Previous Section Index Home Page

Middle East

David Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what role the EU is playing in seeking to make progress towards peace in the middle east. [25415]

Mr. Bradshaw: The EU plays an active role in efforts to secure peace in the region, in parallel with US, UN and Russian efforts. EU Foreign Ministers and High Representative Solana visit the region frequently to deliver strong messages to both parties about their responsibilities to put an end to the violence and resume negotiations. Solana began a further visit on 6 January. The EU's position is clear: the Palestinian Authority should dismantle terrorist networks; the Israeli Government should withdraw their military forces, end operations against Palestinian institutions and lift restrictions.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations

10 Jan 2002 : Column: 959W

he has made to the Vietnamese Government concerning the treatment of Christians in Vietnam. [25295]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Secretary of State raised general human rights issues in Vietnam when he met the Vietnamese Foreign Minister, Mr. Nien, in London in September 2001. The EU Human Rights Working Group in Hanoi, in which our embassy plays a leading role, raises the treatment of religious groups and individuals, during its regular dialogue with the Vietnamese authorities.

Overseas Assistance

Mr. Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on UK assistance to militaries and police forces overseas. [26900]

Mr. Bradshaw: UK training and assistance to militaries and police forces overseas has been provided through the ASSIST (Assistance to Support Stability with In-Service Training) scheme, the ASSIST Challenge Fund and English language training programme. In total £6.8 million in FY 2000–01 supported some 220 training and assistance projects for the military, law enforcement agencies and civilian bodies in over 65 countries, with a strong emphasis on human rights and good governance. Examples include the attachment of a UK chief constable to the Indonesian police service to help it establish a new structure and code of ethics; English language training for central and eastern Europe militaries to support their international peacekeeping capabilities and NATO candidature; and a project to help UK and South Asian police forces work together on the issue of forced marriages.

Following a review last year of the Government's conflict prevention and resolution activities, the ASSIST budgets have been subsumed into the interdepartmental Conflict Prevention Pools, which continue to fund ASSIST-type activities.

The review of the ASSIST activities for 2000–01 gives more detail. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.


Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to offer military support against terrorism in Nepal by supplying (a) equipment and (b) personnel. [24747]

Mr. Ingram: I have been asked to reply.

The Government are very concerned at the situation in Nepal and have fully supported the Nepalese Government's efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Maoist insurgency. The United Kingdom has been equally supportive of the Nepalese Government, which has a duty to protect its citizens from Maoist violence, over the crisis caused by the Maoists' return to violence in November 2001. Our armed forces have close links with the Royal Nepalese Army and already provide them with training and are currently providing logistic equipment. We remain in close contact with the Nepalese Government.

10 Jan 2002 : Column: 960W


Type 45 Destroyer

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if Sea Dart anti-aircraft missiles on Type 45 destroyers can be used against surface targets; if Sea Dart missiles will be fitted to Type 45 destroyers; if the Aster anti-aircraft missiles on the Type 45 destroyers can be deployed against surface targets; what effect the move to littoral operations has on the need for anti-surface weapons capabilities; and if he will make a statement. [24022]

Mr. Ingram: The Sea Dart missile is fitted only to Type 42 destroyers. It has a limited anti-surface unit capability. It will not be fitted to Type 45 destroyers. The Aster missile system, with which the Type 45s will be equipped, will not have an anti-surface unit capability. The Type 45 Destroyer's anti-ship capability will be provided by the Sea Skua missile fitted to its Lynx helicopter, together with the 4.5" Mk8 Mod 1 Gun and twin 30mm guns. The Type 45 Destroyer is being designed to facilitate the incremental incorporation of additional capabilities, including a surface-to-surface guided missile should the requirement for one be demonstrated.

Our ships have always needed to operate in the littoral, but the emphasis on ensuring that we can operate in this environment has increased, not least to take better advantage of the contribution of maritime forces in the force projection role. The Type 45, in its primary role of maritime air defence, will significantly enhance our ability to operate in this environment. For anti-surface capability, however, the main effect is to increase the emphasis on robust measures to protect ships operating in this area against the threat from fast inshore attack craft.

Regimental Strengths

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will state the (a) strength and (b) establishment of the Coldstream Guards; [24569]

Mr. Ingram: The establishments and actual strengths for the Coldstream Guards, the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment and the Worcestershire and Sherwood Forester's Regiment as at 1 November are shown in the table.

Establishment strengthActual strength
Coldstream Guards609604
1st Battalion of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment669602
2nd Battalion of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment667613
Worcestershire and Sherwood Forester's Regiment610597

The establishments and actual strengths for the regiments above include the cap-badge strength as well as attached personnel from other Corps who are supporting the regiments in their current location.

10 Jan 2002 : Column: 961W

Early Retirement

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many enlisted personnel have sought early retirement after serving less than the maximum period for a full pension in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [25831]

Mr. Ingram: Full pension for enlisted personnel is payable after completion of 37 years' service. However, those who complete 22 or more years' service are eligible for an Immediate Pension which, broadly, is calculated on a pro rata basis. The latest figures in each category are set out in the table.

For the last three years, the total numbers of enlisted personnel who have retired before completing the necessary 37 years' service for full pension entitlement, but after having served the required 22 years for immediate pension are as shown in the table.

Personnel having served 22 years
1 November 2000 to 31 October 2001897
1 November 1999 to 31 October 2000752
1 November 1998 to 31 October 1999709

The total numbers who retired before completing the necessary 22 years for payment of immediate pension and were therefore entitled to a preserved award only are given in the table:

Personnel having served less than 22 years
1 April 2000 to 1 March 200178,823
1 April 1999 to 1 March 200079,412
1 April 1998 to 1 March 199978,638

NBC Equipment

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Fuchs NBC defence vehicles and CAM-level 3s are (a) in service and (b) operational. [25701]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 9 November 2001, Official Report, column 434W, regarding the Fuchs NBC Defence Vehicle.

A number of hand-held Chemical Agent Monitors (CAM) have recently been refurbished and sufficient stock is held to meet current defence planning assumptions. I am withholding the information with regard to specific quantities in accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Defence Analytical Statistical Agency

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what studies the Defence Analytical Statistical Agency has carried out in the last four years which have involved data on servicemen and women who had already retired. [23957]

Dr. Moonie: The Defence Analytical Services Agency routinely analyses data on men and women who have left the service to obtain historical information on the strengths and characteristics of the services and to help in

10 Jan 2002 : Column: 962W

predicting the future numbers and types of leavers. The source data are obtained from departmental pay and personnel systems.

Retired service personnel may also be included in more general surveys conducted by the agency, for example if a retired officer is employed by the department in a civilian post or if a survey includes reservists.

In the last four years the agency has also carried out some special studies involving retired service men and women. In 1999–2000 a study of people who die in service or are invalided out was undertaken to support the Joint Compensation Review, and information on leavers in general was used to support the Armed Forces Pension Scheme Review. The agency is currently carrying out a study of ex-service men with pensions and preserved pension rights to provide information on pension troughs in the Armed Forces Pension Scheme.

Next Section Index Home Page