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Type 45 Procurement

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the RAND report on type 45 procurement options has been published; and if he will make a statement. [66802]

Mr. Ingram: The RAND report on acquisition options for the type 45 destroyer has now been published. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

RAND is a very experienced and influential organisation and has been conducting analyses of military shipbuilding, the industrial base, and competition issues for two decades. The Ministry of Defence commissioned RAND last year to carry out an independent study into a range of alternative procurement strategies for our future warship programme over the next 15–20 years, with particular reference to options for type 45 destroyers. This followed receipt of an unsolicited bid from BAES Marine proposing that they should build all 12 ships planned for the class. This differed from the type 45 shipbuilding procurement strategy at that time which envisaged Vosper Thornycroft building one of the first batch of three ships and competing with BAES Marine for later batches.

Initial results from the study were used to help inform the MOD's decision to proceed with a revised procurement strategy for the type 45, in which each of the two shipbuilders, BAES Marine and Vosper Thornycroft, will be allocated modules (or blocks) of the ship to build. The revised strategy was announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 10 July 2001, Official Report, columns 675–85.

RAND's analysis indicated that there would be roughly an even chance that competitive production of the type 45 by two shipbuilders would yield about the same overall cost as sole-source production. Noting that a competitive strategy could lead to one shipbuilder building most of the ships, RAND also investigated alternative strategies to direct work to each of the two shipbuilders to keep both involved in building warships.

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The RAND results also suggested that, for strategies that directed type 45 work to a number of shipyards, allocation of blocks is more cost-effective than the allocation of whole ships, because the work force increases productivity as it gains experience of building the same blocks. Such a strategy will also have the advantage of keeping both shipbuilders in the type 45 programme and potentially available to compete for future warship programmes. In addition, the revised strategy is likely to provide better value for money in the longer term than the unsolicited proposal, if it enables competition to be pursued on other warship programmes.

Following the type 45 decision, RAND continued their study, taking a broader look at the foreseeable balance of demand and supply in the warship building sector, and the potential effects of different procurement approaches. The report does not make specific recommendations concerning procurement strategies for future programmes, although it has helped clarify issues regarding block production (which is likely to be employed for the future carrier). It also provides an indication of the size of work force that will be required to sustain the future programme.

RAND's work has already helped the MOD to arrive at a pragmatic solution for the type 45. The report will also provide a valuable source of information for further study of the warship building sector.

Amphibious Assault Capability

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which warships capable of providing an amphibious assault capability will be available in (a) 2002 and (b) 2003; and if he will make a statement. [64819]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 7 March 2002, Official Report, column 474W, to my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, West (Mr. Bailey). The amphibious assault capability is currently provided by the Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) HMS Ocean and four Landing Ships Logistic (LSL). Following a series of highly successful operational deployments, HMS Ocean will shortly enter a docking period to conduct essential maintenance and planned capability enhancement, and will be unavailable for tasking until the autumn. During this period the amphibious assault capability could, if required, be provided by HMS Ark Royal in the LPH role and other platforms as may be required.

In 2003, as well as HMS Ocean and four LSLs, the LPD replacement ship, HMS Albion, will become available to provide our amphibious assault capability. The new ship will be significantly more capable than her predecessor, HMS Fearless, able to deploy embarked forces much more quickly—by air and by sea—and will use new landing craft with 20 per cent. more landing capability and a Ro-Ro type configuration for rapid embarkation of vehicles.

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Secondary School Pupils

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on her plans to widen the options for study available to secondary school pupils. [65171]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 1 July 2002]: The Green Paper "14–19: extending opportunities, raising standards", proposed increasing curriculum choice for young people from the age of 14. We aim to make sure that there is sufficient flexibility to allow students to pursue their talents and aspirations while maintaining a strong focus on the basics.

The consultation on the Green Paper only closed on 31 May. We are reflecting carefully on the views expressed during the consultation before reaching any decisions. We have indicated in the Green Paper that curriculum changes would be subject to further consultation before their introduction.

In September 2002 we will be introducing eight new vocational GCSEs in some schools. Also, the "Increased Flexibility for 14 to 16-year-olds" programme will enable over 30,000 pupils to undertake part-time vocational courses at further education colleges from September 2002.


Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if she will list the activities pursued by her Department that have had a particular impact on Hampshire since 7 June 2001; [63617]

Mr. Stephen Twigg [holding answer 21 June 2002]: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries.

School Ethnicity (Portsmouth, South)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the ethnic ratio is for schools in the Portsmouth, South constituency; and if she will make a statement. [64479]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The information requested is shown in the table.

Percentage of pupils by ethnic group(1) in maintained primary and secondary schools in the Portsmouth, South constituency as at January 2001

Black Caribbean0.20.1
Black African0.30.1
Black Other0.40.2
All pupils: per cent.100.0100.0
Number of pupils5,7355,380

(1) Only pupils of compulsory school age and above were classified according to ethnic group.


Annual Schools Census

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Data for 2002 are not yet available by parliamentary constituency.

Annual Leave

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average annual leave entitlement is for staff in her Department in 2002. [64659]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The annual leave entitlement of staff outside of the senior civil service is 25 days on entry, rising to 30 days after 10 years service. Entitlement for members of the senior civil service is currently set by the Cabinet Office at 30 days.

Records of annual leave entitlement are not kept centrally and therefore information about average entitlement could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Special School Budgets

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what calculations she has made about the impact on special school budgets of the introduction of the (a) upper pay spine and (b) management pay spine. [65535]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 1 July 2002]: The threshold constitutes point 1 of the upper pay scale and all threshold payments made to teachers by maintained schools are fully reimbursed by the Department. The rate of subsequent progression along the upper pay scale is for schools to determine in the light of teacher performance and in accordance with the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document. The Department is contributing a grant of £90 million to schools in 2002–03, largely to support such progression.

Progress along the leadership group pay scale in maintained schools is also by performance points awarded at the discretion of the governing body. Here, the Department is contributing a further grant worth 60 per cent. of the cost in 2002–03 and schools are contributing 40 per cent.

The grants will support special schools in the same way that they do other maintained schools. The impact on their budgets will depend on the decisions taken by individual schools.

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