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19 Sept 2002 : Column 311W—continued

Arms Transfers

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to establish a register of UK and EU arms brokers; and if he will oblige UK arms brokering and shipping agents to obtain licences for arms transfers even when the arms do not touch UK or EU territory. [73297]

Nigel Griffiths: I have been asked to reply.

The Export Control Act 2002 will give the Government new powers allowing for controls to be imposed on arms trafficking and brokering.

The Government have proposed to set these powers to establish controls on the supply and delivery, and on acts calculated to promote the supply or delivery, of controlled goods from any overseas country to any arms-embargoed destination, and of long-range missiles and equipment whose export the Government had already banned because of evidence of its use in torture from any overseas country to any other country. These controls will apply where any part of the activities takes place in the United Kingdom and to activities by United Kingdom persons anywhere.

The Government have also proposed to use the new powers in the Export Control Act to establish controls on various activities connected to trade in military equipment whose export is already subject to control. The activities that will be subject to control include acquisition or disposal of goods. They also include arranging a contract

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for the acquisition or disposal of goods, or doing any act calculated to promote the arranging of such a contract in return for a fee. The controls will apply where any part of the activities takes place in the United Kingdom. The controls will not apply to a person whose sole involvement in the movement of goods is to provide transportation, finance, insurance or general advertising or promotional services.

The Government propose to establish a register of information on all those applying for licences under the Export Control Act, regardless of nationality, both for exports and for the activities described above, thus creating a database available to be used for licensing and enforcement purposes.

Spare Military Equipment

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to sell reserve spare military equipment; and what measures are in place to monitor the availability of equipment for UK forces. [72542]

Dr. Moonie: When the Ministry of Defence updates its equipment, surplus and obsolete items are sold on a Government-to-Government basis, by competitive tender, public auction or through an incentivised marketing partnership with industry in order to achieve the best return for the taxpayer. When declared as surplus, the disposal by sale of defence assets rests solely with the Ministry of Defence's Disposal Services Agency (DSA). I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 12 June Official Report, column 1260W to my hon. Friend for Reading, East (Ms Griffiths) that recorded the DSA's Key Targets for financial year 2002–03. I also refer to the DSA's Annual Report and Accounts that was laid before the House on 19 July and a copy will be placed in the Library of the House upon publication.

The Ministry of Defence has a comprehensive set of procedures in place to ensure the availability of equipment to the front line and ensure that timely action is taken in the event that problems are identified. The Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) has Customer Supplier Agreements (CSAs) with front line commands that set out logistic support requirements all of which are monitored regularly in terms of performance. The Disposal Services Agency has a Customer Supplier Agreement with the Defence Logistics Organisation to ensure that clear disposal targets are set and monitored.

Military Exports

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 18 July 2002, Official Report, column 491W, if he will list companies and individuals who in each of the last five years exported military supplies and who were based in (a) mainland UK, (b) the Channel Islands and (c) the Isle of Man. [72786]

Dr. Moonie: Information held by the United Kingdom Government on companies and individuals involved in the export of military supplies is commercial in confidence and is withheld under Sections 13 and 14 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. Jersey,

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Guernsey and the Isle of Man operate their own systems of export control closely modelled on that of the UK. Any export licence applications forwarded to the UK Government for advice by their authorities are also commercial in confidence and are also withheld under Sections 13 and 14 of the Code of Practice.

Fairford Tattoo

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what air traffic control restrictions on movements into and out of RAF Brize Norton are necessitated by the air tattoo at RAF Fairford; for what reason the C-17s are training out of RAF Lyneham during the Fairford Tattoo; what consideration his study of RAF Brize Norton, RAF Lyneham and RAF St Mowgan is giving to air traffic control issues; and if he will make a statement. [72863]

Mr. Ingram: There were no air traffic control restrictions on movements into and out of RAF Brize Norton necessitated by the air tattoo at RAF Fairford. A Temporary Restriction on Airspace was implemented, which increased the size of the Station's standard Control Zone.

On 18 July, the "arrival day" of the RAF Fairford Air Tattoo, the C17 that was to attend the event completed a number of training circuits at RAF Lyneham. This training could have been undertaken at any location where suitable support and infrastructure facilities exist. It is not unusual for aircrew to undertake training away from their station as this increases the variety and thus value of their training.

Appropriate consultation and assessment is being undertaken on the air traffic control aspects of the basing options being considered as part of the Strategic Review. It would not be appropriate to comment on specific details of the Strategic Review until the report is complete.

12 Mechanised Brigade

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals he has to bring the 12 Mechanised Infantry Brigade at Aldershot up to full manpower strength. [72937]

Mr. Ingram: 12 Mechanised Brigade is a grouping of Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery regiments and supporting units, together with many supporting cap badges that are based throughout the country. The major units are stationed at Aldershot, Pirbright and Tidworth.

The Brigade is an integral part of the Formation Readiness Cycle (FRC). As such, it spends one year providing troops for standing operations, one year in intensive training for war fighting, and on year as the Army's High Readiness Mechanised Brigade. During the High Readiness Year, the Brigade is liable for short-notice deployments in response to emerging crisis throughout the world. Under the FRC, elements of 12 Mechanised Brigade are already deployed: the Welsh Guards are in the Balkans, and Brigade Headquarters and 228 Signal Squadron, as well as 1 Battalion the Staffordshire Regiment (Armoured Infantry Battalion) will deploy to Kosovo (Operation AGRICOLA) between November 2002 and May 2003. The Brigade routinely requires augmentation from individuals or formed sub-units to meet the particular requirements of the roles it performs.

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Currently, 12 Mechanised Brigade's strength is 2,773 personnel; 98 per cent of its required liability of 2,824 personnel. There are no specific recruitment drives aimed at manning 12 Mechanised Brigade, however, action is being taken in a wide range of areas with the aim of increasing Army recruiting, both for officers and soldiers, co-ordinated by the Army Training and Recruiting Agency's Recruiting Group. Indeed, from 1 April 2002, 93 Regimental Recruiting Teams (RRTs), encompassing existing RRTs and the former Mobile Display Teams, staffed by Field Army personnel have been in operation.

Army Infantry Units

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on allowing regular Army infantry units some special forces training in order to upgrade skills and make them more versatile. [72934]

Mr. Ingram: Regular infantry units do not require Special Forces training. The infantry has available to it the training appropriate to its role.

Manoeuvre Brigades

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the shortfall in manpower is in each of the six manoeuvre brigades. [72938]

Mr. Ingram: The liability and actual strength of each of the six manoeuvre brigades is detailed in the table below:

Establishment requirementActual strengthAs a percentage
1 UK Armoured Division
4 Armoured Brigade4,5794,23993
7 Armoured Brigade4,9034,58794
20 Armoured Brigade3,9453,70694
3 (UK) Division
1 Mechanised Brigade2,2342,17197
12 Mechanised Brigade2,8242,77398
19 Mechanised Brigade2,2342,07192

Pay as you Dine

Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the MoD will begin pilot projects on the selected sites to trial Pay as you Dine for military sites. [71800]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 24 July 2002]: Pay As You Dine (PAYD) trials are to be progressively launched at 10 military sites within Great Britain over the next eight months. The first two trials will begin at Hyde Park Barracks, London (target start early September 2002) and HMS Seahawk, Helston, Cornwall (target start by the end of September 2002). A start date for the third trial at RAF Henlow, Bedfordshire has not yet been finalised, but is expected to be towards the end of October 2002.

The remaining seven trial sites will be:

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Negotiations with industry about launching trials at these remaining sites will not begin until the first two trials are successfully underway, so it is not possible to be precise about start dates, but the aim is to have all ten trials running by April 2003.

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