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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2006, Official Report, columns 78W, on Astute class submarines, what the reasons are for (a) the increases in cost and (b) the delay in delivery; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The increase in costs and delay to the delivery of the Astute programme stem primarily from problems that arose from the application of Computer Aided Design (CAD) techniques. Due to the complexity of the programme, the benefits that CAD was envisaged to provide were more difficult to realise than either MOD or the contractor had assumed. These problems were addressed with the contractor and an agreement, placing incentives on the company to perform, was negotiated and a contract amendment signed on 17 December 2003.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many deductions of earnings requests were received from the Child Support Agency by each of the armed forces in the most recent three years for which figures are available; and how many requests were complied with (a) in full and (b) in part by each service. 
The table records the numbers of Deductions from Earnings Requests (DER) processed by the Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency (AFPAA) for Service personnel in each of the three Services for the three years 20032005.
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Statistics for the number of requests that were applied in full and in part are not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. However, DERs are only applied less than fully if to do so would reduce a Service person's pay below the established Minimum Rate of Pay. Since DERs are applied before deductions for any other reason relatively few are applied less than fully.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria the Department used in taking the decision on how to treat Child Support Agency claims on service personnel in relation to deduction of earnings. 
Mr. Touhig: Service personnel are not subject to deduction from earnings orders because they are already subject to deductions from earnings for a variety of reasons under other legislation. In practice, the Ministry of Defence applies deductions from earnings requests in exactly the same way as orders, subject to ensuring that such deductions do not reduce a service person's pay below the established minimum rate of pay. Deductions from pay for child maintenance are applied before any other deductions. The MOD has an understanding with the Child Support Agency for administering deductions from earnings requests.
Mr. Ingram: Supporting operations, including those in Iraq, is one of DSTL's principal roles: since its formation in 2001 the laboratory has continuously supported a wide range of operations both overseas and for homeland security. This capability is based on DSTL's ability to draw on the entire organisations S&Tbase to provide the best advice and solutions. Supporting operations is afforded a high priority, and the short-notice and fluctuating nature of the demand means that it has to be managed in consultation with DSTL's MOD customers.
The Defence Vetting Agency operates within guidelines set by the Cabinet Office, and constantly seeks ways to improve the vetting process. The DVA is at the forefront of Government security vetting process and working practice improvements and is taking a strong lead in the development and introduction of e-vetting. The introduction, this year, of a suite of new scannable security application forms is a first step towards a solution to allow vetting subjects to
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complete and submit security clearance applications using the internet, leading to a much more efficient process.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his assessment is of the ability of service personnel (a) in each service and (b) of each rank to afford (i) a mortgage and (ii) privately-rented accommodation on discharge. 
Mr. Touhig [holding answer 6 March 2006]: The ability to afford mortgage repayments or rental chargesobviously depends on individual circumstances. Because of this, a detailed assessment of affordability by rank and service cannot be made. However, we provide an excellent pay and pension package for service personnel, together with extensive advice on housing options and an interest-free loan scheme.
Mr. Touhig [holding answer 6 March 2006]: Housing needs are reflected in schemes such as long service advance of pay and advice provided through the Joint Services Housing Advice Office. The Defence Housing Strategy is being reviewed as part of the Defence Living Accommodation Strategy (DLAS), which provides a comprehensive approach with a focus on private housing options to meet societal changes and the smooth transition to civilian life.
Mr. Ingram: The Typhoon has a substantial number of inter-linked computers, all of which are tested individually, as sub-systems, and as an entity during aircraft acceptance. The ability of the individual computer systems to provide computing power for the other systems if they malfunction means that Typhoon systems are inherently very reliable, safe, and suitable for the operation of this aircraft.
[holding answer 7 March 2006]: Staffing levels in the Defence Export Services Organisation are regularly reviewed as part of normal management procedures. Posts saved in 200506, and any further posts saved in the next two financial years, will contribute to the departmental target for civilian and military manpower reductions that was agreed in the 2004 Spending Review, following the Gershon Review of Public Sector Efficiency.
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Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the recruitment figures for each of the Scottish infantry regiments were for each month in 2005; and how many of those who completed their training went to the regiment of their choice. 
[holding answer 3 March 2006]: The Army does not recruit soldiers into particular regiments but instead recruit to the three infantry career employment
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groups (Line, Para and the Guards). While some soldier recruits specify a particular Preferred Capbadge" on enlisting, infantry personnel are not recruited into or allocated a regiment until near completion of their training. Officers are allocated an arm/service/regiment during or on completion of their commission course at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS). Therefore the following table shows the gains to the trained strength of the six Scottish infantry regiments in each month during 2003.
|Date of flow||Unspecified||RS||RHF||KOSB||BW||HLDRS||A & SH||Total|
It is not possible to determine how many personnel went to the regiments of their choice, as this information is not held centrally on the administration system used in the production of these statistics.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the recruitment targets were for each division of infantry (a) as at 1 January 2003 and (b) in each quarterly since January 2003; and what percentage of the targets have been met. 
Mr. Touhig [holding answer 3 March 2006]: The Army does not recruit soldiers into Infantry Divisions, but instead recruits to the three Infantry Career Employment Groups (Line, Para and the Guards). Officers are only allocated a Regiment on completion of their Commissioning Course at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS). Therefore recruitment figures and targets for Infantry Divisions are unavailable.
|Flows during qtr||Footguards||Scots Div||Queens Div||Kings Div||POW Div||Light Div||Para||Others||Total|
|1 January to 31 March 2003||90||120||140||130||140||120||100||20||870|
|1 April to 30 June 2003||120||140||180||160||180||120||60||40||1,000|
|1 July to 30 September 2003||200||100||170||150||160||120||80||30||1,020|
|1 October to 31 December 2003||150||160||160||170||180||120||100||40||1,080|
|1 January to 31 March 2004||180||120||140||140||160||110||40||30||910|
|1 April to 30 June 2004||150||160||160||150||150||100||60||30||970|
|1 July to 30 September 2004||130||120||170||130||180||70||40||30||870|
|1 October to 31 December 2004||140||140||130||170||130||90||70||20||890|
|1 January to 31 March 2005||90||60||60||60||70||40||60||(17)||440|
|1 April to 30 June 2005||110||140||140||130||160||90||50||20||830|
|1 July to 30 September 2005||130||100||110||110||110||80||70||20||720|
|1 October to 31 December 2005||70||110||90||110||110||90||40||20||640|
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