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Territorial Army

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the Territorial Army have served with regular army forces overseas in each of the last five years; and in which countries. [23667]

Dr. Moonie: The numbers of Territorial Army personnel that have served with regular army forces overseas in each of the last five years are shown in the table.

19 Dec 2001 : Column: 342W

1997199819992000(5)2001
Bosnia640609489129210
Kosovo00290291289
Sierra Leone000051
Macedonia00009
Total640609779420559

(5) To date


Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what discussions he has had, and with whom, concerning the location of the headquarters of the Territorial Army in Scotland; and if he will make a statement; [23201]

Mr. Ingram: The roles and responsibilities of the regional brigade structure in Scotland have been studied extensively by the Ministry of Defence as part of a wider examination of our force structure. This work has now concluded and I am pleased to announce that 52 (Lowland) Brigade will re-role to become a light infantry brigade, retaining command of the light role battalions in Redford Barracks and Dreghorn Barracks, Edinburgh and assuming command of those based at Preston and Chester. It will also retain responsibility for public duties. The Brigade will be known as 52 Infantry Brigade and the HQ will continue to be based at Edinburgh Castle. In parallel, 51 (Highland) Brigade will become the Scottish Regional Brigade assuming the infrastructure responsibilities of both 51 and 52 Brigades. The Brigade will be known as 51 (Scottish) Brigade and will be based at Forthside in Stirling.

These changes support the Strategy for the Army, are wholly consistent with the conclusions of the Strategic Defence Review and will enhance our military capability.

There have been no discussion about these plans outside my Department but I have written to the First Minister for the Scottish Parliament to advise him of these changes.

HMS Invincible

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when HMS Invincible's refit will be complete; and when HMS Invincible will be withdrawn from service. [23614]

Mr. Ingram: HMS Invincible will complete her current refit and return to operational status in the summer of 2003. On current plans she will be withdrawn from service towards the end of this decade.

Sub-harpoon Anti-ship Missiles

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the sub-harpoon anti-ship missiles will be withdrawn from service; and what effect this will have on submarine capabilities. [24026]

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Mr. Ingram: On current plans the sub-harpoon anti-ship missiles will be withdrawn from service in 2008. Subsequent to this date it is assessed that the anti-surface ship capability required of the nuclear submarine flotilla will be delivered by the Spearfish heavyweight torpedo.

Departmental Expenditure Limits

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the reasons for the difference between the final voted departmental expenditure limit and provisional outturn for financial year 2000–01, as listed in the Treasury document, Public Expenditure 2000–01: Provisional Outturn, for Vote VI, Defence, subcategory 2 Defence: Armed Forces retired pay, pensions etc; and if he will make a statement. [24115]

Mr. Ingram: Outturn was lower than estimated in financial year 2000–01 mainly because receipts from the Accruing Superannuation Liability Charge were slightly higher than anticipated, and because the overall increase in pensions was lower than forecast. For further information I refer the hon. Member to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme Resource Accounts for 2000–01, published on 21 November 2001. A copy is available in the Library of the House.

Army Pensions

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the pre-1973 army pensioners and army widows identified as entitled to tax free pensions under the pre-1973 attributable tax exercise of 1999 were entitled due to aggravated unfitness. [24181]

Dr. Moonie: The figures available to us on service pensions do not differentiate between those awarded for injuries or conditions that were attributable to, and those that were aggravated by, service. Figures could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Moved Bases

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list any major moves of (a) Army, (b) Navy and (c) Airforce bases since 1997. [24020]

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

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Palestinian Authority

7. Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with other European Governments regarding the provision of emergency aid for the Palestinian Authority. [21888]

Clare Short: Without peace, the prospects for economic growth and improved quality of life are negligible. But the potential for the region is considerable. Following the Oslo Accords in 1993, the area enjoyed a period of relative peace and economic growth. This benefited Palestinians and Israelis. Events took a downward turn in September 2000. Since then, there has been a continuing cycle of violence. Various attempts to re-engage the peace process have made little progress.

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Following the events of 11 September, there has been increased pressure from the international community for a resumption of productive dialogue, accompanied by renewed calls for the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

This is the context for UK development assistance to Palestinians and Palestinian refugees. Our assistance is part of an international effort, with the international financial institutions, the US, and the European Community playing leading roles.

We have provided over £43 million in development assistance and a further £61 million to UNRWA since the establishment of the PA in 1994. We also contribute substantially through our share of the EC and World bank spending. Between 1995 and 1999, the EC's MEDA programme provided euro 3.4 billion (about £2 billion), of which the UK share was 16 per cent. (about £320 million). The World bank has provided some $380 million to the West Bank and Gaza Strip; the UK share is about 5 per cent.

In response to the current crisis, I have increased our contribution to UNRWA by a further £7 million, to a total of £25 million for calendar year 2001. I have also increased our support to the Palestinian Authority by £6 million, to a total of £14 million for 2001–02 financial year.

World Trade Round

8. Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on how she intends to help developing countries to make gains from trade following the launch of a new trade round at the ministerial meeting in Doha. [21889]

Hilary Benn: Following the outcome of last month's meeting in Doha, the new trade round could potentially provide significant benefits for developing countries. The challenge now will be to deliver on that potential in the negotiations.

As part of this process, we are continuing to support capacity building in developing countries. Last month, my right hon. Friend announced further help to strengthen involvement in trade policy making and negotiating, and assist countries seeking accession to the WTO.

Afghanistan

9. Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department is providing to the people of Afghanistan to help them throughout the winter. [21890]

Clare Short: We have so far provided almost £40 million to United Nations agencies, the Red Cross movement and NGOs, including support for provision and stockpiling of assistance for the winter. The UN is aiming to maximise delivery through both road and air routes and is prioritising deliveries to areas where access may become more difficult over the winter, including the central Highlands, the Panjshir valley and the north-east of the country.

11. Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the amount of aid reaching the people of Afghanistan. [21892]

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Clare Short: United Nations agencies, particularly the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF, the Red Cross movement and NGOs continue to make good progress in transporting essential relief supplies into Afghanistan. Over the past month, WFP has delivered over 68,000 tonnes of food, exceeding its monthly target. International staff of humanitarian agencies have now returned to some areas of the country and are working with national staff to reach those in need of assistance. However, progress is heavily dependent on improved security. Despite the best efforts of humanitarian agencies, some areas of Afghanistan are still proving difficult to access because of continuing insecurity.

12. Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the situation in the central highlands of Afghanistan with regard to the distribution of humanitarian aid. [21893]

Clare Short: United Nations agencies, particularly the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF, the Red Cross movement and NGOs continue to make good progress in transporting essential relief supplies into the central Highlands. UN international staff have now returned to the area.

WFP has achieved its target delivery of 33,000 tonnes of food aid to the central Highlands; the food will be distributed by partner NGOs to support up to a million people over the winter.

Other agencies, including UNICEF, the International Organisation for Migration and Oxfam, have continued to deliver health, shelter and education supplies.

14. Mr. Neil Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to support recovery and reconstruction in Afghanistan. [21896]

Clare Short: I have just announced an additional £20 million to support the UN-led recovery effort. We are fully committed to supporting Ambassador Brahimi and the United Nations system in their central role to help the people of Afghanistan and their new Interim Authority to begin this huge task. A copy of our updated "Emergency Plan to Initiate Recovery" has been placed in the Library of the House.

21. Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to relieve the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. [21903]

22. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. [21904]

24. Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment she has made of the international aid situation in Afghanistan; and if she will make a statement. [21906]

26. Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. [21908]

Clare Short: The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan remains serious. The United Nations estimates at least 5 million people are in need of assistance, and over 1 million have been displaced from their homes.

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UN agencies, particularly the World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF and the Red Cross movement continue to make good progress in transporting essential relief supplies into Afghanistan. Over the past month, WFP has delivered over 68,000 tonnes of food, exceeding its monthly target. International staff of humanitarian agencies have now returned to some areas of the country and are working with national staff to reach those in need of assistance. However, progress is heavily dependent on improved security. Despite the best efforts of humanitarian agencies, some areas of Afghanistan are still proving difficult to access because of continuing insecurity.

My Department has so far allocated £60 million to United Nations agencies, the Red Cross movement and NGOs for their response to the Afghan crisis.


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