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Throckmorton Airfield

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on changes in the ownership of land at and adjacent to Throckmorton airfield since 1992 with reference to the Crichel Down rules. [57337]

Mr. Ingram: Since 1992 the Ministry of Defence has not recorded any sales of land at Throckmorton airfield although some leases have been completed in areas of land and buildings. Most of the Throckmorton site, formerly known as DERA Pershore, is now owned by QinetiQ. The remainder of the site, used last year to deal with some of the consequences of the foot and mouth outbreak, is in the final stages of being transferred to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

All of the property sold to QinetiQ was exempted from the provisions of the Crichel Down rules under provision 14.6 concerning the transfer of Government functions to the private sector.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what military assistance has been provided to Nepal in the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [57179]

Mr. Ingram: Nepal is a long-standing friend of the United Kingdom and our armies have always had close links. Over the past five years, the UK has provided low-level military assistance to Nepal through the provision of places on training courses in the UK, limited training in country with UK experts and the supply of non-lethal equipment. The Royal Nepalese Army personnel have routinely sent students to our Joint Staff College at Shrivenham, on commissioning courses at Sandhurst and to the Royal College of Defence Studies.

All our military courses are undertaken within the framework of the democratic and accountable use of military force in order to improve the general professionalism of the RNA. They include modules on legal use of force, proportionality and respect for human rights.

The UK is also funding infrastructure work being undertaken at the regional peacekeeping centre at Panchkal.


Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will make an announcement about the A400M project. [57240]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 May 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence gave on 8 May 2002, Official Report, column 176W.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what impact the delay to the A400M project will have on his consideration of the future of RAF Lyneham. [57239]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 May 2002]: The delay to the A400M project is not expected to have any effect on the conclusions that will be reached by the strategic review on the future roles of RAF Lyneham, RAF Brize Norton and RAF St. Mawgan.

21 May 2002 : Column 174W

Defence Co-operation

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what funding will be made available for the facilitation of multinational brigades and possible multinational battalions for international operations as agreed in the meeting between the Defence Ministers of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway and the UK in Alesund, Norway; what are the terms of the agreement; and if he will make a statement. [57681]

Mr. Hoon: At the Nordic Defence Ministers' meeting in Alesund, I signed a Letter of Intent that provides the basis for the United Kingdom's co-operation with NORDCAPS (the Nordic Co-ordinated Arrangement for Peace Support). This builds on the co-operative arrangements that we already enjoy with our Nordic partners in the Balkans. Our involvement is on a case-by-case basis. It does not commit the UK to participate in operations, exercises or training, and no additional funding has been made available.

NORDCAPS, and the UK's co-operation with it, is an excellent example of how multinational defence co-operation can enhance overall military capability. It is a pool of Nordic forces (in this case from Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden) available for peace support operations by summer 2003.

Infantry Training

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the infantry wastage rate for Army recruits embarking on phase 1 of their infantry training was in each of the last five years; and what measures are in place to combat wastage. [57637]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 May 2002]: The figures requested are as follows:

Per cent.

YearWastage rate for infantry phase 1 training

Measures in place to combat wastage include:

Training teams at the Recruit Selection Centres to run military activities to motivate and enthuse the candidates. Candidates also receive briefing on what they can expect in training and the opportunity to meet recruits in phase 1 training. This applies to all employment groups.

Phase 1 instructors undergo a two-week induction course designed to give them the skills to deal with new recruits and to help them provide nurturing to recruits during training to minimise wastage.

Infantry phase 1 and 2 training has now been combined into one course at Catterick. Trials conducted last year showed that a considerable reduction in overall wastage could be achieved by allowing training to be more progressive over the combined course, particularly on the physical demands of infantry training. Rehabilitation facilities across the phase 1 training establishments and at

21 May 2002 : Column 175W

Catterick have been improved to assist those recruits injured during training to recover more quickly and rejoin training.

The adoption of the combined phase 1 and 2 infantry course has enabled mid-course leave and adventure training to be introduced into the syllabus at Catterick; a retention positive measure.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many Army recruits will wait for more than one month until they can be admitted to those waiting to be admitted to phase 1 of infantry training; [57638]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 May 2002]: As at 16 May 2002, there were 2,668 potential recruits in the system who have passed selection (i.e. received a job offer) but have not yet enlisted (i.e. finally accepted the offer). This figure includes those who are awaiting allocation to a training vacancy; those who are already allocated but not yet enlisted because their allocated course is more than 21 days away; those who have chosen to delay entry for personal reasons, such as work or educational commitments; junior entrants whose courses do not commence until July and September this year; and finally a proportion who remain undecided on whether or not to accept the job offer. Of the 2,668, 474 are earmarked for the infantry already; 113 are awaiting a course allocation, 361 are allocated to a course commencing after 16 June 2002.

This figure changes on an almost daily basis as new recruits commence training and others pass selection. The Army Training and Recruiting Agency's Allocation Committee meets weekly in order to plan the loading of recruits onto courses; the aim is always to minimise the waiting time.

Golden Jubilee

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which Royal Navy ships and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships will be involved in events connected with Her Majesty the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations; and if he will make a statement. [57802]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 May 2002]: The key tri-service event is in Portsmouth on 27 June. The following ships will be present during Her Majesty's visit:

Name of Ship
Aircraft carrierHMS Ark Royal
DestroyerHMS Cardiff
FrigateHMS Cornwall
FrigateHMS Kent
FrigateHMS Lancaster
Offshore patrol vesselHMS Alderney
Mine counter measure vesselHMS Bangor
Mine counter measure vesselHMS Cattistock
Mine counter measure vesselHMS Hurworth
Mine counter measure vesselHMS Penzance
University RN unit patrol craftHMS Blazer
University RN unit patrol craftHMS Dasher
University RN unit patrol craftHMS Raider
University RN unit patrol craftHMS Tracker
Royal fleet auxiliariesRFA Fort Victoria
Royal fleet auxiliariesRFA Sir Bedivere

Royal Navy vessels will participate in other single Golden Jubilee events elsewhere in the United Kingdom as their constantly changing operational tasking permits.

21 May 2002 : Column 176W


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cadets there are in the (a) Army Cadet Force, (b) Air Cadets, (c) Sea Cadets and (d) Combined Cadet Force. [57806]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 May 2002]: As at 1 April 2001, the most recent date for which figures are available, the numbers of cadets was as follows:

Army Cadet Force40,573
Air Training Corps33,177
Sea Cadet Corps10,662
Combined Cadet Force40,783

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what targets are in place for numbers of cadets. [57808]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 20 May 2002]: There are no targets set by any of the four cadet forces for numbers of cadets. We are constantly encouraging young people to consider the development opportunities offered by the cadets and hope to see as many as possible join in order to benefit from these.

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