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Irish Sea (Submarines)

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what investigations his Department has carried out following the two fishing boat accidents in the Irish Sea on 31 January and 14 February; what the result of those investigations has been; and what further action will be taken to ensure that action plans are in place in fishing ports to address similar accidents in the future; [44466]

Mr. Ingram: Royal naval submarines operating in waters frequented by UK fishing vessels are governed by a code of practice, mutually agreed by the Royal Navy and the UK fishing industry, which is designed to ensure the safety of fishing vessels. Additionally, it is mandatory for royal naval and allied submarines to report their position once a fishing vessel incident is reported. I can confirm that, following internal investigations, no submarines were operating in the vicinity of either of the two incidents referred to. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch have confirmed that they are satisfied with this conclusion.

The Royal Navy will, in general, respond to such incidents if requests for assistance are received from the Coastguard or the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

Apache Helicopters

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of the integration of the Hellfire missile on to the Army's Apache helicopters. [44659]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 19 March 2002]: Trials of the helicopter and its weapons systems are progressing satisfactorily. We expect the Hellfire missile to be integrated on the helicopter and cleared for training by the end of this year.

Development Expenditure

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the net book value of development expenditure at the end of each year in the period 1997–98 to 2002–03; and if he will show the development expenditure made in each year. [44662]

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Mr. Ingram: The information requested is shown in the table.

£ billion

YearNet book value of development expenditure(1)Development expenditure made this year
1997–98(2)(2)
1998–99(3)18.6(2)
1999–2000(3)19.3(3)1.3
2000–01(3)19.9(3)1.0
2001–02(4)20.6(4)1.3
2002–03n/an/a

(1) As at 31 March of each year.

(2) Reliable data on development expenditure are unavailable in Resource terms for this period.

(3) These data are taken from the Departmental Resource Accounts for 1999–2000 and 2000–01.

(4) Estimate.

Notes:

1. All figures are expressed in billions and are rounded to the nearest decimal place.

2. n/a = data not yet available


Logistics

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the net book value was of (a) capital spares and (b) raw materials and consumables at the end of each month since April 2000. [44661]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 19 March 2002]: The net book value of capital spares and raw materials and consumables held by the Ministry of Defence at the end of each month since April 2000 was as follows:

£000

Financial month and yearCapital sparesRMC
2000
April8,560,9477,057,584
May8,839,9468,978,671
June9,525,1137,311,941
July9,146,2437,256,798
August8,872,5497,430,376
September8,738,5737,454,189
October8,761,4397,202,662
November8,737,8947,185,215
December8,812,2157,662,679
2001
January8,690,8317,613,195
February8,611,3837,508,409
March8,509,7527,394,542
April7,809,8786,099,338
May7,445,0616,061,659
June7,312,2966,116,666
July7,412,8666,322,058
August7,302,1556,383,351
September7,010,4356,202,675
October7,078,6936,250,770
November7,034,9866,407,108
December7,130,2886,414,625
2002
January(5)7,034,5786,212,182

(5) This is the last month for which figures are currently available.


The figures provided from April 2000 to March 2001 were consolidated within the Departmental Resource Accounts (DRAc) for that financial year, but the figures for stock were qualified by the Comptroller and Auditor

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General when the accounts were audited. The figures from April 2001 onwards will be consolidated within the next DRAc, which will be audited later this year.

Fleet Support Limited Company

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Fleet Support Limited company has (a) met all contractual performance indicators and (b) delivered on time and to cost for all work on Fleet Maintenance and Repair in Portsmouth. [44757]

Mr. Ingram: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Since its formation in 1998, Fleet Support Ltd. (FSL) has undertaken an extensive programme of work on RN and RFA vessels in Portsmouth, during which period not every project has been delivered to time and cost. The reasons for this are complex, vary considerably across the projects concerned and are not necessarily the sole responsibility of the company in each instance. However, the company's performance overall in the last 12 months has been well within the performance indicators which the Warship Support Agency (WSA), as the provider of maritime logistics support, is tasked to achieve.

Iraq

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what injuries were sustained by members of the RAF in the threats and attacks on coalition planes in Iraq in 2001; and if he will make a statement. [44741]

Mr. Ingram: RAF aircraft patrolling as part of the international coalition's enforcement of the no-fly zones over Iraq are regularly attacked by Iraqi air defences, including anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles. Owing to the skill of RAF aircrew, their training, equipment, tactics and support, none were hit in 2001, and no aircrew were injured. This record has been maintained this year to date.

Accommodation

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average wait is by service personnel for accommodation in the private sector when DHE housing is unavailable has been in the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [44970]

Dr. Moonie: When service family accommodation is not available, the Defence Housing Executive authorises substitute service family accommodation. A Ministry of Defence accommodation agency contractor is then tasked to provide appropriate accommodation from the commercial rental market to meet the service applicant's required date.

From 1 January 2001 to 28 February 2002, there were 434 applications for SSFA. Of these, some 42 per cent. of applicants were housed, on average, eight days before their required date. The remaining 58 per cent. were housed, on average, 20 days after their required date.

MOD Housing

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the system is of upkeep for empty MOD housing; and if he will make a statement. [44968]

25 Mar 2002 : Column 555W

Dr. Moonie: Empty Ministry of Defence housing is maintained under the same contractual arrangements which MOD, through the Defence Housing Executive (DHE), employs to maintain all its housing stock in mainland United Kingdom. A contracted Works Services Manager provides a response repair service and, working with the DHE Property Manager, undertakes a programme of regular planned maintenance which is fulfilled according to available funds. A temporarily empty property required for service family occupation in the longer term would normally have priority over a property intended for disposal.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the fraud detection system for MoD housing; and if he will make a statement. [45439]

Dr. Moonie: The effectiveness of fraud detection, in the context of Ministry of Defence housing and related works, is kept under constant review. Line management is responsible for ensuring that appropriate procedures are followed and controls operated effectively. In addition, there is a rolling programme of compliance and risk based audits carried out independently of line management. Consultants are also employed to carry out additional audits of property management and to undertake initial investigations of suspected fraud or impropriety. Furthermore, the central Defence Finance Audit Unit is notified of all suspected cases of fraud and they may then call in the MOD Police.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much money was spent on (a) single living accommodation and (b) married quarters in each year between 1992 and 1997; and if he will make a statement; [45441]

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


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