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RAF Halton

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the properties at RAF Halton which his Department (a) has disposed of in the last five years, (b) classifies as surplus to requirements and (c) plans to classify as surplus to requirements. [17644]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 26 November 2001]: Three minor disposals of garden or amenity land of minimal value have been made over the past five years. In addition, 12 properties were transferred permanently to Annington Homes Ltd. (AHL) as part of the sale of the Married Quarters Estate in November 1996 with a further 82 properties following on 1 June 2001.

Halton Hospital plus an area adjoining the south-west corner known as The Old Pumping Station at Warneford Avenue (0.4ha) has been classified as surplus to requirements. A further 57 properties are likely to be handed back to AHL in March 2002.

Halton House officers' mess may become surplus in due course. However, the ongoing Defence Training Review includes RAF Halton and it is too early to say what the outcome will be. There are no plans to declare any further family quarters at Halton surplus to requirements in the foreseeable future.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if Defence Estates has set a target date for the disposal of the site of the Princess Mary Hospital, RAF Halton. [17646]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 26 November 2001]: We anticipate that the site will be sold in March 2003.

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Civil Affairs Group

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when and where elements of the Civil Affairs Group have been deployed on operations; and what the number of personnel involved was. [18870]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 28 November 2001]: The Civil Affairs Group was formed initially in 1997. The numbers of Civil Affairs Group personnel deployed on operations, and the locations and dates of those deployments are shown in the table.

OP Palatine—Bosnia
November 1997 to May 1998(1)44
November 1997 to May 1998(1),(3)442
OP Agricola—Macedonia/Kosovo/Albania
February 1999 to June 1999(1)11
April 1999 to July 1999(1)33
June to July 1999(1)211
July 1999 to August 1999(1)22
July 1999 to October 1999(1),(3)22
October 1999 to December 1999(1),(3)33
May 2001 to January 2002(2)11
OP Langar—East Timor
August 1999 to September 1999(1)11
September 1999 to December 1999(1)11
OP Pallister/Silkman—Sierra Leone
April 1999 to June 1999(1)22
November 2000 to February 2001(1)11
January 2001 to June 2001(1)11
February 2001 to May 2001(1)11
June 2001 to October 2001(2)22
September 2001 to January 2002(1)22

(1) Officers

(2) Other ranks (ORs)

(3) Denote that the numbers include personnel not on the Civil Affairs Group establishment but who were trained by the Group and deployed with them to undertake Civil Affairs and Civil/Military Co-operation tasks.

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to deploy elements of the Civil Affairs Group to Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [18871]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 28 November 2001]: The situation in Afghanistan continues to be fluid and our forces remain well balanced to respond to events as they unfold. A core force package, including a detachment from the Civil Affairs Group, is maintained at very high readiness to deploy if required. Personnel from the Civil Affairs Group are already involved in planning and liaison tasks outside Afghanistan.

POWs (Far East)

Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the advice as to their qualification on

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nationality grounds offered in the War Pensions Agency's leaflet 12 to potential claimants of the ex-gratia payment for British groups who were held prisoner by the Japanese during World War Two conforms to current guidance. [17149]

Dr. Moonie: Yes. The War Pensions Agency Leaflet No. 12 lists among the potential claimants for the ex-gratia payment "surviving British civilians who were interned by the Japanese in the Far East during the Second World War". A separate War Pensions Agency note explaining the requirement to confirm a bloodline to the United Kingdom and how this can be done, is sent out with each claim form.

EU Rapid Reaction Force

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes of role his Department has assessed to be required for the proposed EU rapid reaction force in consequence of the 11 September attacks. [18257]

Mr. Hoon: There are no plans for a standing EU rapid reaction force.

While the capabilities being developed under the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) can also play an important role in any military response to international terrorism, the scope of ESDP should remain firmly focused on crisis-management tasks.

Armed Forces (Drugs)

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the armed forces compulsory drug testing programme; and if he will make a statement. [18412]

Mr. Ingram: Our policy is that drug misuse is incompatible with service in the armed forces. The use of random compulsory drug testing of staff sends a clear message to service personnel about this policy. In addition, it provides a means of measuring the level of drug misuse in the services, and whether the misuse of a particular drug, or class of drugs, is on the increase or is in decline. It is also an important means with which to assess and audit the effectiveness of the education programmes run by each of the services.

Territorial Army

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 22 November 2001, Official Report, column 373W, on the Territorial Army, for what reason the decision was taken to re-tender for the national advertising contract. [18842]

Dr. Moonie: In accordance with normal practice the national advertising contract for the Territorial Army and Regular Army is subject to regular review. The Army Training and Recruiting Agency's recruiting authorities, in conjunction with the Central Office of Information, reviewed the current contract and concluded that there was a need to refresh the current advertising campaign and that this was best achieved by a process of re-tendering.


Syd Rapson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what talks have taken place with the Spanish Government

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on their refusal to permit British military aircraft to fly over their airspace to Gibraltar; and what reason has been given by the Spanish Government for refusing to permit British military aircraft to fly through Spanish air space en route to Gibraltar. [19139]

Mr. Ingram: There have been no recent discussions with Spain about restrictions on British military aircraft flying through Spanish air space.

Army Personnel

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people (a) joined and (b) left the Army in each month between 1 May and 1 September. [16468]

Mr. Ingram: The number of people joining and leaving the Army in each of the months between May and September is as follows:


(4) The table shows all personnel who joined or left UK regular forces with the exception of illegal absentees. The list includes transferees from other services, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and personnel joining from other nation's services.

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