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19 May 2003 : Column 575Wcontinued
Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Government will respond to the Treasury Committee's Fourth Report of Session 200203, HC 184; and what the reasons are for the delay in replying. 
Nick Harvey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his Department's position is on repatriation claims in the UN Compensation Commission; if his Department will advocate payment of these from liberated Iraq; and if he will make a statement. 
We continue to support the work of the UNCC in assessing claims arising from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The UNCC is currently funded from sales of Iraqi oil sold under the Oil For Food programme. The future of this programme is under discussion in the Security Council.
Dawn Primarolo: The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is an executive agency of the Inland Revenue with 85 offices spread throughout England, Wales and Scotland. This network of offices is arranged into 23 Groups and 9 District Valuers for different areas of work.
The Liverpool Group has three offices located in Liverpool, Chester and Crewe and is headed by a Group Valuation Officer. The GVO is statutorily responsible for compiling and maintaining the business rating and council tax valuation lists for the 13 local authorities covered by his group.
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property services to central Government and public bodies such as valuing property for the purposes of taxes administered by the Inland Revenue.
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 13 May 2003]: I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence's two written statements of 11 April 2003, Official Report, columns 3839WS and 30 April 2003, Official Report, columns 1516WS. In the latter, he announced the withdrawal of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, which is under way. We aim to bring home the other major deployed land units as soon as the situation allows, and will announce plans to do so once they are firm.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether it is his policy that one of the Invincible Class aircraft carriers will be used in a permanent landing platform helicopter role. 
Mr. Ingram: It is not policy that one of the Invincible Class aircraft carriers (CVS) will be used in a permanent LPH role. The CVS have the capability to carryout the LPH function as a secondary role in support of amphibious operations, as demonstrated by HMS Ark Royal as part of Operation TELIC, but the Royal Navy's primary LPH capability is provided by HMS Ocean.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to balance the cost of modifying equipment against that of supporting unmodified equipment in theatre, when assessing cost effectiveness. 
Mr. Ingram: Under the Smart Acquisition process all costs associated with the expected life of any new equipment are considered when decisions are taken on procurement, taking into account the global role of United Kingdom armed forces.
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Mr. Ingram: The latest percentages for the beef purchased is: 55 per cent. reared and produced in Britain, 21 per cent. Australia, 18 per cent. Brazil, 4 per cent. Uruguay and 2 per cent. New Zealand. There is no differentiation between the single services.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the Government to Government memorandum of understanding between the UK and Qatar regarding the purchase of £500 million worth of defence equipment from the UK was resurrected; and which components of the deal are being renegotiated. 
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Le Touquet Summit declaration of 4 February, if he will place a copy of the text of NATO and EU agreements in the Library of each House; when they were concluded; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The strategic partnership arrangements between the EU and NATO in crisis management, known as "Berlin Plus", were agreed in principle by the North Atlantic Council and the European Council on 13 December 2002. The detailed arrangements implementing the agreement were then finalised, leading to a final exchange of letters between the NATO Secretary General, my right hon. and noble Friend the Lord Robertson, and the Secretary General of the European Union Council of Ministers, Javier Solatia, on 17 March 2003.
This exchange of letters and most of the detailed implementation documents were passed in confidence between NATO and the EU and member states and I am therefore withholding them under Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which relates to Defence, Security and International Relations. There are, however, two documents which do not fall within the scope of this
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exemption. I shall make arrangements for a copy of the "Agreement between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union on the Security of Information" and a document "Defining the EU Capability Development Mechanism" to be placed in the Library of the House.
We have continued to work closely with BAE Systems to determine whether Hawk 128 will best meet our need for an Advanced Jet Trainer and on 31 March 2003 received a final proposal from the company. We are currently considering the proposal to determine whether it does meet our requirement and offer value for money for the taxpayer. A decision on the way ahead is expected by the end of June 2003 and it would not be appropriate to make a statement until this time. It will be for BAE Systems to decide what effect, if any, the outcome will have on employment levels.
Mr. Ingram: During the last 12 months HMS Glasgow has been held in extended readiness. She has undergone regeneration work in preparation for rejoining the fleet as I set out in my answer of 24 February 2003, Official Report, columns 3056W, to the hon. Member for Portsmouth South (Mr Hancock). I also refer the hon. Member to my answer to him of 12 May 2003, Official Report, column 38W, which stated that she has been unavailable for deployment as a result of manpower commitments to providing emergency cover in the event of a fire-fighters strike.
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