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10 Jan 2007 : Column 579W—continued

Somalia

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much financial aid his Department gave to Somalia in the financial year 2005-06. [104989]

Hilary Benn: DFID bilateral aid to Somalia in the fiscal year 2005-06 was £18.75 million. More than 80 per cent. of that was humanitarian assistance in response to the drought in the region and other needs. The remainder went on education, health and promoting improved governance and the rule of law—all things that Somalia desperately needs.

£13,000 was in the form of other financial aid which relates to pensions payments where the UK has take over liabilities from the Somali authorities. None of these funds were provided directly to the transitional federal institutions. Somalia has been without a recognised central Government since 1991.

For statistical reporting purposes, the term financial aid covers poverty reduction budget support and other projects and programmes. A full breakdown of ‘Bilateral Aid for Somalia is published in Table 12.1 of Statistics on International Development 2001/02-2005/06, a copy of which is available in the Library.

Defence

Iraq

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the security situation in Basra. [110369]

Des Browne: We routinely assess the security situation in Basra Province and Iraq as a whole. The reported rate of civilian murders has reduced significantly from the high levels in June and July 2006. Some terrorist elements continue to target Multi National Forces.

Joint Strike Fighter

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 12 December 2006, on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), (1) if the Government will make it a condition of
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purchasing JSF that the purchased aircraft must be assembled and checked out in the UK; [109708]

(2) whether the assurances given by the US on technology transfer are sufficient to allow assembling and final check out of the JSF aircraft to take place in the United Kingdom to the same level as will be the case for the US Tier 1 partners in the programme. [109709]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 18 December 2006]: The Government have received assurances on technology transfer for Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), that would provide for a final assembly and check-out (FACO) facility for JSF in the UK. However, we have not yet decided whether to invest in a UK-based FACO facility. We are considering all aspects of the case, including costs and industrial skills. Should we decide to invest in such a facility, we shall discuss appropriate arrangements with JSF partners.

The UK will remain the only ‘level 1’ partner in the System Development and Demonstration phase of the JSF programme until that phase’s conclusion in 2013. The next phase, Production, Sustainment and Follow- on Development, of which the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 12 December sets the framework, does not have any such ‘tier’ structure. The Memorandum of Understanding signed on 12 December, which sets the framework for PSFD, is a multilateral document common to all participants. The UK’s specific requirements, including the assurances on technology transfer, are listed in a classified bilateral annexe.

Met Office

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the Meteorological Office’s revenues came from licensing products to (a) local and (b) central Government in the last year for which figures are available. [112774]

Derek Twigg: Met Office customers are charged a fee for the overall provision of products and services, not just a licensing charge. Of its total revenue in 2005-06 of £170 million, 1 per cent. was for the provision of products and services to local government and 35 per cent. for products and services to central Government.

Met Office/Hydrographic Office

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to ask the (a) Hydrographic Office and (b) Meteorological Office to implement the recommendations in the Office of Fair Trading’s recent market study of public sector information; and if he will make a statement. [110283]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 18 December 2006]: The Government have until March to consider its response to the Office of Fair Trading’s Market Study of public sector information. The DTI is responsible for co-ordinating the preparation of the agreed Government response, and MoD officials will liaise with the DTI during the consultation process. Following that response both the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) and the Met Office will of course fully implement any newly agreed policy, as appropriate.


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Nuclear Deterrent

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how each of the options outlined in the White Paper “The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear deterrent” was tested for viability. [113826]

Des Browne: The process by which the options were assessed is described in detail in section 5 and annexe B of the White Paper “The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent” (Cm 6994), published on 4 December 2006. Copies of the White Paper are available in the Library of the House.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what factors determined (a) the expected operating cost of the Trident replacement cited in the White Paper “The future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent”, and (b) the costs of Trident cited in 1994; and if he will make a statement. [109888]

Des Browne: A number of factors determined the estimate (set out in paragraph 5-14 of the White Paper: “The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent” (Cm 6994), published on 4 December) of the expected in-service costs of the UK nuclear deterrent once a new fleet of SSBNs comes into service. The estimate drew on: projections based on the actual and planned future maintenance and operating costs of the current system, including manpower costs; assessments of in-service costs of system components; studies of potential infrastructure and disposal costs; projected costs of the Atomic Weapons Establishment; and an assessment of the impact of risk.

The estimate of the lifetime operating costs of Trident provided by the MOD to the House of Commons Defence Committee in 1993, shortly before the first of the Vanguard class submarines, HMS Vanguard, entered operational service, included projections for: manpower and related costs of the crews of the submarines and associated civilian staff; the costs of refits of the submarines over the lifetime of the force; the costs of stores and stores personnel and transport; a share of the running costs of the Clyde submarine base; the costs of the Atomic Weapons Establishment; in-service support of the strategic weapons system and the submarine; and decommissioning and disposal of the submarines.

Service Personnel: Priory Clinic

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 30 November 2006, Official Report, column 813W, on service personnel (Priory Clinic), how many (a) officers and (b) other ranks were referred to the Priory Clinic in each of the last 12 months. [R] [109812]

Derek Twigg: In order to preserve the anonymity of the individuals concerned, it has been necessary to aggregate the available data. In addition to the information previously provided, during the period from December 2005 to November 2006, 16 officers and 286 other ranks were referred to the Priory Group or its sub-contractors under the terms of our contract with the Priory Group.


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Towed Array Sonar

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects a decision to be made on the maintenance of the Towed Array Sonar. [112827]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 8 January 2007]: It has been decided to relocate Towed Array Sonar maintenance (array testing, processing and storage) from Defence Munitions Centre (DMC) Beith to DMC Crombie. This transfer will take effect from 19 January 2007.

House of Commons Commission

St. George Flag

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission on which occasions the Cross of Saint George is flown from Portcullis House. [113687]

Nick Harvey: Access to the flagpole on Portcullis House is currently denied on health and safety grounds so no flags are flown.

The St. George Flag is never flown on the parliamentary estate as each building on the Estate only has one flagstaff.

The House follows guidance from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on these matters and this suggests that on St. George’s Day, where a building has two or more flagstaffs the appropriate National flag may be flown in addition to the Union flag, but not in a superior position.

Union Flag

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission on which occasions the Union flag is flown from Portcullis House. [113689]

Nick Harvey: Access to the flagpole on Portcullis House is currently denied on health and safety grounds so no flags are flown. The Union flag would normally be flown on the following occasions in 2007:

20 January

Birthday of the Countess of Wessex

6 February

Her Majesty’s Accession

19 February

Birthday of the Duke of York

10 March

Birthday of the Earl of Wessex

12 March

Commonwealth Day (second Monday in March)

21 April

Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen

23 April

St. George’s Day

9 May

Europe Day

2 June

Coronation Day

10 June

Birthday of The Duke of Edinburgh

16 June

Official Celebration of Her Majesty’s Birthday

17 July

Birthday of The Duchess of Cornwall

15 August

Birthday of the Princess Royal

11 November

Remembrance Day

14 November

Birthday of The Prince of Wales

20 November

Her Majesty’s Wedding Day


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Also the day of the opening of a Session of the Houses of Parliament by Her Majesty and the day of prorogation of a Session of the Houses of Parliament by Her Majesty.

The Union flag is flown on Victoria Tower when either House is sitting from 10 am until sunset or when the Sovereign is on the premises when the Royal Standard is raised.

Culture, Media and Sport

London Olympics

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what targets she has set to ensure that the London 2012 Olympics are (a) environmentally, (b) economically and (c) socially sustainable. [113783]

Mr. Caborn: An overarching sustainability policy for the Olympic programme was published in July 2006, which sets out the five key themes to achieve a sustainable games: climate change, waste, biodiversity, inclusion and healthy living. We are currently working with the other Olympic stakeholders to develop policies and targets within these five themes, which will be brought together into an overarching sustainability plan for the games which will be published in the spring.

Music Industry

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department has taken to support the UK’s independent music industry. [114053]

Mr. Woodward: Sponsorship of the music industry means DCMS works closely with Government partners and the independent music sector to ensure its interests are safeguarded and independent music continues to thrive.

Through the Creative Economy Programme (CEP), we continue to tackle the main issues which impact on the music industry.

Last year DCMS published the results of research into access to business support and investment finance. The Music Exports Group, on which the independent music sector is represented, is developing export strategies for the industry’s priority markets.

Trade Union Funding

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funding her Department has given to individual trade unions in the last three years. [113984]

Mr. Lammy: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not provided funding to any trade union in the last three years.


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Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what funding the Government have paid to (a) Mohammed Daud, former Governor of Helmand Province and (b) other Afghan politicians in each financial year since 2001-02. [113105]

Mr. Hoon: Since the appointment of former Governor Daud in December 2005, the Government have committed over £1 million in support of good governance activity in Helmand Province. In addition, the UK has provided £253,000 for counter narcotics activity (including a public awareness campaign, prison upgrade and vehicle support) in financial year 2006-07. In 2006 a sum of £151,000 was paid to the Governors of Nangahar and Kandahar for governor-led eradication.

The UK contributes to the Government of Afghanistan’s (GOA) core budget and has committed £355 million between 2002-09. The UK also remains a major contributor to the Law and Order Trust Fund of Afghanistan established in 2002, and the Counter Narcotics Trust Fund established in 2006, both through the European Commission and bilaterally. The UK also contributes funds to the GOA through a number of ongoing projects aimed at building capacity in the Afghan Government.

Since 2001, the UK has contributed over £1 billion to assisting Afghanistan and is the second largest bilateral donor to Afghanistan after the US.

Bangkok Bombings

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on responsibility for the series of bomb blasts in Bangkok on 31 December 2006. [113835]

Mr. McCartney: No group has claimed responsibility for carrying out the attacks in Bangkok on 31 December. The Thai authorities are still pursuing their investigation to determine responsibility for the attacks. We continue to liaise with the Thai authorities.


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