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Defence Training Review

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The Defence Training Review is examining the requirement for all education and individual training in the Ministry of Defence, service and civilian, and the means by which it is delivered to ensure that it meets the department's requirements for timeliness, quality, value for money, doctrine and operational effectiveness, at least until 2010.

The aim is to provide the Armed Forces and MoD civilians with a training and education system that best meets defence needs in the 21st century.

MoD: Cost of New Barracks in UK

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The cost of building any new barracks will depend on a number of factors, including the location, existing infrastructure and the role of the unit. The cost of a typical barracks for a light-roled infantry battalion is between £40 million and £60 million.

The Strategic Defence Review made clear that the forward basing of ground forces in Germany would remain a key aspect of British defence policy. But, in order to create a better balance between 1 (UK) Armoured Division stationed in Germany and 3 (UK) Division based in the United Kingdom, it was decided to withdraw around 2,500 troops from Germany.

The Comprehensive Spending Review settlement, announced on 18 July by my right honourable Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in another place, provides what the Ministry of Defence needs to take forward implementation of these restructuring plans set out under the SDR to meet the challenges of the modern world, taking account of operational lessons learned and other priorities which have emerged since the SDR was announced in 1998.

Mull of Kintyre Helicopter Crash

Lord Jacobs ask Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Ministry of Defence considered the Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC) system for the Chinook Mk2 to be flight safety critical at the time of the Mull of Kintyre crash in 1994; and[HL3388]

    Whether the weight restriction imposed on the Chinook Mk2 in 1994 would have protected the aircraft from any safety-related problem in the event of an engine surge due to a Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC)-related problem.[HL3389]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I will write to the noble Lord and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Lord Jacobs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the ground speed on impact of Royal Air Force Chinook ZD576 as determined by the Air Accidents investigation Branch. [HL3390]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Air Accidents Investigation Branch concluded that ground speed at initial impact was in the order of 150 knots.

Lord Jacobs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who was the Controller Aircraft who granted an Initial CA Release for the Chinook Mk2; and who was the then Assistant Chief of the Air Staff.[HL3391]

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Controller Aircraft who granted an Initial CA Release for the Chinook Mk2 was Sir Donald Spiers CB, TD; the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff at this time was Air Vice-Marshal A J C Bagnall OBE.

Lord Jacobs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who was Air Officer Commander in Chief on 6 June 1994.[HL3392]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Air Officer Commanding in Chief (Strike Command) on 6 June 1994 was Air Chief Marshal Sir John Thomson KCB, CBE, AFC.

MERLIN Radio-imaging Telescope

Lord Smith of Leigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will support and invest in the proposed upgrade of facilities at Jodrell Bank's MERLIN radio-imaging telescope.[HL3474]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): It is for the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council to decide whether or not to fund the proposed upgrade to the MERLIN network of radio telescopes. The proposal will be evaluated in autumn and a decision made shortly thereafter.

Departmental Cars

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Blackstone on 10 July (WA 6), which of the cars listed by the Minister for the Cabinet Office (HC Deb, 287W) in the fleet operated by the Government Car and Despatch Agency are used by Ministers and senior officials in the Department for Education and Employment; and whether they will list them by number, type and make.[HL3312]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given by my right honourable friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office today.

School Performance Indicators: Pupils Recently Arrived from Overseas

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will adjust the performance indicators of schools which take large numbers of asylum seekers' children to ensure that the school's statistical record does not suffer as a result.[HL3321]

Baroness Blackstone: In the light of representations received from schools we have decided that pupils

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recently arrived from overseas, including children of asylum seekers and refugees, whose first language is not English should not be counted as on school rolls when calculating information for publication in the annual primary and secondary school performance tables.

This adjustment to the tables will apply from this year and will only affect information published on individual schools and local education authorities. National level statistics, against which the Government's performance towards its literacy and numeracy targets at age 11 and the GCSE targets at age 15 are measured, will continue to be compiled on the same basis as in the past.

House of Lords: New Office Accommodation

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Further to his Written Answer on 10 July (WA8), on how many square feet the House of Lords will pay £33.50 per square foot for the lease of 7 Little College Street and Millbank House. [HL3299]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): On approximately 28,500 square feet, resulting in an annual rent for office space of approximately £955,000. The total annual rent will be

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approximately £1,035,000, which includes the rent (at a lower rate per square foot) for the basement.

House of Lords: Members' Postal Arrangements

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

    What will be the financial saving to the House of Lords of the proposed changes in Members' postal arrangements; and what will be the effect on the staff. [HL3325]

The Chairman of Committees: The change in the Members' postal service is not intended to make financial savings but to provide a more efficient service for Members and to improve the quality of work for Attendants, who will no longer have to sort and redirect mail. These tasks will be taken over by the Royal Mail.

The cost of the service will be £68,000 per year (including VAT, which will be recoverable). Two Attendant posts will be saved at a cost of about £14,000 each, and the new service will also contribute to the leaner staffing of the new office accommodation in Millbank House. There will be no redundancies among the Attendants because staff will be needed to service Millbank House.



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