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Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (1) estimate he has made of the total savings to public funds of the Private Finance Initiative contract for the Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service for the Ministry of Defence, by comparison with a non-Private Finance Initiative alternative; [49566]

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

Soldiers (Trade Unions)

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the impact of European Union law on the right of soldiers to join a trades union; and if he will make a statement. [49730]

Mr. Ingram: Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides for a right to peaceful assembly and association, including the right to form a trade union. The Article does allow for the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of those rights by

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members of the armed forces. No restrictions are placed upon Service personnel attending meetings of civilian trade unions, professional associations, or courses of instruction run by the same that are intended to enhance trade skills and professional knowledge. However, as the armed forces must be seen to maintain a position of political neutrality, personnel may not participate in any form of political activity organised by a civilian trade union or organisation to which they belong.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 18 March 2002, Official Report, column 73W, for what reasons the refits of (a) HMS Manchester and (b) HMS Liverpool are taking longer than the average periods given; and what enhancements are being provided to each of the five ships presently in refit. [49748]

Mr. Ingram: The average refit period given in my reply to the hon. Member was indicative for the frigate and destroyer Class. The refit periods for ships within a Class will vary depending on individual requirements. HMS Manchester exceeded the average period principally due to work required on her gearbox. In HMS Liverpool's case, an extensive electronics package required an extended trials period.

The five frigates and destroyers currently in refit will receive a number of enhancements at various levels, details of the major ones are given as follows:

HMS Manchester (Type 42 Destroyer)

Water displaced fuel tanks; an electronic package; environmental garbage disposal machines; removal of red lead paint.

HMS Liverpool (Type 42 Destroyer)

Water displaced fuel tanks; an extensive electronic package; environmental garbage disposal machines; removal of red lead paint.

HMS Gloucester (Type 42 Destroyer)

Water displaced fuel tanks; environmental garbage disposal machines; biological sewage treatment plants; Total command support system.

HMS Iron Duke (Type 23 Frigate)

Aviation facilities to allow operation of Merlin helicopter, command support and communications systems upgrade; installation of equipment to purify water discharged from ship to meet marine pollution regulations.

HMS Monmouth (Type 23 Frigate)

Enhancements as per HMS Iron Duke.

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Destroyed Argentine Aircraft

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Argentine aircraft were destroyed by British forces in 1982 by (a) Sea Dart, (b) Sea Wolf, (c) Sea Cat, (d) Sea Slug, (e) Bofors, (f) Oerlikon, (h) small arms fire, (i) Blowpipe, (j) Rapier, (k) Harrier, (l) bombing and ground operations, (m) naval gunfire and (n) Stinger. [49757]

Mr. Ingram: The causes of loss in the categories requested are shown in the following table.

Falklands 1982—Argentine aircraft losses

Sea Dart7
Sea Wolf3
Sea Cat0
Sea Slug0
Small Arms Fire2
Bombing and Ground Operations14
Naval Gunfire4

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