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16 Mar 2010 : Column WA147



16 Mar 2010 : Column WA147

Written Answers

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Afghanistan

Question

Asked by Lord Astor of Hever

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): During the current Op Herrick 11 deployment, Task Force Helmand has successfully neutralised 768 improvised explosive devices. This figure covers the period October 2009 until the end of February 2010.

Armed Forces: Afghanistan

Questions

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Earning the trust of local communities is a key aspect of the International Security Assistance Force counter insurgency approach in Afghanistan of which the provincial reconstruction team in Helmand, including its military staff, plays a crucial role. We are not aware of any concerns from British aid agencies about the ability of military personnel within the provincial reconstruction team.

Asked by Lord Astor of Hever

Baroness Taylor of Bolton: For reasons of operational security, I am unable to provide the numbers of vehicles currently deployed to Afghanistan or the numbers that will be deployed in the future. However, I can confirm that we are continuously delivering improvements to our fleet of protected vehicles in Afghanistan to ensure that they meet operational requirements. We are buying Warthog vehicles to replace the Vikings on operations in Afghanistan and their delivery is being brought forward, as announced by the Prime Minister on 1 September 2009.

By the end of 2009, the numbers of protected vehicles in theatre had increased by 36 per cent since August 2009, including 90 per cent more Mastiff and Ridgeback. We are also looking to the future, and are

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now committed to the procurement of a new light protected patrol vehicle that will replace Snatch Land Rovers in Afghanistan.

Armed Forces: Four-star Generals

Question

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): There are currently five serving four-star Army generals.

The Chief of the General Staff is the professional head of the Army. He is responsible for generating a balanced and integrated Army capability, and for maintaining the fighting effectiveness, efficiency and morale of the service. As a member of the Defence Council and the Army Board, the Defence Ministerial Committee, the Defence Board, the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Senior Appointments Committee he contributes to the conduct of defence higher-level business, with a particular responsibility for providing specialist advice on Army matters. He chairs the Executive Committee of the Army Board.

The Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, together with the Second Permanent Secretary, acts as joint Chief Operating Officer for Defence, ensuring that strategic decisions are implemented. He is a member of the Defence Council, the Defence Ministerial Committee, the Defence Board, the Chiefs of Staff Committee, the Defence Board Sub Committee on Equipment and the Investment Approvals Board. He co-chairs the Defence Operating Board. He also deputises for the Chief of Defence Staff.

The Chief of Defence Materiel is the head of Defence Equipment and Support. He is a member of the Defence Council, the Defence Board, the MoD Investment Approvals Board, the MoD Research and Development Board; he chairs the Defence Logistics Board (as the process owner for end-to-end defence logistics) and is the UK's national armaments director. Chief of Defence Materiel attends the Defence Ministerial Committee by invitation.

The Commander-in-Chief Land Forces is responsible for delivering forces that are properly trained, prepared and equipped to deliver success on current and future contingent operations. He commands the Field Army, Personnel Support Command, which includes the Territorial Army, Force Development Training and the Joint Helicopter Command, which collectively comprise some 90,000 military personnel and 30,000 civilians.

The Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) is the senior British Officer in the Supreme Headquarters Allied Forces Europe and in NATO. DSACEUR acts as a deputy for SACEUR on NATO business and has particular responsibilities for force generation for operations. DSACEUR is also the Operation Commander for Operation ALTHEA, which is the EU Operation in Bosnia under the Berlin Plus agreement.



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Armed Forces: Languages

Questions

Asked by Lord Astor of Hever

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The individual locations of all non-deployed Pashto speakers can only be provided at disproportionate cost and details would be constrained by security considerations. In-date military Pashto speakers will be located outside Afghanistan for a number of reasons:

rear-based intelligence support to operations (using Pashto); Pashto language training (instructor or continuation training); general pre-deployment training;mid tour and post tour leave;recuperation between tours (in line with Harmony Guidelines); non-language career progression needs;service employment priorities; andreturning to the reserve.

Asked by Lord Astor of Hever

Baroness Taylor of Bolton:

YearHigher LevelLower Level

Farsi/Dari

Fewer than 5

20

Hazaragi

0

0

Uzbek

0

0

Pashto

10

360

A combined figure has been provided for Farsi and Dari as they are mutually comprehensible. The MoD does not currently have a need for trained personnel in Hazaragi or Uzbek. The numbers trained in Farsi/Dari and Pashto at lower levels are planned to increase significantly in subsequent roulements. Higher-level training (for professional and expert qualifications) enables trusted translation; lower-level training enables linguists to undertake basic military business. The majority of the higher-level capability requirement is provided by contractors and locally employed civilians.

Armed Forces: Official Residences

Question

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock



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The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The provision of official service residences has been reviewed several times in recent years to ensure that the system is appropriate, efficient and meets its objective of helping senior officers to fulfil the responsibilities of their posts. However, as part of a programme of work looking at how we can provide better value for money across the Ministry of Defence, we are currently undertaking a further study into the support provided to Ministers, senior officials and senior officers. This study covers, among other things, the provision of official service residences. We hope to conclude the study shortly.

Armed Forces: Redeployment

Question

Asked by Earl Attlee

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): None.

Armed Forces: School Children

Question

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The number of children of service background attending private schools in the United Kingdom receiving public funding for the financial year 2008-09 was 9,090. This figure can be broken down as follows:

Officers

5,710

Non-commissioned Officers

3,320

Other Ranks

60

Total

9,090

The total annual cost to the Ministry of Defence for financial year 2008-09 was £172,844,735 and includes tax and national insurance on the benefit paid to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs by the department on behalf of individuals.

In the Armed Forces, the allowance paid to service personnel to fund the education of their children in independent schools is known as the continuity of education allowance (CEA). The purpose of the CEA is to allow children of Armed Forces personnel to achieve a stable education against a background of frequent parental postings both at home and overseas.

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Limits apply in respect of the amount that can be claimed per school term by the service person, and all claims are subject to a parental minimum contribution of 10 per cent per child, per term.

Belfast Agreement

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Government are committed to supporting the enhancement and protection of the development of the Irish language and the enhancement and development of the Ulster-Scots language, heritage and culture. It continues to have a range of discussions on these matters.

Businesses

Question

Asked by Lord Bates

Baroness Crawley: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for ONS, to Lord Bates, dated March 2010.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many businesses were registered in each region and country in the United Kingdom in (a) 1997, (b) 2006 and (c) 2009. (HL2752)

Data are available from 2000 onwards and relate to March each year. The table below contains statistics for the UK, each region and each country for 2000, 2006 and 2009.



16 Mar 2010 : Column WA152

Counts of Enterprises by Region and Country
200020062009

North-East

49,000

52,865

57,425

North-West

186,180

199,990

211,915

Yorkshire and the Humber

134,760

147,510

152,475

East Midlands

126,865

140,245

147,980

West Midlands

155,795

170,085

177,195

East of England

189,780

206,445

217,925

London

312,870

315,725

339,185

South-East

297,815

321,380

337,380

South-West

175,000

191,985

202,550

England Total

1,628,065

1,746,230

1,844,030

Wales

83,760

90,410

92,005

Scotland

132,560

136,930

145,745

Northern Ireland

62,030

67,920

70,620

United Kingdom

1,906,415

2,041,490

2,152,400

Table 1: Average net weekly equivalised household income in the City of York Parliamentary constituency area, 2001-02 and 2007-08 1,2
£ per week
Mean income (before housing costs)3Mean income (after housing costs)3

(a) In current prices4

2001-02

360

330

2007-08

470

380

(b) In 2007-08 prices

2001-02

410

370

2007-08

470

380

Census


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