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25 Feb 2003 : Column 439Wcontinued
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether the proposed pooling of Royal Navy and French aircraft carriers for future European Union military operations will ensure that at least one will always be immediately available to the EU (a) in addition and (b) as an alternative to being available for UK and NATO tasks; 
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Mr. Hoon: At the Le Touquet summit, the United Kingdom and France announced that we would "develop the interoperability of [our] aircraft carrier groups, pursuing all areas of co-operation, in particular harmonising activity cycles and training". The aim will be to maximise carrier availability over the activity cycle. Aircraft carriers available on this basis might participate in national, coalition, NATO or EU-led operations, but will remain national assets. Decisions on the deployment of national assets for operations will continue to be for the nation concerned.
The Government make decisions on the deployment (and redeployment) of UK forces on operations on a case-by-case basis. These judgments are based on factors such as operational need, what forces we and others have to offer and any international treaty obligations that may be relevant, with NATO remaining as the foundation of our collective defence.
Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many telephone helplines are sponsored by his Department; and which of these helplines are charged at (a) national rate, (b) premium rate and (c) local rate. 
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence sponsors many telephone helplines, covering a wide variety of subjects. The primary helplines for all general inquiries are the MOD Public Enquiry Office on 0870 607 4455 and the Welsh Language Public Enquiry Office on 01554 821 413. Both of these numbers are charged at the national rate.
|Low Flying Helpdesk||020 7218 6020||National rate|
|Gulf Veterans Advice Unit||0800 169 4495||Freephone|
|020 7395 2375||National rate|
|Medical Assessment Programme Helpline||0800 169 5401||Freephone|
|Porton Down Volunteers Helpline||0800 783 2521||Freephone|
|Veterans Agency Helpline||0800 169 2277||Freephone|
|Defence Vetting Agency Helpline||01904 662 644||National rate|
|Defence Suppliers Service Helpline||0117 913 2844||National rate|
|0800 282 324||Freephone|
|Royal Navy recruiting helpline||0845 607 5555||Local rate|
|Army recruiting helpline||08457 300 111||Local rate|
|RAF recruiting helpline||0845 605 5555||Local rate|
|TA recruiting helpline||0845 603 8000||Local rate|
|Meteorological Office helpline||0845 300 0300||Local rate|
|Defence EstatesDisposal of MOD Land||0121 311 2015||National rate|
|SaBRE (Support Britain's Reservists And Employers)||0800 389 5459||Freephone|
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The above list is not exhaustive and does not include those helplines created specifically for serving military and civilian personnel and their dependants. Nor does it include those helplines that may from time to time be administered by individual units or establishments to provide advice on local or short term issues. Information on this is not held centrally and could be provided only with disproportionate cost.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 3 February 2003, Official Report, column 68W, on the Type 23 frigate, if he will list the systems being considered to enable attacks by small enemy craft to be dealt with. 
Mr. Ingram: Lynx helicopters and close-range guns currently provide anti-ship and close in defence for Type 23 frigates. The project to provide surface vessels, including Type 23 frigates, with an improved capability to deal with the threat presented by small enemy craft is in its very early stages. The concepts currently being assessed include small and medium-calibre guns, rockets and non-lethal means. This assessment phase is expected to complete towards the end of this year.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he proposes to announce the shortlist of selected bidders for the Watchkeeper Programme; what sums were given to the bidders; and whether he is considering splitting the bid. 
Mr. Ingram: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence announced on 7 February 2003 that the bidders selected for the remainder of the Watchkeeper assessment phase were: Northrop Grumman ISS International and Thales (UK). To date, around £25 million has been spent on the Watchkeeper programme, and the contracts for the remainder of the assessment phase will be worth approximately £9 million to each bidder. We expect to select a single successful contractor for the demonstration and manufacture phase by mid-2004.
Brian Cotter: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what civil contingency plans are in place for the south-west region in the event of a terrorist attack; and if he will make a statement. 
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emergencies, including terrorist threats, and are based on established multi-agency local emergency arrangements. They are regularly tested, reviewed and updated as circumstances change.
In addition, each administration region in England now has its own regional resilience team made up of emergency planning specialists. Through regional resilience forums, these teams will help co-ordinate emergency planning within and across regional boundaries.
Mr. Alexander: The remit of the Shareholder Executive will be to work with Government Departments to improve their performance as a shareholder in a range of Government shareholdings in public and private sector companies as well as Government's more commercial trading funds. The Shareholder Executive will meet this remit in a number of ways. It will: scrutinise departmental shareholder resource requirements and assist in improving department's capabilities; help departments define their relationship with each company; set best practice standards and procedures for departments in their role as shareholder; and help departments distinguish and articulate long-term commercial and policy objectives for each shareholding. The Shareholder Executive will also become Government's centre of corporate finance and governance expertise, advising departments on shareholder-related management, corporate governance and finance issues as well as wider corporate finance and other industrial issues that arise from time to time.
The Cabinet Office is putting in place arrangements to enable the Shareholder Executive to become operational as soon as possible. An open competition is under way for the recruitment of a Chief Executive, who will be accountable directly to Lord Macdonald and the Cabinet Secretary for the performance of the Shareholder Executive. In due course, between 10 and 15 people drawn from Government Departments and the private sector will be recruited to support the Chief Executive in delivering the Shareholder Executive's remit. The costs of running the Shareholder Executive are likely to be modest relative to the potential benefits arising from improved shareholder performance.
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she has had with the European Commission regarding the use of EU funds on advertising food products. 
Mr. Morley: My officials regularly take part in discussions with the European Commission in meetings of the Management Committee for the Council Regulations concerning the Promotion of Agricultural Products in both Third Countries and the Internal Market. Advertising forms part of the promotional activity permitted under these regulations.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what market research has been undertaken by (a) her Department and (b) Food from Britain since 1995 regarding the use of Foods from Britain by agricultural export companies; and if she will place a copy of those findings in the Library. 
Mr. Morley: The Department has not undertaken any market research since 1995 into the use of Food From Britain by agricultural export companies. In 2000 research into the usage and attitude of their clients and other exporters was undertaken on behalf of Food From Britain. This was updated in 2002. A copy of the executive summary of the survey will be placed in the Library.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many companies used the services, by type, of Food from Britain in each of the last 10 years; and how many of those companies were (a) small and medium-sized businesses and (b) less than five years old when they first contacted Food from Britain. 
Mr. Morley: During the last 10 years the approximate total number of companies using Food From Britain is as shown below. Of these at least 50 per cent. were small and medium-sized businesses. Food From Britain does not hold information on the age of companies with which it deals.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for St Ives (Andrew George) of 16 January 2003, Official Report, column 728W, on agricultural exports, how much Food from Britain charges companies by size for use of their services. 
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Mr. Morley: Food From Britain does not charge for services by size of the company. Fees are calculated according to a number of factors including complexity of the service offered and staff time. Membership of the Fast Track scheme, which gives access to a range of additional export services, is based on the export turnover of a company as follows:
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer of 16 January 2003, Official Report, column 728W, on agricultural exports, how many companies used services provided by her Department's (a) agricultural exports promotion service and (b) Food from Britain in each of the last 10 years, broken down by (i) size by annual turnover and (ii) whether they were charged for those services in each of the last 10 years. 
(a) The total number of companies using services provided by the agricultural exports promotion service (e.g. participation in fairs and missions) over the last 10 years was as shown in the following table. The vast majority were small and medium sized enterprises. The companies were not charged for any of the services provided.
|Year||Number of companies|
(b) The total number of companies using services provided by Food From Britain over the last 10 years was as shown in the following table. The information is not available broken down by the size of annual turnover of the companies, although more than 50 per cent. were small and medium sized enterprises. Companies will have been charged for most of the services provided.
|Year||Number of companies|
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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 16 January 2003, Official Report, column 728W, on agricultural exports, how much (a) revenue and (b) profit was raised through companies supported by Food from Britain in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 24 February 2003]: The income (other than grant in aid) which Food From Britain generates from the activities it undertakes is shown in the Annual Report and Accounts. The Accounts are laid before Parliament each year and copies are placed in the Library. The income in each of the last 10 years is as shown in the following table. Food From Britain is a non-profit making organisation.
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