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1 Mar 2010 : Column WA317

Written Answers

Monday 1 March 2010

Afghanistan

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Brett: UK Armed Forces are operating in a dangerous environment in Afghanistan. It is essential that they have the authority and capability to deal with individuals who pose a serious threat to UK and other International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops, the Afghan security forces as well as the local population.

ISAF, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation-led security and development mission in Afghanistan, is not responsible for charging or prosecuting detainees. ISAF forces are mandated to either transfer detainees to the Afghan Government for prosecution through their judicial system or release them. As a sovereign nation, responsibility for prosecution lies with the Government of Afghanistan. The question of how many prisoners detained without charge or prospects of trial by the Governments of Afghanistan and the US is a matter for those Governments to answer.

The London conference held on 28 January welcomed the Government of Afghanistan's determination to take on increasing responsibility for detentions. The UK will continue to work with the Afghan authorities to build capacity within their detention and judicial systems. The Government of Afghanistan will decide what review procedures should be put in place.

Afghanistan: Dams

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): USAID, the US Federal Government agency responsible for the US effort in the field of development and reconstruction, is committed to installing a third unit at Kajaki which would increase the generation capacity to 51 megawatts, and to constructing a new transmission line from Kajaki to Kandahar when the security situation becomes permissive. The Ministry of Defence does not calculate the financial cost of individual operations. Four thousand International Security Assistance Force troops were

1 Mar 2010 : Column WA318

involved in the operation, including troops from the UK, US, Canada, Denmark and Australia. While the dam does not operate to its full capacity, currently it does provide electricity to the population of Helmand. Two generators are in place and being used, along with diesel-powered, local generation to increase supply. While the security situation in the area makes access and delivery to Kajaki challenging, supplies, including oil, are being delivered. USAID is leading the work on the refurbishment of the power station. It continues to plan to make the facility fully operational.

Alcohol

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): No estimate has been made of the cost to the Exchequer of introducing zero duty on beers of 2.8 per cent ABV and below.

Armed Forces: Body Armour

Question

Asked by Lord Astor of Hever

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): We are continually seeking ways to improve the protection provided to our Armed Forces personnel, and body armour is part of a constant scientific development process.

A contract was let to manufacture Osprey Assault body armour plates. These were to offer the same ballistic protection as the Osprey plate but of a slightly thinner design. This contract is being reviewed because after testing we found the plates did not meet our stringent standards. No Osprey Assault plates were ever issued to troops.

The current Osprey plates, which are second to none in the world, continue to be issued with the more comfortable Osprey Assault covers to form the Osprey Assault body armour system.

Armed Forces: Medals

Question

Asked by Lord Astor of Hever



1 Mar 2010 : Column WA319

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Citations that demonstrate the highest levels of excellence will be recognised through the award of medals for gallantry. Therefore, there may be other acts of individual gallantry which are not recognised in this way for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, all who deploy, and meet the criteria, receive a campaign medal which recognises the risks they face in the arduous circumstances in which they are deployed.

Recommendations that are not approved are not retained or recorded. All such records are destroyed, thus enabling impartial consideration of any future citations. No information on the number of recommendations can therefore be provided.

Recommendations for gallantry awards are made through the chain of command. Recommendations are screened at various levels and a committee comprising senior military officers (all with operational experience) makes the final decisions. It has always been this, and previously, Government's view that Ministers should not be involved in the process of awarding gallantry medals.

Notice of all awards for gallantry is published in the London Gazette. The following table lists the number of gallantry awards for service in Afghanistan in each year.

YearGallantry Awards

2001

0

2002

32

2003

3

2004

4

2005

6

2006

64

2007

49

2008

119

2009

157

Total

434

British Transport Police

Questions

Asked by Lord Bradshaw



1 Mar 2010 : Column WA320

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): A review of the British Transport Police Authority is due to take place this year. In accordance with Cabinet Office guidelines, its remit will be set by the Department for Transport and I expect one of the areas for consideration to be the possibility of extending the jurisdiction of the British Transport Police.

Those carrying out the review will want to take account of the views expressed on the subject during the passage of the Policing and Crime Bill and the undertakings given by the Government at the time. The arguments for extending the British Transport Police's remit are well known and I would expect those with a direct interest to be given the opportunity to comment further before any significant changes were made.

Buying Solutions

Question

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) spend information prior to 2006 is held on legacy HM Customs and Excise and Inland Revenue systems and is not available at the level of detail requested for the period 2005-06. Information is available at the level of detail requested for the periods 2006-07 onwards and is provided in the table below:



1 Mar 2010 : Column WA321



1 Mar 2010 : Column WA322

Service ProviderHMRC-Spend per financial year (£)
2006/072007-082008-092009-10 to date

Accenture

2,337,256

478,997

0

30,920

Baker Tilly

4,000

15,394

0

72,681

BDO Stoy Hayward

23,275

21,799

18,069

4,967

Deloitte MCS Ltd

7,300,231

444,735

7,517,609

11,570,451

Ernst and Young

185,517

106,429

2,358,492

3,803,793

Grant Thornton UK LLP

28,146

13,101

21,537

25,908

KPMG LLP

1,198,652

2,422,338

5,462,555

5,653,448

McKinsey and Company

0

0

0

0

PKF

69,680

87,704

138,827

65,957

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

1,302,253

828,427

2,949,391

2,032,219

Tenon

0

0

0

0

Smith & Williamson

0

0

0

0

The increase in expenditure in 2008-09 and 2009-10 is to support delivery in departmental transformation programmes: government banking, modernising PAYE processes for customers (MPPC), pacesetter/lean, data security and compliance and enforcement.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is able to provide detailed information from 1 April 2005 and this is provided in the table below.

Service providerVOA-Spend per financial year (£)
2005-062006-072007-082008-092009-10 to date

Accenture

0

0

0

0

0

Baker Tilly

0

0

0

0

BDO Stoy Hayward

0

0

0

0

0

Deloitte MCS Ltd

0

0

0

0

708,093

Ernst and Young

0

0

0

0

0

Grant Thornton UK LLP

0

0

0

0

0

KPMG LLP

1,362,188

29,823

0

0

0

McKinsey and Company

0

0

0

0

0

PKF

0

0

0

0

0

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

1,245

1,111

0

0

0

Tenon

0

0

0

0

0

Smith & Williamson

0

0

0


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