Previous Section Index Home Page


Departmental Policies (Hazel Grove)

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will set out, including statistical information

3 Apr 2001 : Column: 110W

relating as directly as possible to the Hazel Grove constituency, the effects on Hazel Grove of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [156186]

Mr. Caborn: The Department does not maintain statistical information at constituency level.

The hon. Gentleman's constituents, like many others throughout Greater Manchester, will have benefited from my Department's Employment Rights policies which include National Minimum Wage, Working Time Directive, Part-Time Working Regulations and improved Maternity Leave.

In the North West region, my Department's policies have contributed to growth in employment by 107,000 and a fall in unemployment by 63,000; reductions in youth unemployment by 75 per cent. and long-term unemployment by 54 per cent.

DEFENCE

Meteorological Office

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what progress has been made in re-siting the Meteorological Office; [155992]

Dr. Moonie: This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Meteorological Office. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Peter Ewins to Dr. Ian Gibson, dated 3 April 2001:




Missile Defence Systems

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he has reviewed the United States Aegis (SM2 BLOCK IV and SM3 missile version) air defence and anti-ballistic missile defence system as the possible basis for ground-based theatre defence for deployed forces; and if he will make a statement; [156729]

3 Apr 2001 : Column: 111W

Mr. Hoon: The UK's Pre-feasibility Study undertaken in 1994-96 reviewed all Government sponsored anti-ballistic missile systems either under development or expected to evolve into development programmes. The guidance from this study contributed to the decision, as part of the Strategic Defence Review, to embark on the Technology Readiness and Risk Assessment Programme, which has continued to monitor developments both in the threat and in the technologies available to counter it.

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he is committed to the NATO summit decision to recognise the need for extended theatre defence against ballistic missiles for deployed forces; and what steps he intends to take to address this threat. [156678]

Mr. Hoon: The UK is firmly committed to the implementation of the Defence Capabilities Initiative, which was launched at the last NATO summit in Washington DC in April 1999. Since 1998, we have contributed to NATO analysis of how best to defend deployed NATO forces against ballistic missiles, including preparatory work for feasibility studies on Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence. We expect these studies to start later this year. Nationally, we continue to assess the potential role of ballistic missile defence systems in countering missile attacks. We monitor developments closely, but it remains our position that it would be premature to decide to acquire a ballistic missile defence for either UK territory or forces deployed overseas.

HMS Brean

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the operational status of HMS Brean. [156674]

Mr. Spellar: I assume the hon. Member is referring to HMS Ocean.

HMS Ocean is currently undergoing a period of planned maintenance in Devonport. On current plans she will return to sea for trials, commencing in May 2001.

Defence Equipment Projects

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are (a) the estimated total costs, (b) the amounts expended so far and (c) the estimated in-service dates in relation to (i) Type 45 destroyer, (ii) Future Aircraft carrier, (iii) Astute class SSN, (iv) Auxiliary Oiler, (v) Landing Platform Dock, (vi) Future Afloat Support, (vii) Strategic Sea Lift ROROs, (viii) Alternate Landing Ships Logistic, (ix) Primary Casualty Receiving Ships, (x) Type 23 Frigate, (xi) Sandown Class Single Role Minehunter, (xii) Fishery Protection replacement, (xiii) Future MCM Capability, (xiv) Nato submarine rescue system, (xv) Multi role survey ships, (xvi) Mark 8 Lynx conversion and rotorhead, (xvii) Merlin ASW helicopter, (xviii) Future Organic AEW aircraft, (xix) Future Carrier Borne Aircraft, (xx) Support and Amphibious Battlefield Rotorcraft, (xxi) Future Air to Surface Guided weapon, (xxii) Stingray life extension programme,

3 Apr 2001 : Column: 112W

(xxiii) Goalkeeper successor system, (xxiv) Sea Dart Extension programme, (xxv) Sea Wolf MLU, (xxvi) Spearfish heavyweight torpedo, (xxvii) ASRAAM, (xxviii) 114mm Gun update, (xxix) Harpoon successor system, (xxx) PAAMS, (xxxi) Swiftsure/Trafalgar sonar update, (xxxii) Sonar 2087, (xxxiii) Sonar 2193, (xxxiv) JTIDS, (xxxv) SAWCS, (xxxvi) Surface Torpedo Defence System, (xxxvii) Co-operative Engagement Capability, (xxxviii) Active Offboard Decoy system, (xxxix) Type 675 jammer successor, (xl) Electric Ship Technology Demonstrator and (xli) Combined Aerial Target Service. [156676]

Mr. Hoon: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

HMS Invincible

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if HMS Invincible is being used in the Landing Platform Helicopter role; and if he will make a statement. [156677]

Mr. Spellar: Operating as a Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) is a secondary role for an aircraft carrier and is exercised on a periodic basis. HMS Invincible is currently preparing for her next refit. She was last employed in the LPH role between 19 February and 22 March 2001, during Exercise Tartan Relief. HMS Illustrious assumed Fleet Flagship duties on 23 March and in this capacity would be used as the LPH if required.

Military Decorations (Burma Campaign)

Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the request for retrospective consideration of military decorations for servicemen in respect of action in Burma during the Second World War. [156736]

Dr. Moonie: The Interdepartmental Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals for the 1939-45 war decided in 1946 that no further awards would be given for wartime operations. It would not be appropriate to attempt to review events which happened more than 50 years ago with a view to altering contemporary decisions made by those closely involved at that time.

EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

Student Loans

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, pursuant to his answer of 9 February 2001, Official Report, column 764W, what nominal rate of interest additional to that supplied in his answer would be required to allow the raising of the income threshold for repayment to £20,000 per annum; and if he will make a statement. [150665]

Mr. Wicks: In 1999-2000 there were an estimated £982 million of income contingent loans issued in England and Wales, with an income repayment threshold of £10,000 per annum. If the income repayment threshold were raised to £20,000 per annum, an estimated nominal rate of interest

3 Apr 2001 : Column: 113W

of 15 per cent. would be required to increase the net present value of these loans by £0.7 billion over their current net present value.

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if write-offs of student loan debts initiated by his Department for trainee teachers are planned to be taxable. [155872]

Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 28 March 2001]: Detailed proposals for the write-off of student loans are still being developed by my Department. As part of this process, we are discussing the tax position with the Inland Revenue.


Next Section Index Home Page