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19 Sept 2002 : Column 308W—continued

Munitions (Dean Hill)

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated monthly maintenance costs to Defence Estates are from October 2003 in respect of Dean Hill Munitions Depot. [68915]

Mr. Ingram: The Depot is expected to be passed to Defence Estates for disposal in April 2004. An assessment of the monthly maintenance costs to cover responsibilities under the Occupiers of Premises Act will be made nearer to this time.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether homes at DM Dean Hill will be offered to tenants at the 2000 price; and if surplus housing will be offered for sale at this price. [72641]

Mr. Ingram: No decision has yet been made as to the value of the tenanted properties or the price at which they would be offered under the Ministry of Defence Discounted Sales to Sitting Tenants Scheme. Any surplus housing would be sold on the open market by competition.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the relative advantages of (a) natural temperature and humidity controlled storage of munitions and (b) above ground storage units in the case of terrorist or other hostile attack. [72638]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence carries out a continuous assessment of the likelihood and nature of threats to the security of its establishments and other assets. Existing security measures are regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that they match the results of these assessments.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are for the existing sports and social club if the closure of DM Dean Hill proceeds. [72640]

Mr. Ingram: No decision has yet been made about future plans for the sports and social club.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what weight was given to the opinions of the customer base when deciding the future of DM Dean Hill; and which customers made representations. [72642]

Mr. Ingram: In the course of conduct of the Defence Munitions Rationalisation Study (DMrs. 2) the study team consulted with all major stakeholders in the munitions business, those both internal and external to the Ministry of Defence. This included all of the MOD DLO/DPA

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Munitions Integrated Project Teams (i.e. the authorities with ownership responsibility for MOD munitions), RAF Strike Command and those non MOD external customers of Defence Munitions with whom Defence Munitions has partnering/contractual arrangements (BAe Systems and MBDA (Matra BAe Dynamics Alena)). No representations on the closure of the depot were made by the bodies consulted.

Air Sea Rescue

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on air sea rescue in the UK in (a) 1999–2000, (b) 2001–01, and (c) 2001–02. [69697]

Mr. Ingram: Air and sea rescue is undertaken by a large number of organisations in the UK and is conducted from a wide variety of locations utilising many different assets. The information requested is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

FYR Macedonia

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British service personnel are serving in FYR Macedonia. [70691]

Mr. Ingram: There are 35 United Kingdom service personnel presently deployed to Macedonia.

Three UK service personnel are seconded to the Macedonian Ministry of Defence; two as Defence Advisors and one as a Training Advisor. Three UK service personnel are deployed to Macedonia as part of the British Military Advisory and Training Team supplying low-level counter-insurgency training. The remaining 29 are deployed to Macedonia to provide support to NATO and UK forces in the Balkans.

Sustainable Development

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the interdepartmental discussions on Criterion 8 of the Consolidated Criteria relating to sustainable development. [71539]

Ms Hewitt: I have been asked to reply.

The Government's policy on Criterion Eight of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria remains as stated in the criteria announced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Neath on 26 October 2000, Official Report, column 199W. However, as stated by my noble Friend, Lord Sainsbury of Turville on 4 March 2002, Official Report, column 73,

The Government have agreed a two-stage process for assessing the impact of relevant proposed exports on sustainable development as defined in Criterion 8. First a non-exhaustive list of countries identifies those where sustainable development is most likely to be an issue. Second, in cases involving exports to those countries, the Government will look in more detail at the possible impact of relevant proposed exports on the economy or

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the sustainable development of the recipient country. All Departments involved in the export licensing process have agreed guidance for officials to assist with this process. This guidance is not on the interpretation of policy, which remains as set out in the Criteria, but in the procedures developed to assist in compiling the data necessary for the Government to make decisions.

The list of countries will reflect those destinations where the prevailing macro-economic and development conditions mean that an export is most likely to trigger concern about economic impact or sustainable development as defined in Criterion 8. Those countries eligible for concessional loans from the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) have been chosen for these purposes as representing the world's poorest. Because the economic and development situation in these countries differs, this part of the process will identify, on a country by country basis, which ELAs the Department of Trade and Industry will pass to the Department for International Development, as well as to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Ministry of Defence, for more detailed assessment and advice. The Government will keep the list of countries under constant review to take account of changing circumstances. The list will be published on the DTI website. Additionally, at the request of any Government Department involved in the licensing process, any ELA may be examined for its impact on the economy or sustainable development of the recipient country as defined in Criterion 8 should that Government Department consider this appropriate in the light of the individual circumstances of that application.

To assist in carrying out the assessment required under Criterion 8 where an ELA has been identified as requiring this further detailed assessment, the Government have devised a series of indicators. In the interests of transparency, consistency and predictability, I will outline the nature of these indicators.

The indicators take account of both the conditions prevailing in the importing country and the potential impact of the export. They are designed to help assess whether the proposed export would seriously undermine the economy of the recipient country and whether it would seriously hamper its sustainable development as defined in Criterion 8. The indicators are: relative levels of military and social expenditure and level of military spending as a percentage of GNP; aid dependency compared with the regional average; state of public finances; balance of payments; external debt sustainability; economic and social development, i.e. GNP/capita and Human Development Index; the status of any IMF or World Bank-sponsored economic reform programme. The assessment will take into account the impact of the proposed export on the above indicators.

Criterion 8 refers to

The Department for International Development will raise any concerns about "least diversion" by reference to the other agreed indicators.

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The cumulative impact of all arms imports to the destination country, not just exports from the UK, would be captured by the Criteria as a whole and by the above indicators.

Sources of information will include the IMF Government Financial Statistics Yearbook, IMF Country Reports and Surveys, IMF/World Bank Annual Progress Reports on the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility and, where appropriate, completion point documents from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. Information in the IMF's periodic publication, Recent Economic Developments and the World Bank's World Development Indicators as well as OECD statistics, data and country summaries may also be drawn on.

Export licensing decisions rest with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, taking account of both advice from other Departments, and whether to issue or refuse a licence would be consistent with the Consolidated Criteria as a whole. The Department for International Development as the lead Department for advice on sustainable development issues, will invariably provide advice, although other Departments may also provide advice.

The F680 process, through which the Government provide advice to industry on proposals for marketing or promoting products overseas, does not constitute an export licence. Neither is the existence or otherwise of an F680 approval a factor which is taken into account in the licensing decision. However, the Government have also decided to make procedural changes to the F680 process. Rather than as previously, commenting through FCO, the Department for International Development will be invited formally to comment directly on F680 applications.

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