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23 July 2007 : Column 683W—continued


Departments: Buildings

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what office accommodation standards apply to civilian staff in his Department’s buildings. [150284]

Derek Twigg: The scale (including floor space standards) of provision of MOD office accommodation is directed by guidelines within Joint Services Publication (JSP) 315—Services Accommodation Code. Within the JSP,
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Scale 45 applies to office accommodation for both military and civilian personnel.

A copy of JSP 315 can be found on the Defence Estates internet site at:

Departments: Flint Bishop

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have made payment to Flint Bishop Solicitors since 1997. [151396]

Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence has no record of any payments being made to Flint Bishop Solicitors since 1997.

Departments: Legislation

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what legislative provisions introduced by his Department's predecessors since 1997 have been repealed. [149592]

Derek Twigg: None. The Ministry of Defence has been unchanged since its establishment pursuant to the Defence Transfer of Functions Act 1964, and therefore has had no predecessors since 1997.

Departments: Official Engagements

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his official engagements were for the week of 9 to 15 July. [151507]

Des Browne: On Monday 9 July I was in London where I had a series of meetings with officials from the Ministry of Defence and the Scotland Office. On Tuesday 10 July I attended Cabinet and answered oral questions for the Scotland Office before travelling to Berlin for a bilateral meeting with the German Defence Minister. I returned to London on Wednesday for further meetings with officials from both my departments. On Thursday 12 July, I attended the 90th anniversary world war one commemorations in Tyne Cot, Belgium, before travelling to Brussels for a meeting with the Secretary General of the Council of the European Union on Friday 13 July. I travelled from Brussels to Paris on 13 July and held a bilateral meeting with the French Defence Minister on Saturday 14 July, before attending the Bastille Day commemorations hosted by President Sarkozy.

Departments: Postal Services

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what volume of correspondence his Department sent (a) by Royal Mail and (b) by other commercial delivery services in each of the last five years; and what the reasons were for the use of other commercial delivery services. [150445]

Derek Twigg: Official mail within the Department is primarily distributed by the internal Defence Mail Service, provided by the British Forces Post Office, while mail for personnel serving overseas is usually distributed by RAF air transport. Most external mail is sent through the Royal Mail Group, or, exceptionally through other approved carriers, who are used on an
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ad-hoc basis, usually for urgent requirements. The volume of correspondence is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departments: Publicity

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the cost-effectiveness of advertising commissioned by his Department in the last 12 months; [148517]

(2) what assessment he has made of the cost effectiveness of advertising commissioned by his Department in the last 12 months. [148682]

Derek Twigg: The armed forces employ a wide range of measures to ascertain the effectiveness of their recruitment advertising campaigns. They are then set against advertising expenditure to assess the cost effectiveness of the various media channels and tools used and compared with each other, across-government and with industry averages.

For civilian advertising, delegation of responsibility across the Department has resulted in a variable level of effectiveness and identified that improvements could be made. As part of the Civil Service's People Programme we are moving towards a centralised recruitment service. In addition, an advertising contract via the Central Office of Information has been negotiated which enables a continued presence in the national and diversity media and recruitment and diversity websites but also has the flexibility to allow managers to target post specific advertising more effectively. New adverts began in February 2007 to support a pilot of MOD's new external recruitment process. ‘TMP Worldwide’ has provided generic adverts that appear in monthly selected publications such as diversity press and national newspapers and three large recruitment and diversity websites. In June, Phase 1 of the recruitment service for Broader Banded grades launched and has been supported by the new adverts and any post specific adverts; the service is planned to be fully delivered by June 2008. It is too early to give results but we anticipate a cost saving plus an increase in effectiveness.

EU Battlegroups

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which British military units formed the EU battle group in 2005; and which units will form the EU battle group in 2008. [151509]

Des Browne: The last UK commitment to form a European Union Battle Group on standby was from January-June 2005. The Joint Rapid Reaction Force covered this commitment. During this period, there was no deployment of an EU Battle Group.

The British military units which will form the EU Battle Group that the United Kingdom will have on standby in the second half of 2008 will again come from our Joint Rapid Reaction Force. A decision is likely to be taken later this year on the preferred unit to form the core of this capability.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will reply to the letter of 19 June 2007 (MOD Reference: MC03439/2007) from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire. [150767]


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Derek Twigg [holding answer 19 July 2007]: I replied to the hon. Member on 19 July 2007.

Military Attaches

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer to the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) of 7 February 2007, Official Report, columns 924-6W, on military attaches, what the total cost is of maintaining the attaché/adviser network; and what the value is of the Foreign Office contribution to the cost which is being withdrawn. [150178]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 18 July 2007]: The total cost to the MOD of maintaining the attaché/adviser network was £38.7 million for financial year 2006-07.

The FCO are establishing the cost of the Defence Attaché network to them in financial year 2006-07. Exact figures are not yet available, however, it is estimated that the amount is in the region of £10 million.

Military Exercises: Ammunition

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many military exercises were cancelled due to a lack of blank ammunition in each of the last two years. [150624]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: In the last two years there are no records of military exercises being cancelled as a result of a lack of blank ammunition. In 2005 some cadet camps experienced a reduced supply, caused by shortages arising from production problems; these were subsequently resolved. Since that time, the Defence General Munitions Integrated Project Team has received no reports of shortages of blank ammunition.

Military Police: Colchester

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Ministry of Defence police were employed at Colchester Garrison in (a) May 1997, (b) May 2001 and (c) May 2005; and how many are now employed there. [146279]

Derek Twigg: The number of Ministry of Defence police officers employed at Colchester in May 1997, May 2001, May 2005 and June 2007 is as follows:

Date Inspector Sergeant Constable Total

May 1997

1

5

26

32

May 2001

1

5.5

25.5

33

May 2005

1

4.5

14.5

20

June 2007

0

2.5

6.5

9


These figures do not include Criminal Investigation Department Officers who are not part of the MDP complement at Colchester Garrison and not funded by Land Command. They are based in Colchester for administrative convenience and are responsible for investigating crime on defence estates in East Anglia.


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Nimrod Aircraft

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on the Nimrod MRA4 project against the original timetable for work; what effect the time taken on the project has had on the future of the Nimrod MRA4 trainer facility in Kinloss; and if he will make a statement. [149571]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The current forecast In Service date for Nimrod MRA4 is 2010 against an original expectation of 2003 when the contract was let in 1996. The MRA4 training facility has been developed concurrently with the aircraft; the extended development programme for the aircraft has allowed risk to be removed from the training facility development programme through more extensive testing being conducted on site at RAF Kinloss by BAE Systems, assisted by the MOD.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what problems have been encountered with (a) the software and (b) operation of the MRA4 trainer facility at Kinloss; and if he will make a statement. [149572]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Nimrod MRA4 training facility is currently in the design and development phase. It is a sophisticated system which will provide training for aircrew and groundcrew operating one of the most complex weapon systems in the RAF. The recent, extensive, post-commissioning testing has, as intended, identified anomalies in the software which integrates the numerous and complex systems that make up the simulators. These have been addressed and the corrective actions will be consolidated during the planned upgrade of the simulators to the production delivery standard.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the lifetime budget is for the MRA4 trainer at Kinloss. [149573]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Nimrod MRA4 training facility does not have a separate budget. The costs of development and production of the facility form part of the prime contract with BAE Systems for the provision of the overall Nimrod MRA4 weapon system. The costs of the operation and maintenance of the training facility will form part of the contract for the future support of the weapon system, which has yet to be negotiated.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions departmental Ministers have had with BAE Systems on progress on the MRA4 trainer; and when such discussions took place. [149575]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There have been no specific discussions between departmental Ministers and BAE Systems over progress on the Nimrod MRA4 training facility.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent from the public purse on the development of the Nimrod MRA4 since his announcement of the decision to procure the aircraft. [149576]


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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Total design and development costs for Nimrod MRA4 to date are some £1.73 billion of which about £215 million has been incurred since the production contract was signed in July 2006.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the running costs of the Nimrod MRA4 trainers at Kinloss have been since the project commenced. [149580]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Nimrod MRA4 training facility is currently in the design and development phase, the costs of which form part of the contract with BAE Systems for the provision of the overall Nimrod MRA4 weapon system. Contractual arrangements for operating and maintaining the training system have therefore yet to be negotiated.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the length is of the contract with BAE Systems for the Nimrod MRA4 trainer at Kinloss; and what contractual provisions are in place to deal with the circumstances where the system does not work. [149582]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The development and production of the Nimrod MRA4 training facility forms part of the prime contract with BAE Systems for the overall Nimrod MRA4 weapon system. The contract requires the training system to replicate the standard of the first production aircraft and it will only be contractually accepted by MOD when it has successfully completed extensive testing to prove that it will function appropriately. The contract contains default provisions which could be implemented if the system did not meet the contractual requirement. Contractual arrangements for the operation and maintenance of the training facility have yet to be negotiated.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has allocated further funds to the Nimrod MRA4 trainer facility at Kinloss to assist its development and against contingencies. [149583]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Development and production of the Nimrod MRA4 training facility forms part of the overall prime contract with BAE Systems for provision of the overall Nimrod MRA4 weapon system and will be funded from the provision made for that contract. No additional funding has been allocated to that contract as a contingency provision for the training system.

Nuclear Weapons: RAF Lakenheath

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart on reducing the number of US free-fall nuclear bombs stored at RAF Lakenheath. [150225]

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his US counterpart in respect of reducing the number of United States free-fall nuclear bombs stored at RAF Lakenheath. [150177]


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Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 28 July 2007]: It is not the practice of the Government to make public details of all discussions with foreign Governments as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice international relations.


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