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26 Nov 2008 : Column 1516W—continued

Working Neighbourhood Funding

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the letter from the Minister of State for Local Government to the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Mudie) on the methodology used in respect of Working Neighbourhood Funding in Leeds. [238872]

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John Healey: Since the launch of the Working Neighbourhoods Fund (WNF) in December 2007, I have exchanged correspondence and had discussions with a number of hon. Members including the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Mudie). The methodology for determining eligibility for the WNF which we have published was a feature of all correspondence and conversations between hon. Members and me.


Afghanistan: Military Aircraft

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the average daily sortie rate was for the eight Harrier aircraft deployed in Afghanistan in October 2008; [238822]

(2) what the planned sortie rate is for 8 Tornado aircraft due to replace Harrier in Afghanistan next year during its first month of operation in theatre. [238823]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 24 November 2008]: I am withholding the information requested as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces. However, I can confirm that the Tornado force will provide the same vital capability in support of the International Security Assistance Force as is currently being provided by the Harrier force and I cannot understand why you are telling people otherwise.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding has been spent on urgent operational requirements for the Harrier force since it deployed to Afghanistan in 2004. [238824]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 24 November 2008]: A maximum of £45 million has been approved for spend on urgent operational requirements for the Harrier force in Afghanistan. This corrects the previous figure I provided in my answer to the hon. Member on 17 November 2008, Official Report, column 135W. It has not been possible in the time available to identify how much of this amount has been spent.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total cost to the public purse has been in addition to that which would routinely have been incurred as part of the routine Harrier Annual Flying Task of sustaining the Harrier force in Afghanistan over the last three years. [238825]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The cost to the public purse of sustaining Harrier over and above that which would have been expected to be incurred as a result of routine Harrier Force activity over the last three financial years is:

£ million

FY 2005-06 FY 2006-07 FY 2007-08





It has not been possible to collate and confirm all of the FY 2005-06 costs in the time available; deployment and UOR costs are not included in these figures.

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Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the forecast total cost to the public purse additional to that which would routinely be incurred as part of the routine Tornado Annual Flying Task has been of deploying the Tornado force to Afghanistan for the first year, including costs associated with urgent operational requirements, deployment and sustainable costs, and costs associated with upgrading follow-on aircraft to replace those initially deployed to theatre. [238826]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The forecast additional cost for financial year 2009-10 over and above routine Tornado force activity to support deployment to Afghanistan is up to £67.5 million. Estimated costs break down:

Estimated cost (£ million)

Theatre Specific UORs


Middle East Theatre Entry Standard (TES) upgrade plus role equipment


Deployment and Sustainment


Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many rounds have been fired by British forces in each Brigade rotation in Afghanistan since Herrick 6, broken down by type of ammunition used. [232644]

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many rounds of ammunition were fired by UK armed forces in Afghanistan in 2007-08. [235233]

Mr. Hutton: Officials are collating and validating the data needed to answer this question and this is taking longer than anticipated. I will therefore write to the hon. Members when this work is complete and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Harrier force at its full establishment could achieve harmony on Operation Herrick. [236786]

Mr. Hutton: Full manning of the front-line Harrier Force to current establishment, is insufficient to meet the enduring requirement of Operation Herrick within RAF harmony guidelines. Pilots and ground crew from supporting Harrier units can be used to supplement the front-line to help achieve harmony, but this is not sustainable on an enduring basis.

Air Force: Manpower

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many senior Royal Air Force officers of 2 star rank and above are former Tornado pilots, broken down by (a) rank and (b) post. [239717]

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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There are 10 RAF officers of 2 star rank and above who are former Tornado Pilots.

Rank Appointment

Air Chief Marshal

Chief Defence Staff (CDS)

Air Chief Marshal

Chief Air Staff (CAS)

Air Marshal

Air Member for Personnel (AMP)/Deputy Commander in Chief (DCinC) Air (Personnel)

Air Marshal

Deputy Commander in Chief (DCinC) (Operations)

Air Vice-Marshal

Assistant Chief of Air Staff (ACAS)

Air Vice-Marshal

Air Officer Commanding (AOC) 22 Group

Air Vice-Marshal

Air Officer Commanding (AOC) 2 Group

Air Vice-Marshal

Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI) (Designate)

Air Vice-Marshal

Director-General, Saudi Air Force Project

Air Vice-Marshal

Senior Directing Staff (Air) RCDS

Air Force: Military Bases

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what restrictions there are on flying times and patterns for (a) helicopters based at (i) RAF Benson and (ii) RAF Odiham and (b) Hercules at RAF Lyneham. [238125]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: All RAF stations must adhere to and operate within the low flying system as outlined in the United Kingdom Military Planning Document Volume 3, Part 1. The publication ‘The Pattern of Military Low Flying across the United Kingdom 2007-2008', copies of which are available in the Library of the House, provides a report on the levels of low flying training by both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft across the United Kingdom.

In terms of restrictions specific to RAF Benson and RAF Odiham, local avoidance zones have been established in order to reduce disturbance to local residents. These are self-imposed local restrictions which can be lifted as operational circumstance require and are only applicable to aircraft operating out of these particular stations. The RAF Benson Station Flying Book directs the restriction of over-flights of the local villages of Ewelme, Benson, Berrick Salome and Roke and the town of Wallingford. Visual circuit flying training (where the aircrew use ground references such as landmarks as a reference instead of flying wholly on instruments) is prohibited after 23:59hrs. In addition, military helicopter crews avoid flying over Aylesbury, Oxford, Thame, Abingdon, Grove, Didcot and Wantage below 1000ft. Aircrew from RAF Odiham strive to avoid flying over the villages of South Warnborough, Long Sutton, Odiham and Crondall whenever possible. There are no instrument approaches to Runway 27 after 20:00hrs and when using fields for training exercises after 20:00hrs the approach is varied to avoid concentrating noise in one area.

Various restrictions are imposed on the operation of C130 Hercules aircraft based at RAF Lyneham. During the day, a maximum of six training aircraft are permitted in a circuit. Night flying is restricted between the hours of 21:00hrs and 08:00hrs by not permitting practice circling low-level approaches and limiting the number of low-level circuits to three. However, there is an exception to this for Tactical Air Landing and Night Vision Goggle training when varied approaches are
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used to minimise disruption. In addition, night flying circuits on runway 06 alternate from the right-hand to the left-hand of the airfield every hour to minimise noise.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his estimate is of the level of expenditure on infrastructure improvements required on (a) RAF Benson, (b) RAF Odiham and (c) RAF Lyneham to bring them up to the requisite standard. [238126]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The cost of infrastructure improvements required at the three stations depend upon basing requirements, which are currently under consideration by Programme Belvedere, the results of which are not expected to be announced until late summer 2009.

Armed Forces: Bereavement Benefits

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average length of time was between a soldier being killed in action and the standard payment following a death in action being paid to the bereaved family in the latest period for which figures are available. [233617]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Deployment

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK personnel are deployed on operations, broken down by location. [236448]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The endorsed force levels for current UK military operations are set out. The precise number of personnel in theatre at any one time fluctuates on a daily basis for a variety of reasons, including mid-tour rest and recuperation, temporary absence for training, evacuation for medical reasons, the roulement of forces and other factors. Having given detailed consideration to how we answer questions on operational force levels, Ministers have decided that, for reasons of operational security, future answers will be based upon the endorsed force level for each operation.

Location Endorsed Number (at 20 October 2008)( 1)



Southern Iraq




At sea


Falklands/South Atlantic
















(1) Rounded to 50
(2) Providing support to the Senior British Military Representative Iraq
(3 )Small scale deployments in support of EU and UN missions, and headquarters liaison officers.

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Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of personnel in each pinch point trade in the armed forces exceeded harmony guidelines for tour intervals in the latest period for which figures are available. [237814]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Individual Separated Service is currently recorded on the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) system. Individual separation is recorded as one of 16 activity codes; these codes allow commanders to identify how much separation is caused by each activity. Data from the system are currently only available to the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. The Army, being the last to transfer to JPA, does not yet have sufficient data to provide meaningful statistics. A complete period of data should become available in January 2010. Even with a full cycle of data the system is not configured to identify individual tour intervals for Service personnel. The system is designed to identify where individual harmony guidelines are being broken. The current individual harmony guidelines are:

Armed Forces: Labour Turnover

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) outflow and (b) voluntary outflow rate has been of each infantry battalion over the last 12 months, broken down by rank. [235427]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Outflow information for each infantry battalion is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, total outflow figures by Arm/Service and paid rank have recently become available for 2007-08 and figures for the Infantry are shown in the following table:

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Outflow from the t raine d strength of the Infantry by p aid r ank for FY 2007-08





Lieutenant Colonel











Warrant Officer Class I


Warrant Officer Class II


Staff Sergeant






Lance Corporal




1. UK Regular Army includes nursing services and excludes full time reserve service personnel, Gurkhas, the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish regiment and mobilised reservists.
2. Total outflow figures include personnel removed from the strength having been declared long term absentee (LTA).
3. Officer figures exclude those with a paid rank of Colonel and above.
4. Due to the implementation of the new Joint Personnel Administration System all Army data from 1 April 2007 are provisional and subject to review.
5. Figures have been rounded to 10; numbers ending in “5” have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.
6. Where rounding has been used, totals and sub-totals have been rounded separately and so may not appear to be the sum of their parts.
7. All figures are provisional.

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