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The Government accounting process has changed progressively over this period due to the introduction of Resource Accounting and Budgeting. The terms in which these budgets were set are therefore not directly comparable.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which (a) independent and (b) maintained educational institutions accommodate pupils and students receiving the boarding school allowance granted to employees of his Department; how many pupils at each institution received the allowance in each of the last three years for which figures are available and at what cost; and if he will make a statement. 
The children of service personnel who benefit from service education allowances attend a considerable number of educational establishments. A list of those educational establishments that accommodated children of service personnel in receipt of education allowances in academic years 2005-06 and 2006-07 has been placed in the Library of the House. The figures were completed as at the spring term for both of these years. The Department does not have these details for 2004-05.
The Ministry of Defence records the number of service claimants, the number of children benefiting from service education allowances and the educational establishments they attend. The Department does not have figures that identify the cumulative value of service education allowances which, via service claimants, benefit each individual educational establishment. Also, the number of service children benefiting from education allowances does not indicate the number of service claimants, as one service parent might claim for one or more children.
Eligible Ministry of Defence civil servants can claim a tax free schooling allowance for children attending fee paying schools overseas or at independent schools in the UK. The annual cost in the UK for 2005-06 is around £1.1 million. However, as claims for the allowance overseas are reimbursed by local budgets, there is no central record of such costs and the total figure could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
As with the services, the number of children of civil servants benefiting from schooling allowances does not indicate the number of civil servant claimants, as one parent may claim for one or more children. The figure is estimated to be in the region of 100 children.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many firearms were stolen from the armed forces in each of the last 10 years; what the value was of the firearms stolen; and what measures were taken to recover them. 
The totals of firearms recorded as stolen from the armed forces in each of the last 10 years are given in the following table. The data covers firearms stolen on a global basis, including operational theatres overseas, and private firearms lodged in MOD armouries. The total value of the stolen firearms could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The theft of any firearm is taken very seriously and is fully investigated by the police. The police undertaking the investigation may, depending on the circumstances of the theft, be the Service police, Ministry of Defence
police or a Home Department police force, often working jointly. While there has been a total of 169 firearms stolen over the period 1997-2006, 39 of these have been recovered.
|Number of firearms stolen|
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the status is of the Future Carrier joint-venture project with the French Government; how much money has been spent by each Government on the project; whether progress has been made in line with expected time frames; what the expected in-service date is for the first carrier; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 30 January 2007]: I refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave on 6 February 2006, Official Report, column 824W, to the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Bone), which explains the financial contribution made by France.
Up to 31 December 2006, the UK has spent £411 million on the Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF) Project. This comprises £4 million on the concept phase, £300 million on the assessment phase and £107 million on the demonstration phase.
This work has produced a Common Baseline Design that both UK and France can use to develop and build their own carriers. Our co-operation with France will bring savings in design costs, and offers the potential of savings on manufacture and support. It will be up to UK and French industry to make the most of the opportunities provided by this commonality during the next phase of the respective programmes.
Good progress is being made on the CVF demonstration phase work, which is aimed at maturing the risks, costs and the contractual framework for building the carriers. The culmination of this work will enable us to agree a robust, affordable deal and take a decision to commit to manufacture. It is at this stage that the in-service dates will be announced.
Mr. Ingram: The Bell Griffin HAR2 helicopters in Cyprus are used in a variety of roles, including Search and Rescue, medical evacuation, support to fire fighting missions, and support to operations; in 2006, they also helped to maintain the airbridge commitment for Operation Highbrow, the operation to evacuate UK and other entitled personnel from the Lebanon, by flying numerous sorties to and from Beirut.
Provisional estimates collated from manual records show that no 16-year-old and fifteen 17-year-old personnel have been deployed to Iraq since the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the rights of the child on the involvement of children in armed conflict was ratified on 24 June 2003. None have been deployed since July 2005.
The vast majority of those that were deployed were within one week of their 18th birthdays or were removed from theatre within a week of their arrival. Fewer than five 17-year-olds were deployed for a period of greater than three weeks.
New administrative guidelines and procedures have been introduced by each of the Services following the ratification of the Optional Protocol to ensure that under 18-year-old personnel are not deployed to areas where hostilities are taking place unless there is a clear operational requirement for them to do so. Unfortunately, these processes are not infallible and the pressures on units prior to deployment have meant that there have been a small number of instances where soldiers have been inadvertently deployed to Iraq before their 18th birthday, as described above.
Mr. Gerald Howarth:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those critical British technologies whose transfer to the United States has
been authorised by the Government in connection with the Joint Strike Fighter. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 18 December 2006]: We have agreed the release of the technologies necessary to ensure the success of this collaborative programme. This includes technology in the fields of take-off and landing, flight control, engine and lift fan, ejection seat, simulators and weapon systems.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the value of imports of military defence and security-related equipment to the UK has been over the last five years, broken down by country. 
Mr. Ingram: I will place a copy of the data giving the value of imports of defence equipment broken down by country, for the last five years, in the Library of the House. The data are consistent with those published by the Defence Analytical Services Agency in Table 1.11 of UK Defence Statistics 2006, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.
Data are based on HM Revenue and Customs information relating to defence equipment reported to UK Customs. Defence equipment is identified by an agreed set of tariff codes intended to capture the movement of military equipment.
Mr. Ingram: The site at Nancekuke is known as Remote Radar Head (RRH) Portreath. There is an MOD project on the site to remediate land used to dispose of decommissioned plant and material from a chemical defence establishment.
Des Browne: We have monitored discussion in the academic arena on the possible effects of a large scale nuclear exchange on the world's climate but we have not undertaken any such assessments ourselves. Most recently, a study was presented to the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December 2006 on the subject. This found that even a small scale regional nuclear war could disrupt the global climate for a decade or more.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the nature is of the biological research (a) being undertaken and (b) planned to be undertaken at Porton Down; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) defence research being conducted by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down is directed towards helping the UK achieve its policy aim of maintaining political and military freedom of action, despite the presence, threat or use of CBRN weapons.
The current nature of the biological research is summarised under the headings of Hazard Assessment, Detection and Diagnostics, and Medical Counter-measures in the UK annual Confidence Building Measures returns to the United Nations. These returns are submitted by the UK in accordance with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
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