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Territorial Reserve

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to change the status of the territorial reserve to that of a UK national guard. [25858]

Dr. Moonie: As part of the work we are currently conducting on a new chapter to the Strategic Defence Review, we are examining the role that the armed forces, including the reserves, have in defending and protecting the United Kingdom. As a result of this work we may conclude that there should be a greater or changed role for the reserves in security of the United Kingdom. If this is the case, we will want to consult the reserves and their employers.

Agency Costs

Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent in the last four complete financial years with agencies supplying (a) IT, (b) accounting and (c) finance personnel on a contractual basis; and how many (i) such contracts and (ii) man years this represents. [25014]

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Dr. Moonie: This information is not held centrally in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, much of the information sought is available in the Ministry of Defence's annual returns of expenditure on External Assistance, which includes the categories of Finance and Accounting, and Information and Control Systems. Copies are available in the Library of the House, covering the period 1995–96 to 1999–2000.

BAE Systems (Tanzania Contract)

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance the Government have offered BAE Systems to secure a contract in Tanzania to supply an air traffic control system. [25202]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence, primarily through the Defence Export Services Organisation, is responsible for co-ordinating Government support for legitimate defence exports. In carrying out these responsibilities, assistance is available to defence equipment exporters in support of overseas marketing campaigns. It is, however, not our policy to provide details of individual campaigns for reasons of commercial confidentiality.

Beacon Project

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the status of the proposed beacon project linking NHS hospital trusts and TA field hospitals. [25792]

Dr. Moonie: As the hon. Member may be aware, TA field hospitals have had informal relationships with local NHS trusts for many years. The beacon project aims to formalise these relationships and develop mutually beneficial initiatives offering personal development, leadership training and professional development to NHS trust members and also to increase TA recruitment. A pilot project has been approved by my Department and the Department of Health and links Preston Acute Hospital National Health Trust and Chorley and South Ribble Health Trust with 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital (Volunteers). This project has held five meetings to date.

Service Personnel

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision has been made for armed forces personnel on active service abroad this Christmas. [25353R]

Mr. Ingram: The majority of service personnel on operational deployments overseas this Christmas were in receipt of the standard operational welfare package (OWP), which includes 20 minutes of publicly funded telephone calls per week, free forces aerogrammes, concessionary mail and parcel rates, access to the internet and e-mail, newspapers and book packs, BFBS TV and radio, televisions, video recorders and video tapes, Expeditionary Forces Institute shops and publicly funded laundry.

In addition all personnel deployed over the Christmas week and in receipt of the OWP were granted an additional 20 minutes of publicly funded telephone time. Tesco donated Christmas parcels for all deployed personnel, Clinton Cards provided free Christmas cards

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for service personnel to send to their families and friends and most locations received an additional distribution of paperback books.

C130 Hercules

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) C130Ks and (b) C130Js are suitable for deployment to Afghanistan. [26350]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 11 January 2002]: I am withholding this information in accordance with Exemption 1a of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

RAF Bases

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to close a runway at RAF Lyneham. [26624]

Mr. Ingram: The hon. Member is aware that a study has been commissioned as part of the Ministry of Defence's normal planning process, to consider the future roles of RAF Lyneham, RAF Brize Norton and RAF St. Mawgan. The study will examine the most cost- effective way to base the Air Transport Fleet, taking account of the competition for the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft. It will explore opportunities for the exploitation of spare capacity at the three stations in the light of decisions about the above aircraft types. This will involve consideration of all aspects of the operations of each station. The study will report in the summer and I will inform the House of the details of its conclusions.

Tour Intervals

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the tour intervals were for the (a) Royal Armoured Corps, (b) Royal Artillery, (c) Royal Engineers, (d) Royal Signals and (e) Parachute Regiment in the last year for which figures are available. [26676]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 11 January 2002]: The tour intervals for the corps in question during the year April 2000 to March 2001, the most recently available information, are set out in the table:

Tour intervals in 2000–01

ArmLength of interval
Royal Armoured Corps26
Royal Artillery42
Royal Engineers34
Royal Signals24
Parachute Regiment18(16)

(16) Tour intervals are calculated on the basis of deployments of six months or more. During the period Parachute Regiment elements were also deployed to Macedonia but as this was for three months it has not been included.

Army Deployments

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of (a) the Army and (b) Land Command is (i) committed and (ii) warned to deploy for operations. [26677]

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Mr. Ingram: 27 per cent. of the Army is committed to operations with 2 per cent. warned for deployment to Afghanistan. 38 per cent. of Land Command is committed to operations with 3 per cent. warned for deployment to Afghanistan.

Naval Accident

Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the inquiry into the loss of Royal Navy Merlin EH101 ZH844, at Rassay on 27 October 2001 has been completed; and if he will publish the results. [26090]

Dr. Moonie: The report on the internal investigation into the loss of Royal Navy Merlin ZH844 has been completed, and its findings are currently being studied by the staff of the Commodore Naval Aviation. Once this study is complete, a Military Aircraft Accident Summary will be produced and a copy placed in the Library of the House.

Royal Fleet Auxiliaries

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what primary casualty receiving facilities have been provided on each of the Fort class RFAs; how many beds are provided; and what medical personnel serve on these ships. [26679]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 January 2002]: All Fort class Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ships carry primary health care medical personnel, who would usually consist of a civilian Medical Officer and/or a Medical Assistant. RFA Fort George was fitted with a surgical capability during 2001 and has 12 beds. The primary health care medical personnel would be augmented, when necessary, by a surgical team and supporting medical and nursing personnel. RFA Fort Victoria is due to be fitted with the same surgical capability during 2002.

Translation Services

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what translation services he ensures are available for health trusts in (a) England and (b) Staffordshire. [13497]

Mr. Hutton: The NHS Plan sets NHS a target of having a free and nationally available translation service available from all national health service premises via NHS Direct by 2003. These services will be a pivotal building block in achieving the patient-centred services envisioned in the NHS Plan and the targets set in the various National Service Frameworks.

We do not keep data centrally about services in Staffordshire.

Health Authority Expenditure

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the latest forecast figures for underspending or overspending for the present financial year that have been submitted by each health authority in the south-east of England to the NHS South East Regional Office. [19317]

Ms Blears [holding answer 29 November 2001]: The latest (as at 31 October 2001) reported forecast year end over and underspends for health authorities in the south-east region are in the table.

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Forecast outturn 2001–02
East Kent0
East Surrey-2,100
East Sussex0
Isle of Wight/Portsmouth/South East Hampshire-450
North and Mid Hampshire-1,138
Southampton and South West Hampshire-269
West Kent0
West Surrey-3,316
West Sussex0
Overall total-7,485


1. The minus figures detailed indicate an overspending.

2. '0' indicates a break even position.

Within the south-east region seven out of the 13 health authorities are projecting a balanced year end position while the remaining six have a projected aggregate overspend of £7.5 million. These overspends range from £212,000 to £3.3 million.

The South East Regional Office is continuing to work with these six health authorities to identify what action will be necessary for them to achieve operational financial balance by the end of the financial year.

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