Previous Section Index Home Page

Tracer Programme

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on the Tracer programme to date; and what further expenditure is planned to the end of the programme. [11619]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 1 November 2001]: UK expenditure on the Tracer programme to 30 September 2001 is £108 million. A further £23 million has been committed for the planned completion of the current assessment phase in July 2002 when the collaborative programme will end.

HMNB Clyde

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress is being made on the contractorisation of his Department's civilians at HMNB Clyde; and what the time scale is for the change. [12174]

Dr. Moonie: Proposals have now been received from the Dockyard companies for partnering arrangements with the three Naval Bases at Portsmouth, Devonport and Clyde with the aim of modernising warship support. Alternative proposals have also been received from the joint Ministry of Defence Trades Unions and these are being assessed alongside the Company proposals. On current plans we would expect to announce the decision on the way ahead in the new year, with transition to any new arrangements anticipated to complete next summer.

Challenger II

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the manufacture of ammunition for the Challenger II main battle tank. [11048]

Dr. Moonie: The final batch of the armour piercing round (CHARM 3) has recently been manufactured and this completes current plans for the procurement of Challenger II ammunition other than the Squash Head Practise training round.

2 Nov 2001 : Column: 879W

Disinfectants and Repellents

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if disinfectants and repellents for use by HM forces in hot climates are hazardous to health; and to what extent the instructions for their use are clear to users. [12183]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence uses a wide range of disinfectants and repellents, many of which are subject to the requirements of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). These regulations require that an assessment of the risks to health and of the actions that need to be taken when using such a substance are carried out before it is used. Among other things, the assessment must consider the circumstances of use—for example whether it will be used in a hot or cold environment, in windy conditions, or in a confined space—and the information, instruction and training that must be provided for the eventual user, MOD and HM forces have management systems in place to ensure that such COSHH assessments are undertaken, that their conclusions are implemented and that, among other things, clear information, instruction and training is provided for and to the user.

HMS Ocean

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when HMS Ocean came into service; how long her refit is scheduled to take; and when she will return to service. [12067]

Dr. Moonie: HMS Ocean was handed over to the Royal Navy in March 1999 and her first refit is not planned to take place until 2008. However, in order to enable her to continue to operate until then, she will require a routine docking period. It had been planned to begin this work in January 2002 at Portsmouth, but due to current operational circumstances it has been decided to postpone the docking period. Instead, some essential maintenance work will be undertaken at her base port, Devonport, when she returns from the Gulf in late November. This will enable Ocean to be made available for operational programming early in 2002 rather than in late spring, which would have been the case had her docking period proceeded as planned.

Golden Jubilee

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans Her Majesty's Government have made for the armed forces to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty's reign; and if it is proposed to issue medals. [12299]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 23 November 2000, Official Report, column 294W, to my hon. Friend the Member for High Peak (Mr. Levitt), which detailed the plans for the Queen's Golden Jubilee. The then Home Secretary my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) announced on 15 February 2001 that there would be a Golden Jubilee Medal.

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is to be the cost of issuing the Queen's Jubilee Medal to members of the armed forces with five years service; what the cost of issuing the medal to all members of the armed forces would have been; and if he will make a statement. [12161]

2 Nov 2001 : Column: 880W

Dr. Moonie: The estimated cost of awarding the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal to all those members of the armed forces, volunteer reserve forces and the royal fleet auxiliary who will have completed five years' qualifying service on 6 February 2002, is £3.8 million. The funding that would be required to include all those who are serving on that date would be an additional £1.8 million.

The potential cost of the medal was not a deciding factor in determining the qualifying criteria. The requirement for a minimum of five years' qualifying service gives due recognition to those who have committed themselves to and completed a significant period of service to the Crown.

Scottish Regiments

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans exist to house Scottish regiments in Scotland; [12176]

Dr. Moonie: Scottish regiments are routinely based in Scotland. Currently, The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons) are stationed at Redford Barracks, Edinburgh and The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment) at Fort George, Inverness. Such deployments will continue in future, as part of the Army's Arms Plot.

The current location of the other Scottish regiments of the Foot Guards, Scottish Division and Royal Armoured Corps are as follows: Wellington Barracks, London (Scots Guards); Somme Barracks, Catterick (The King's Own Scottish Borders); Ballykelly, Northern Ireland (The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment)); Belfast, Northern Ireland (The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's)); and Fallingbostel, Germany (The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) and The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys)).

During the next 12 months, it is planned that The Royal Scots will be posted to Dreghorn Barracks, Edinburgh.

Defence Contracts

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what defence contracts are placed in Scotland; what is their total value; with what firms they have been placed; what is the value to each firm; and what is the timescale over which each contract will be paid to the contractors. [12175]

Dr. Moonie: Information at the level of detail requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. In addition, details of individual contracts and their values are withheld under Exemption 14 (Information given in confidence) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. However, in respect of contracts placed in Scotland, I draw the hon. Member's attention to the publication, "UK Defence Statistics 2001", a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. Table 1.9 contains information on defence expenditure on equipment in UK regions, including Scotland.

2 Nov 2001 : Column: 881W

Defence Agencies

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the defence agencies, the location of each of their headquarters, the staff totals of each, the numbers of each of their staffs in Scotland, their annual expenditure, and their annual expenditure in Scotland, in the last available year. [12179]

Dr. Moonie: Information about Defence Agencies, including the location of their headquarters, the number of staff employed and their annual expenditure, have been given in Annexe K of the Ministry of Defence Departmental Performance Report 1999–2000, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. I will write to the hon. Member about the other aspects of his question and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the defence agencies that have trading status. [12177]

Dr. Moonie: Currently, four defence agencies operate as Trading Funds. They are: the Meteorological Office, the UK Hydrographic Office, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, and the Defence Aviation Repair Agency.


Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the vaccinations available to service personnel as protection against chemical and biological warfare have been (a) tested and (b) improved since the Gulf war; and if they are free from hazardous side effects. [12182]

Dr. Moonie: The only immunisation used to protect UK service personnel against the possible use of biological warfare agents during the Gulf conflict, which is still in use, is an anthrax vaccine. No significant alterations to this vaccine as used by the Ministry of Defence have been made since the Gulf conflict. No serious side effects have been reported. No immunisations were or are used to protect against chemical warfare agents.

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if UK military personnel involved in the conflict in Afghanistan will be obliged to be vaccinated against exposure to chemical and biological warfare. [12181]

Mr. Hoon: We take all measures necessary to ensure that service personnel are afforded appropriate protection against chemical and biological warfare agents commensurate with the perceived threat. The only licensed vaccine currently used to protect UK service personnel against exposure to biological warfare agents is an anthrax vaccine. The vaccine is offered to specific units of our armed forces on the basis of an assessment of the threat they face, which in turn depends on their deployment role. We continually review whether it is appropriate to offer anthrax vaccine to personnel who may be involved in new deployments, as part of their wider package of protective measures against chemical or biological attack. Vaccination of UK service personnel is not obligatory but voluntary, and is given on the basis of informed consent.

It is not possible to vaccinate against chemical warfare agents.

2 Nov 2001 : Column: 882W

Next Section Index Home Page