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13 May 2003 : Column 153W—continued


Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated total procurement cost for Eurofighter is; what the estimated (a) cost and (b) saving would be of cancellation of the third tranche of orders; and if he will make a statement. [111837]

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Mr. Ingram: The estimated total procurement cost to the United Kingdom for Eurofighter Typhoon is £18.633 billion.

Under the collaborative procurement arrangements for the project, the attribution of costs and savings from any cancellation of the third tranche of orders would need to be discussed and formally agreed between the four nations. No such discussions have taken place.

European Rapid Reaction Force

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role he envisages for (a) the Royal Navy and (b) the Royal Marines in an EU rapid reaction force. [112263]

Mr. Ingram: There is no standing European Rapid Reaction Force. Under the Helsinki Headline Goal, EU member states have identified relevant forces and capabilities that might be contributed to EU-led crisis-management operations.

As regards Naval and Royal Marines forces, the United Kingdom offer includes 18 warships, as well as amphibious infantry. Committing forces to EU-led operations is a matter for national governments to decide in the light of the circumstances of each operation.

Future Carrier Programme

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether BAe and Thales have structured the (a) terms and (b) work share of their partnership in the CVF programme. [112016]

Mr. Ingram: Both BAE Systems and Thales UK have agreed to take the programme forward on the basis of the allocation of roles and responsibilities outlined in the announcement made by the Secretary of State for Defence on 30 January 2003. Specifically, they have agreed to the contract for Demonstration and Manufacture being managed and executed by a single, integrated team staffed from both organisations and the Ministry of Defence. BAE Systems will lead as preferred Prime-contractor with Thales UK as Key Supplier participating in key management posts within the integrated team. The precise terms of the contract remain the subject of on-going negotiations which are due to complete by the end of this year.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make an assessment of the benefits of moving the CVF contract to a Target Cost Incentive Fee. [112017]

Mr. Ingram: No final decision has been taken on the CVF pricing strategy. The most appropriate pricing mechanism for incentivising contractors' performance is generally a choice between firm or fixed prices, or a target cost incentive fee. CVF is a complex programme and the balance of advantage between these options is being carefully weighed in order to secure the optimum arrangement. The way forward will be finalised as part of the main investment decision early in 2004.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects Assessment Phase Stage 3 of the CVF programme to be completed; and whether he plans to extend the time scale of this phase. [112018]

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Mr. Ingram: It is planned that the CVF Assessment Phase Stage 3 contract will ran up to the end of November 2003. It will also contain contract options to enable the continuation of work through to the planned award of the Demonstration and Manufacture contract in the spring of 2004. This is consistent with our plan at the commencement of the CVF Assessment Phase, which called for the award of a build contract in spring 2004.


Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he next intends to visit the British military base on Gibraltar. [110704]

Mr. Ingram: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence visited British Forces Gibraltar in July 2001 and hopes to visit them again later this year. I visited at the end of last year, similarly other defence Ministers will visit regularly.

Gulf War Illnesses

Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his Department's policy towards the former service personnel suffering from Gulf War illnesses, with particular reference to the War Pensions Tribunal adjudication in the case of Lance Corporal Alex Izett, RE. [112248]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 12 May 2003]: The Ministry of Defence takes the ill health veterans of the 1990–91 Gulf conflict extremely seriously. It is addressing their concerns by providing medical help through the Gulf Veterans' Medical Assessment Programme and financial assistance through pensions and fundig scientific research. Gulf veterans who are concerned about their health should contact the MOD's Gulf Veterans' Illnesses Unit on Freephone: 0800 169 4495.

We have asked the independent Medical Research Council to carry out a formal review of research to date and recommend what further work we should sponsor. This is expected to the published later this month.

The Pensions Appeal Tribunal (PAT) decided in December 2002 that Mr Izett was ill as a result of the immunisations he was given. It was only necessary for him under the provisions of the war pensions scheme to raise a reasonable doubt of a causal link between ill-health and Service. The PAT accepted such a doubt had been raised and therefore allowed the appeal. Whilst we disagree with the PAT's decision, such decisions can only be challenged on a point of law. There is no point on which MOD can mount an appeal.

Ministry Land

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what conditions he stipulates about the areas of MoD-owned land over which particular hunts may hunt. [112247]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 12 May 2003]: Specific conditions on access to Ministry of Defence land may be stipulated to an individual hunt as part of their licence for hunting. These conditions are laid out in the Schedules to the Hunting licence. MOD may at its

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discretion deny access to any scheduled land; advance notice will be given to the Hunt of seven days under normal circumstances or 48 hours in case of emergency. All hunting applications must be made in writing by the Hunt to the Defence Estates office within the relevant area and a 'Permission to Hunt' form must be completed by each recognised hunt before any fixture takes place. As part of this form there are schedules which may contain conditions applicable to each individual hunt.

Andrew Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many acres of land were used on a permanent basis by his Department in England (a) in 1980, (b) in 1990, (c) in 2000 and (d) on the latest date for which figures are available. [112358]

Dr. Moonie: The defence estate is kept under continuous review to ensure that it is no larger than is required. Since 2000 the Estate has consisted of some 240,000 hectares (approximately 593,000 acres).

The information for previous years is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Naval Deployment (Gulf)

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what Royal Naval and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels remain on deployment in the Gulf; and what the scheduled dates are for the return of each; [111337]

Mr. Ingram: On the 6 May 2003 the following ships remain deployed on Operations in the Gulf region: Frigates HMS Chatham and HMS Richmond supported by the RFA tanker Brambleleaf on routine peacetime level deployments; Mine counter measures vessels HMS Grimsby, HMS Ledbury, HMS Ramsey and HMS Shoreham remain in theatre to conduct Mine Clearance Operations, Defence diplomacy and to exercise with Gulf Co-operation Council nations.

By 6 May 2003, only the submarine HMS Turbulent will have completed its deployment in the recent Gulf action, as marked by its return to the United Kingdom on 16 Apr 2003.

All other units which took part in the conflict, are currently on passage to the UK or are continuing with their previously scheduled deployments elsewhere.

I am withholding information on specific operational programming dates for RN and RFA units under Exemption 1a (National security) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Officer Training

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the senior officers who have completed the Higher Command and Staff course since it was established. [112564]

Dr. Moonie: Those United Kingdom officers who have completed the Higher Command and Staff Course since it was established are listed in a table which has been placed in the Library.

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Public Access (Military Training Areas)

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) legislation he has introduced and (b) regulations he has issued in the last 12 months which has resulted in new restrictions on (i) the general public and (ii) controlled public access to military training areas. [112314]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 12 May 2003]: None.

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