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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 28 March 2001

DEFENCE

Ro-ro Ferries

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Jarrow (Mr. Hepburn) of 28 February 2001, Official Report, column 665W, if the British seafarers referred to by the Chief of Defence Procurement are required to be sponsored reserves; [155391]

Mr. Hoon: AWSR Shipping Ltd. will manage the shipbuilding contract with Harland and Wolff on the MOD's behalf until the ships are delivered to the company. Negotiations continue with AWSR for the PFI service contract, which we expect to be signed within the next few months. The terms will reflect the cost of the shipbuilding contract management service to the Ministry of Defence.

AWSR Shipping Ltd. have bid, and will be required under contract, to provide British seafarers eligible to be called out as sponsored reserves to crew all six ships when on Ministry of Defence business.

HMS Albion

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total cost is of the building of HMS Albion; if she is on schedule and to budget; what the expected in-service date is; and if he will make a statement. [155806]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 27 March 2001]: The unit production cost of HMS Albion including its Landing Craft and the Integrated Communications System is approximately £385 million. This is within the approved budget. The expected in-service date of the vessel is March 2003, as announced on 13 December 1999, Official Report, column 26W.

Armoured Vehicle Training

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the costs of basic training of the crews of armoured vehicles are; what the costs were in each of the last three years; how many people were trained in each of the last three years; how many staff were employed to do this training; and if he will make a statement. [155805]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 27 March 2001]: Basic and advanced training of armoured fighting vehicle crewmen is undertaken at Armour Centre, Bovington by

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a combination of military, Ministry of Defence civilian and contractor's staff. Neither numbers of staff nor costs can be broken down between these categories; the following information is therefore provided.

1998-991999-20002000-01(1)
Personnel trained
Basic trainees (Phase 2)709847823
Advanced trainees (Phase 3)1,6711,8971,842
Staff employed
Military staff279270310
MOD civilian staff139139137
Contractor's staffcirca 300circa 300circa 300
Total running costs (£ million)25.04725.21927.451

(1) Projected for financial year 2000-01


MESAR Radar Trials

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the contracts awarded since 1 May 1997 under the MESAR radar trials letter of offer and acceptance concluded under the 1985 strategic defence initiative memorandum of understanding, along with the name of the contractor and the date of the award. [154795]

Mr. Hoon: Two contracts have been awarded since May 1997 under the relevant letter of offer and acceptance. A contract was let with BAE Systems dated 16 February 1999 and another with Roke Manor Research dated 3 March 1999.

Armed Services Units (Members' Visits)

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list alphabetically by constituency those hon. Members who have been on visits organised by his Department outside the United Kingdom to armed services units based or deployed abroad in the last three years. [154770]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 26 March 2001]: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Whenever possible, visits by Members of Parliament to armed forces units based or deployed overseas are accommodated dependent on operational commitments at the time.

Armed Forces Training

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in which countries members of the British armed forces have been deployed to train (a) overseas Government military personnel and (b) military personnel of organisations opposing an overseas Government since 1971. [155961]

Mr. Spellar: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Veterans

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the members of the (a) Veterans Forum and (b) Veterans Task Force. [155319]

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Dr. Moonie: We will not take a final decision on the membership of the Veterans Forum and the Veterans Task Force until their shape, role and agenda have been discussed in more detail with the range of interested parties, including the main veterans' representative groups. However, we currently expect the Task Force, under my own Chairmanship to include Ministers from the Department of Health, the Department of Social Security, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and the Department for Employment and Education, as well as the relevant Scottish and Welsh Departments, the Northern Ireland Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Lord Chancellor's Department. I will also chair the Veterans Forum which will include members from the major veterans' representative groups. We will ensure that the smaller representative groups are able to present their views and concerns to the Forum.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) new money and (b) new manpower his Department has allocated to the handling of veterans affairs. [155320]

Dr. Moonie: The Veterans initiative will be supported by three new executive staff, together with the budget and support staff required for their effective working. We cannot at this stage predict what new measures might come out of the work of the Veterans Task Force and Forum. We will be commissioning early research into veterans issues and their handling, in addition to that already planned within current departmental programmes. The funding of new measures will be addressed as they are identified.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons responsibility for veterans affairs has been reduced from Minister of State to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State level. [155327]

Dr. Moonie: The appointment of a designated Veterans Minister, with responsibility across Government Departments for ensuring that veterans' concerns are understood and addressed in a holistic manner, represents a clear enhancement rather than a reduction in commitment. This change, together with the establishment of a dedicated Ministerial Task Force, reflects the Government's determination that veterans' issues should be handled in a co-ordinated way to ensure a properly integrated approach to veterans and their concerns.

Service Personnel (Commemoration)

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on the establishment of a memorial to commemorate the service personnel killed on duty by terrorist attack since 1945. [155321]

Dr. Moonie: A project team has been established to take this proposal forward. At this early stage, no criteria have yet been established to determine who would or would not be included on the memorial. This will be carried out by a scoping study in consultation with ex-service organisations and other interested bodies. Further information will become available in due course.

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Deployed Forces Facilities

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) current and (b) proposed NAAFI retail facilities in (i) Bosnia and (ii) Kosovo. [155325]

Mr. Spellar: Current NAAFI retail facilities located in Bosnia are:







Current NAAFI retail facilities located in Kosovo are:



NAAFI has just finished an extensive programme of providing new, and refurbishing existing, facilities in the Balkans. No further retail facilities are currently planned.


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