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Beef Supplies

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the beef consumed by the armed forces since May 1997 has originated from UK sources; and if he will make a statement on his Department's policy on the sourcing of all beef for the armed forces. [159828]

Dr. Moonie: Unfortunately, there are no data available prior to October 1997. However, from that date to April 2001, 60 per cent. of the beef consumed by UK based armed forces has been UK sourced.

Since October 1997 the task of buying food for the armed forces has been contracted to 3663 (formerly known as Booker Foodservice) and it is the Ministry of Defence's policy to require them to seek the best price in the open market. Our contractor is required specifically to give full consideration to British products, which we look to them to buy wherever they are competitive. We have

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given particular attention to meat procurement and over the last two years have worked closely with our contractor; the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food; the Meat and Livestock Commission; and farmers' representatives to explore ways to increase the proportion of British meat we can buy competitively.

This has been a successful co-operation. In the case of beef we had, since the autumn of 1998, been supplying 100 per cent. British beef to our UK based service personnel, following the agreement we secured from the EC to release British intervention beef at competitive prices. However as was announced to the House on 24 July 2000, Official Report, column 555W, these stocks have now run out and market prices have dictated that a mix of British and imported beef will be required for future supplies. We are, however, working closely with those concerned to ensure that we can maximise the amount of British product that can be supplied competitively. In the case of beef they have identified opportunities to sources some 150 tonnes of prime British cuts which, when added to the 800 tonnes of British beef already secured, would mean that over 50 per cent. of the Ministry of Defence's requirement in the UK would be British.

Fissile Plutonium

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the UK has exchanged fissile plutonium with the United States of America for highly enriched uranium since 1980. [158098]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 23 April 2001]: The 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement authorises the transfer of fissile material between the UK and the US. Over the period in question there have been no formal exchanges of plutonium for highly enriched uranium between the UK and the United States of America.

Transport of Hazardous Materials


Miss Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what hazardous materials were transported through Lancaster on 13 December 2000 via the Halton Army camp; [159492]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 1 May 2001]: I am able to confirm that military vehicles containing radioactive material did travel through the district of Lancaster on 16 November 2000 and 13 December 2000 via Halton Army camp.

Royal Navy Exercises

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which foreign navies have been approached to provide tanker support for Royal Navy exercises in the next 12 months. [159712]

Mr. Spellar: No foreign navies have been approached to provide tanker support for Royal Navy exercises in the next 12 months. However, some participating nations may provide tanker support for their own deploying groups in a given exercise.

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Naval Vessels

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when HMS Fearless will be returned to service. [159721]

Mr. Spellar: On current plans, maintenance and repair work on HMS Fearless is due to be completed this summer. She will then be available for operational tasking.

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what items have been taken from HMS Intrepid and used to replace equipment on HMS Fearless. [159714]

Mr. Spellar: Since early 1998, numerous have been removed from HMS Intrepid and used to replace equipment on HMS Fearless. I will write to the hon. Member with a list of those items and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

HMS Intrepid is held at a low readiness state commensurate with force levels endorsed within the Strategic Defence Review. All the items that have been removed could be refurbished or replaced and she could, if necessary, be returned to operational service within the readiness profile agreed in the Strategic Defence Review process.

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when HMS Invincible last put to sea; and when she is next scheduled to put to sea. [159717]

Mr. Spellar: HMS Invincible last put to sea on 26 February 2001, to take part in the winter deployment exercise off Norway. She returned to Portsmouth on 30 March 2001. She is due to sail for Rosyth at the end of July in preparation for her forthcoming refit.

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when HMS Ocean will be fully operational; and if he will make a statement. [159719]

Mr. Spellar: HMS Ocean is currently undergoing routine maintenance and repair work. Subject to completion of this work, successful sea trials, and allowing for the summer leave period, the vessel will be available for full operational tasking in late summer.

Factor V Leiden Mutation

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what standard assessment is made of service personnel prior to enlistment to determine if they suffer from Factor V Leiden mutation. [159412]

Dr. Moonie: No standard assessment is made to determine whether potential recruits to the armed forces have Factor V Leiden mutation. Potential recruits are required to provide information about their medical history and anyone with a chronic blood disorder, such as Factor V Leiden mutation, would be rejected for service.

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of people serving in the armed forces who suffer from Factor V Leiden mutation. [159413]

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Dr. Moonie: According to records held centrally by the Ministry of Defence, there have been five cases of Service personnel with blood coagulant disorders since 1997. This figure would include any cases of Service personnel with Factor V Leiden mutation, as this disorder is not identified separately in the Ministry of Defence's central records.

Chinook ZD576

Miss Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the pilots flying the Chinook ZD576 were instructed to fly below the safety altitude for security reasons. [159871]

Mr. Spellar: No. There were no special instructions with regard to this task, which was planned as a routine flight.


Grants (London Boroughs)

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list (a) each category of grant and (b) the amount of each grant paid by his Department to each London borough in (i) 1997-98, (ii) 1998-1999, (iii) 1999-2000 and (iv) 2000-01; and what the projected figure is for 2001-02. [155428]

Ms Estelle Morris: I refer my hon. Friend to the letter sent on 16 February from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, setting out total funding for Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster local education authorities for the years 1996-97 to 2001-02.

A list of the Department's school education grants and funding allocations paid to each London borough for the last four years and projected grant figures for the current year have been placed in the House of Commons Library.

In the Budget on 7 March, national increases of £100 million for School Standards Grant and devolved New Deal for Schools Capital were announced. London boroughs will benefit from these increases, which are included in the figures placed in the House of Commons Library.

Real terms national recurrent funding per pupil will rise year on year by £200 in 2001-02 and will have risen by around £540 since 1997-98. There will be an average real terms increase in per-pupil funding of around £750 between 1997-98 and 2003-04.

Education Funding Strategy Group

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will publish the membership of the education strategy group, together with their qualifications, grade and geographical area of employment (separately indicating the technical group); if he will list (a) the terms of reference of the group and (b) the schedules of meetings of the strategy and technical groups; if he will publish a verbatim account of those meetings; and if he will indicate when the conclusions and the Government's response will be published. [158901]

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Ms Estelle Morris: The Education Funding Strategy Group has been set up to take forward work on the proposals for education funding set out in "Modernising Local Government Finance: A Green Paper" and is supported in that work by a technical sub-group. The groups include key stakeholders with an interest in local education authority and school funding and details of the membership of both groups are outlined in the tables. Members of both groups are not appointed on the basis of their grade or qualifications but have been nominated by the organisations they represent. Representatives have been selected for their knowledge of the wide range of circumstances local education authorities and schools face and local government members represent a balance of different authority types, regions and expertise. The Education Funding Strategy Group's papers are available on the DfEE's website ( Separate papers are not prepared for the sub-group, as its role is to consider papers before they are submitted to the Education Funding Strategy Group. The Government expect to publish their proposals on the future arrangements for education funding later this year.

Education Funding Strategy Group

Central Government representatives
Helen Williams (chair)DfEE
Andrew WyeDfEE
Jonathan AnsteyDfEE
Susanna ToddDfEE
Audrey BrownDfEE
Joe CrillyDfEE
Peter KaneHM Treasury
Nicholas HolgateHM Treasury
Mark LambirthDETR
Bryony HouldenDETR
Joe BeeleyDETR
Nick VilleAudit Commission
David SingletonOfsted
Local Government representatives
Neil KinghanLocal Government Association
Neil FletcherLocal Government Association
Mike GrealyLocal Government Association
Stephen LordLocal Government Association
Mike HeiserLocal Government Association
Gale WallerLocal Government Association
Bob KerslakeLocal Government Association
Jon PittamLocal Government Association
David SmithLocal Government Association
Alan ParkerLocal Government Association
Liz NicholsonLocal Government Association
Chris WatermanSEO/ACEO
Stephen FitzgeraldAssociation of London Government
Hilary McCollumAssociation of London Government
Trade union representatives
David HartNAHT
Peter DownesSHA
Ian LangtryATL
John BangsNUT
Alan ManassehPAT
Christina McAneaUNISON
John FisherTGWU
Mick GrahamGMB
George PhipsonAHFAS
Representatives from schools' bodies
Mrs. Joan BinderFAVASA
David LankshearCofE Board of Education
Michael PowerCatholic Education Service
Peter RickardNational Bursars Association
Terry PearsonNational Governors Council

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Technical sub-group to the Education Funding Strategy Group

Andrew WyeDfEE
Jonathan AnsteyDfEE
Jenny HolmesDfEE
Joe CrillyDfEE
Joe BeeleyDETR
Anthony HammilHM Treasury
Stuart TaylorHM Treasury
Keith BartleyOfsted
Nick VilleAudit Commission
Jack HatchNAHT
George PhipsonAHFAS
Peter DownesSHA
Peter RickardNational Bursars Association
John BangsNUT
Terry PearsonNational Governors Council
Steve LordLGA
Mike HeiserLGA
Gale WallerLGA
Tom FaircloughLGA
Thomas WhiffenLGA
David GallieLGA
Roy SmithLGA
Stephen FitzgeraldALG
Jo MennellALG

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