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Comprehensive Spending Review

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff have contributed to his Department's input to the Spending Review. [68696]

Dr. Moonie: The Spending Review involves a comprehensive assessment of the Department's performance, priorities and resource requirements and a range of staff make a contribution.

British Troops (Accidents and Reparations)

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are taken to minimise the possibility of an accidental attack on civilians by British troops on active service; and what his policy is on reparations to families of civilians accidentally killed by troops of the United Kingdom. [67803]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 19 July 2002]: All members of HM forces are carefully briefed on their rules of engagement (ROE) for an operation and on when they may be justified in using force. I am withholding details of the ROE in accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. Additionally, HM forces take all possible measures in the preparation and conduct of operations to minimise possible loss of civilian life and damage to property.

When compensation claims are submitted, they are considered on the basis of whether or not the Ministry of Defence has a legal liability to pay compensation. Where there is a legal liability to pay compensation we do so.

Service Accommodation

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, (1) pursuant to his answer of 4 July 2002, Official Report, column 525W, on married quarters, if he will make a statement on the safety attribute used by the Defence Housing Executives and if he will list the married quarters that are unsatisfactory using this criterion, indicating for what reasons; [68802]

Dr. Moonie: The safety-related criteria used by the Defence Housing Executive (DHE) to measure performance are:

Of the 5,921 service family quarters in Wiltshire, 398 do not fully meet the criteria above for Standard 1 for Condition (S1FC). 253 of these properties have one

22 Jul 2002 : Column 751W

smoke detector fitted, whereas the criterion requires two. (This figure includes 83 properties which are to be handed back to Annington Homes). The remaining 143 properties do not reach S1FC because they do not fully meet a combination of the other criteria above. The addresses of these properties could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The location and numbers of Wiltshire married quarters which do not meet the smoke detector criterion are as follows:

LocationNumber of properties
Boscombe Down11
Winterbourne Gunner4

(12) Planned for handback

The following Wiltshire properties are at Standard 4 for Condition for the above criteria.

LocationNumber of properties
Boscombe Down1
Winterbourne Gunner1

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total amount spent on renting private accommodation for armed services personnel was (a) in 1999, (b) in 2000, (c) in 2001 and (d) since January 2002; and if he will make a statement. [69546]

Dr. Moonie: The tables show the expenditure on substitute service accommodation in Great Britain, rented by the Ministry of Defence from the private sector, when accommodation according to entitlement and within the travel to work zone could not otherwise be provided for service personnel and their families. The figures are available by financial rather than calendar year.

£ million

Financial yearRentFeesOther(13)Total
Substitute service single accommodation (SSSA)
April-June 20025.8600.3210.0796.260
Substitute service family accommodation (SSFA)
April-June 20022.1580.0320.0142.204

(13) TV Licences, dilapidations, administration/check-in fees, inventory fees, etc.

22 Jul 2002 : Column 752W

The table excludes utilities, i.e. council tax, water, gas, electricity and telephone line rental, for which information is available by calendar year as follows:

£ million

UtilitiesCouncil tax/water
2002 to July 20023.2920.898

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 16 July 2002, Official Report, columns 159–60W, on service accommodation, what plans he has to improve the standard of service families' accommodation in Warminster. [71554]

Dr. Moonie: The Defence Housing Executive is planning a number of minor works schemes to improve the general surroundings of the service families' accommodation in the Warminster area. These include:

In addition, the possible upgrading of some 400 family quarters is in the early planning stages.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much (a) single living accommodation and (b) service family accommodation was released to Annington Homes Ltd. in each month of 2001; what grade these were at the time of release; what percentage of the total number of upgraded homes this represents; and if he will make a statement. [70009]

Dr. Moonie: The agreement with Annington Homes Ltd. (AHL) covers service family accommodation only. Under the 1996 sale and leaseback agreement the following vacant service family quarters were handed back to AHL during 2001:

Month Number

375 of these properties were at Standard 1 for condition at the time of release. This represented 2 per cent. of the total number of service family properties in GB at Standard 1. Whenever possible, the houses released for disposal are those at lower standards, but the sale agreement requires that properties are released in groups rather than individually. This can result in some higher standard properties being released because of their location. Defence Housing Executive area managers maintain close liaison with local service commanders on the selection of surplus properties for disposal.

22 Jul 2002 : Column 753W

Bowman Radio System

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost has been of developing the Bowman tactical radio system; and if he will make a statement. [70057]

Dr. Moonie: The cost of developing the Bowman tactical communication system up to the award of a Supply and Support contract to GD UK Ltd., last September, was £405 million. The Supply and Support contract is worth £1.9 billion. To date, £156 million of this contract has been spent on development.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what charges are made for (a) food and (b) accommodation for British armed forces personnel serving in Afghanistan. [69523]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 15 July 2002]: We do not normally charge personnel on operations for food and accommodation.

Defence Medical Services

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps have been taken to (a) ensure that the Defence Medical Services are able to deal with the problems of service men while still in the armed forces and (b) make the DMS more approachable. [70130]

Dr. Moonie: The Defence Medical Services (DMS) provide primary care and range of secondary care services to members of the armed forces in the United Kingdom and overseas. Where specialist services are not provided by the DMS, service personnel are normally referred to the NHS. Service personnel should feel able to contact DMS staff when necessary.

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