statutory minimum bus concession. This brings our estimate of total government funding of concessionary travel to around £1 billion per annum.

Representations have been received from both authorities and operators on the issue. However, discussions have tended to focus on the distribution of funding rather than the total amount available.

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The measures in the Local Transport Bill, now before Parliament, give local authorities the tools to raise the quality of bus services in rural and urban areas alike. These measures include strengthened arrangements for partnerships

3 Jun 2008 : Column WA32

between local authorities and bus operators, expanding the role of community transport, extending the existing taxi-bus provisions to the private-hire vehicle sector for the first time and the establishment of a statutory bus passengers' champion.

In addition, we are continuing to provide significant funding to local authorities to assist their support of rural bus services in the form of rural bus subsidy grant, which amounts to £57 million this financial year.

Children and Young People

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): The Children and Young People's Plan (England) Regulations 2005 require that during the preparation of its Children and Young People's Plan (CYPP) the local authority shall consult such children, relevant young persons and families in the area of the authority as the authority considers appropriate. Guidance published in 2005 recommends that views on services should be sought from a representative group of children and young people, including hard-to-reach and vulnerable groups. It also advises local authorities to consider making summaries of the plan available to children and young people.

Multi-inspectorate joint area reviews of children's services seek evidence that ambitions and priorities take account of the views of parents, carers, children and young people.


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