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Alvis 4 Mamba Vehicles

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made to replace the Army's fleet of Alvis 4 Mamba vehicles. [34403]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 February 2002, Official Report, column 858W, to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock).

12 Feb 2002 : Column 172W

Northern Ireland

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his estimate is of the cost to the defence budget of the emergency deployment to Northern Ireland in each financial year since 1991–92. [34860]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 December 2001, Official Report, column 348W, to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws).

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many forces personnel have been committed overseas in each month since January 2000; and where. [34832]

Mr. Ingram: The numbers of UK regular forces located overseas since January 2000 are given in the table. These figures are published twice yearly in TSP6 "Global Deployment of Service Personnel", which is held in the Library of the House.

Location of UK regular forces overseas 1 January 2000—1 December 2001

1 Jan. 1 Feb. 1 March1 April1 May1 June1 July1 Aug. 1 Sept. 1 Oct. 1 Nov. 1 Dec.
Total overseas39,88840,84140,64142,70842,85543,08242,92241,38944,70444,93144,17343,754
Other Mediterranean, near east and Gulf1,4571,4491,2961,5021,6151,6061,0741,0119959661,5311,537
Far East295297300297279292938926904890289338
Other locations4,7955,2105,9308,0038,56410,31711,6529,99213,00013,65811,25210,825

1 Jan.1 Feb.1 March1 April1 May1 June1 July1 Aug.1 Sept.1 Oct.1 Nov.1 Dec.
Total overseas37,65839,37839,37838,89837,82938,69540,92240,95843,56247,02044,29243,044
Other Mediterranean, near east and Gulf1,3821,5221,6941,5531,3471,5762,2742,5383,8019,5208,8044,388
Far East308325276273266262280279280275278283
Other locations8,0149,20210,1209,9809,68011,05713,40012,46115,19113,48310,90710,469

Chinook Inquiry

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he will take as a result of the House of Lords Committee inquiry into the Chinook helicopter crash in 1994. [35336]

Mr. Ingram: As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister informed the House on 6 February 2002, Official Report, column 856, this is a complex issue. We are now studying the report in detail, and will make a full response in due course.

Former Service Personnel

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the measures he is taking to ensure that service personnel are equipped to cope with civilian life when they leave the services. [35270]

Mr. Ingram: Resettlement and career transition services for those leaving the regular armed forces are core elements of my Department's Armed Forces Overarching Personnel Strategy (AFOPS). The range of services that currently exist to assist service personnel with the process of re-entering civilian life includes housing and finance briefings, workshops, seminars, relevant training and assistance in job-finding. The range of activities and the amount of time available to individuals to undertake them depends on the length of time spent in the regular armed forces. The most comprehensive service is available to those with at least five years 'reckonable' service, although those who are medically discharged at any time after the completion of basic training are also eligible for the full service. These services are currently provided in the form of a partnership between my Department and the Coutts Consulting Group, and are known as the Career Transition Partnership (CTP). A job-finding service is offered for those who have at least three years of reckonable service. A lesser level of support is available to those who have served less than three years in the armed forces, and who are not therefore eligible for the CTP. The CTP commenced operations on 12 October 1998, and has its own dedicated website,

A Veterans Advice Unit also exists and provides a single point of contact for ex-service personnel seeking advice on where to obtain expert help on individual issues.

12 Feb 2002 : Column 173W

Freefall Bombs

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of gravity bombs made in the UK were for (a) war stock and (b) the longer term in (i) 1998–99 and (ii) 2000–01. [31827]

Dr. Moonie: In 1998–99 and 2000–01 no freefall bombs, sometimes referred to as "gravity bombs", were manufactured to supplement war reserve stock. In the same periods, purchases were made to support training, and for development purposes. Of these, less than 3 per cent. restricted to non-explosive practice bombs, were manufactured outside the United Kingdom.

Departmental Expenditure (Publications)

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) of 28 January 2002, Official Report, column 21W, on departmental expenditure, if he will make a statement about the increase in his departmental expenditure on commercial and HMSO publications since 1997–98. [32286]

Dr. Moonie: Procurement of newspapers, magazines and periodicals is not managed centrally. Instead it is cascaded to budget holders. Therefore the reason for and decision to procure is left to budget holders with the requirement that such purchases should be properly scrutinised, accounted for and undertaken in the most cost-effective manner.

The 2000–01 outturn is atypical. Expenditure in 2001–02 is currently expected to be £7.5 million, which is very much in line with 1999–2000 outturn. But, given varying requirements, some fluctuation in this area of expenditure from year to year is to be expected as can be seen from patterns of previous expenditure.


Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 1 February 2002, Official Report, column 599W, if he will specify the appropriate guidance to the UK forces operating in Afghanistan to ensure compliance with the UK's international legal obligations; and if prisoners captured in Afghanistan by UK forces will be accorded prisoner of war status under the Geneva Convention. [35032]

Mr. Hoon: I am withholding the specific details of the guidance referred to, in accordance with Exemption (1a) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. Whether any detainee is a prisoner of war depends on the facts of each individual case. It is for the Detaining Power in the first instance to take a view.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what progress has been made in securing commitment from the Turkish Government to take over the UK-led ISAF command in Afghanistan; [33188]

Mr. Hoon: We are working closely with Turkey and a number of other countries on the handing over of the command of the International Security Assistance Force.

12 Feb 2002 : Column 174W

Royal Ordnance

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the status is of the partnering agreement between the MOD and Royal Ordnance; and if it is his policy to guarantee indigenous supply of ammunition. [33025]

Dr. Moonie: The Framework Partnering Agreement between BAE Systems RO Defence and the Ministry of Defence was signed in December 1999 and has been running successfully for two years. During this period both sides have met their commitments. The policy relating to the supply of ammunition ensures that the ammunition is safe and suitable for use, and provides both value for money and security of supply.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with BAE Systems concerning the closure of ROF Birtley. [33024]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence has held no direct discussions with BAE Systems on the future of the RO Defence (ROD) site at Birtley. The MOD is aware that ROD is conducting a review of its manufacturing strategy and this review includes the options for the Birtley site. It is expected that the outcome of this review will be announced at the end of February 2002.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received on Royal Ordnance's policy relating to the TACAS project and the supply of hardware from indigenous bases. [33026]

Dr. Moonie: I am not aware of any representations being made to the Ministry of Defence on Royal Ordnance's policy relating to the Tubed Artillery Conventional Ammunition System (TACAS) project. The TACAS project has only just entered the assessment phase. RO Defence, as the assessment phase prime contractor, is reviewing possible solutions, from a worldwide range of sources, to meet the TACAS requirement. On current plans, a decision on the way forward is not expected to be made until autumn 2004.

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