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Written Answers

Volume 405: debated on Friday 16 May 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 16 May 2003

Prime Minister

House Of Lords Appointments Commission

To ask the Prime Minister when he last met Lord Stevenson to discuss the work of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. [113593]

I have regular meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals on a wide range of subjects. As with previous administrations, it is not my practice to provide details of confidential discussions, under exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Iraq

To ask the Prime Minister what proposals he has made to President Bush for (a) the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq and (b) for other means of international verification of future discoveries of Saddam Hussein's alleged stocks of weapons of mass destruction; and what reply he received. [113013]

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye arid Inverness West (Mr. Kennedy) at Prime Minister's questions on 14 May 2003, Official Report, column 307.

To ask the Prime Minister whether he invited the then Secretary of State for International Development to comment in writing on the draft UN Resolution on Iraq, tabled by the UK and USA, before 8 May. [113594]

As with previous Governments, it is not my practice to provide details of confidential discussions, under Exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Northern Ireland

Police Recruitment

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many applications were received from (a) Roman Catholics and (b) Protestants for the most recent recruitment intake to the Police Service for Northern Ireland; and how many (i) Roman Catholic and (ii) Protestant applicants have been accepted for recruitment to the PSNI in this intake. [113785]

Application and appointment numbers to date from the Police Service of Northern Ireland's recruitment competitions 3 and 4 are as follows.

ProtestantRoman CatholicNon-determinedTotal
Competition 3
Applications2,9711,640634,674
Appointments79830162
Competition 4
Applications2,8171,477744,368
Appointments3037068
Further appointments remain to be made from both Competitions 3 and 4.Competition 5 was launched in March 2003, and has attracted over 6,000 applicants, of whom 36.6 per cent, are Catholic. The selection process is ongoing, and appointments will not commence until the autumn.

Work And Pensions

Benefits Payment

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the future take-up of direct payment of benefits in (a) 2003–04, (b) 2004–05 and (c) 2005–06. [113581]

[holding answer 15 May 2003]: The huge numbers of customers involved in the conversion process mean the changes will be phased over a two-year period which started earlier in 2003.We have a published target in our public service agreement to pay 85 per cent, of customers by Direct Payment by 2005.

Defence

Export Licences

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what undertakings the US has given on waiving bilateral export licensing requirements for unclassified information for exports to the UK. [113060]

The United Kingdom and United States Governments are in the process of negotiating a waiver from the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This would provide for export licensing requirements to be waived in the case of certain unclassified defence items and technical data to Her Majesty's Government and qualified companies in the UK.We look forward to the successful conclusion of the agreement.

Illegal Arms Supply

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria are used in assessing whether a country is likely to be a conduit for arms supply to banned countries. [112291]

I have been asked to reply.The risk of diversion of strategically controlled goods, to a third country is considered at the time of application for a licence, when this possibility is considered against Criterion 7 of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Criterion 7 addresses the existence of a risk that the equipment will be diverted within the buyer country or re-exported under undesirable conditions and includes consideration of the capability of the recipient country to exert effective export controls.

Afghanistan

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the continued existence of terrorist networks in the regions of Afghanistan outside the control of the International Security Assistance Force; and what counter-measures his Department is taking to address this. [112697]

Al-Qaeda continues to pose a threat both to Afghanistan and more widely, despite considerable success against their leaders and operations. The United Kingdom remains committed to assisting President Karzai's Government in building a strong, independent Afghanistan committed to eradicating terrorism. The Security Sector Reform programme aims to bring lasting stability to all the Afghan people through building up the capabilities of the Afghans to ensure their own country's security and stability. I refer the hon. Member to the statement my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence made on 8 May 2003, Official Report, columns 38–40WS, regarding the UK leadership of a Provincial Reconstruction Team.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what steps his Department is taking to improve the stability of the regions of Afghanistan outside Kabul and its immediate environs; [112698](2) what plans he has to extend the peacekeeping duties of British forces in Afghanistan beyond Kabul and the surrounding areas. [112699]

British forces in Afghanistan are not engaged in peacekeeping duties although they do contribute towards the International Security Assistance Force; there are no plans to expand the remit of the force beyond Kabul. I refer the hon. Member to the written statement given to the House on 8 May 2003, Official Report, columns 38–40WS, regarding Provincial Reconstruction Teams.

Antonov

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions the MoD has chartered civilian Antonov An-124s in each month in the past two years. [112691]

Antonov An-124s were chartered in the following months and numbers during the last two financial years:

Month/YearNumber
October 200116
December 20014
January 200220
February 200226
March 200220
April 200232
May 20024
June 20028
Month/YearNumber
July 200218
August 20029
October 20023
November 20021
January 20039
February 200356
March 200336

Armed Forces (Operational Duty)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the (a) Army, (b) air force and (c) Navy was on operational duty at the start of each month since April 2001. [113250]

Data on personnel deployed on operations and other Military Tasks is collected on a quarterly basis as part of the Ministry of Defence's performance management process. Percentage figures for each quarter since April 2001 are shown as follows. These figures do not include personnel preparing for operations, recovering from operations or engaged in training. Information for the last quarter of 2002–03 is still in the course of compilation and the figures are provisional.

Percentage of trained strength deployed on operations and other military tasks
Service
ArmyNavy (including Marines)RAF
2001–02
April-June21.89.511.9
July-September25.68.412.7
October-December26.316.716.7
January-March23.915.713.1
2002–03
April-June24.617.512.6
July-September23.91310.9
October-December32.516.519.1
January-March55.628.521.8

Armilla Patrol

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the commitment of Royal Navy warships and personnel to the Gulf region; if the Armilla patrol will continue; and if he will make a statement. [112020]

I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence's two Written Ministerial Statements on Iraq Force Level Adjustments of 11 April 2003, Official Report, columns 38–39WS and 30 April 2003, Official Report, columns 15–16WS. Royal Naval force levels in the Gulf region will remain under review.

Bowman Communication System

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he intends that MRAV and ETS will be fitted with (a) Bowman and (b) Clansman radio systems. [110015]

Our intention is to provide Bowman capability on all the armoured vehicle platforms we are planning to bring into service.

Brimstone Weapon

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date he expects the Brimstone air-launched anti-armour weapon to be in service. [112481]

The entry into service of the Brimstone, air launched anti-armour weapon has been delayed because of technical factors that have emerged during the development and trials of the missile and its production. A revised date is currently under review.

Cluster Munitions

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the UK armed forces' use of cluster bombs in military operations. [113737]

Cluster bombs are a legitimate weapon that provide a capability against certain targets, in particular targets that cover an area, which cannot be

£000
ProvisionOutturn
1997–981
Vote 1 Operational and Support Costs10,145,38710,068,343
Vote 2 Logistic Services4,806,6384,697,410
Vote 3 Systems Procurement and Research6,353,5986,150,142
Vote 4 Armed Forces retired pay, pensions etc1,121,7761,126,210
1998–991
Vote 1 Operational and Support Costs10,885,79210,922,188
Vote 2 Logistic Services5,027,2115,027,921
Vote 3 Systems Procurement and Research6,856,9266,526,112
Vote 4 Armed Forces retired pay, pensions etc1,191,4541,169,138
1999–20001
Vote 1 Operational and Support Costs, Logistic Services and Systems Procurement and Research22,866,88822,549,260
Vote 2 Armed Forces retired pay, pensions etc.1,270,0911,262,289
2000–011
Vote 1 Operational and Support Costs, Logistic Services and Systems Procurement and Research23,609,63123,537,721
Vote 2 Armed Forces retired pay, pensions etc.1,342,1951,267,002
Source:
Appropriation Accounts
2 I will write separately with the information for 2001–02 giving a full explanation of the components of the provision and outturn figures introduced with Resource Accounting and Budgeting and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Defence Logistics Organisation

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what departmental savings have been achieved by the Defence Logistical Organisation; and whether they have met the funding assumptions of the Strategic Defence Review. [112563]

[holding answer 13 May 2003]: Savings achieved by the Defence Logistics Organisation are recorded against its overall efficiency target to reduce the costs of its outputs by 20 per cent, by March 2006. Details of the DLO's performance against its strategic goal to March 2002 are contained in my answer on 15 January 2003, Official Report, column 634W, to the hon. Member for Newark (Patrick Mercer). Subject to final validation, it is estimated that a farther 2 per cent, efficiency savings have been achieved in 2002–03.

effectively achieved in other ways. United Kingdom armed forces always use them strictly in accordance with the provisions of international law.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had regarding extending the ban on anti-personnel mines to cover cluster munitions. [112599]

Defence Budget

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) provision and (b) outturn for the defence budget was, in cash terms, broken down by (i) Vote and (ii) Request for Resources in each year since 1997–98. [109141]

The figures for each year from 1997–98 to 2000–01 are set out in the table below. From 2001–02 onwards the Defence budget was set on a Resource basis, which includes accruals, rather than cash. The figures for 2001–02 have not been included therefore, as they are not directly comparable to those for earlier years.The strategic defence review placed several targets on the newly formed Defence Logistics Organisation. The targets shown as follows, for which there were identified financial savings, have been achieved.

20 per cent. (GBV 98 Baseline) stock reduction by 2001–02,
Reduction in spares provision of £115 million per annum by 2001–02

Other on-going targets have been subsumed within the DLO's overall efficiency target.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how long the Defence Logistics Organisation needs to deploy fully equipment to forces once they are in-theatre. [112025]

The onward movement of equipment within a theatre of operations is the responsibility of the local military commander. Equipment and supplies are delivered to units in accordance with the military priority at the time and the overall delivery time will depend on a number of factors. These include the distance between the port or holding area and the receiving unit, the condition of local infrastructure, and whether the environment is hostile or benign. Delivery times will, therefore, vary from case to case.

Defence Vetting Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) the unit cost of vetting individuals by the Defence Vetting Agency and (b) the estimated cost of vetting individuals through a private contractor; and if he will make a statement. [111840]

The unit costs of vetting individuals for the main types of vetting clearances are as follows:

£
Counter Terrorist Check (CTC)27
Security Check (SC)34
Developed Vetting (DV) Initial1,101
Developed Vetting (DV) Review672
These are the average costs, and are based on the last full Defence Vetting Agency Annual Accounts (2001–02). They exclude Security Service costs, of which the Ministry of Defence has no visibility.The estimated costs of vetting individuals through a private contractor have not been considered. The proposal to create the Defence Vetting Agency was subjected to a prior options study, which involved the various stakeholders, including the Security Service. The study reached the conclusion that personnel security vetting was a core MOD function. This view is subject to the Quinquennial Review (now Business Review) process. A Business Review of the Defence Vetting Agency is currently under way, and will consider whether vetting could be provided by other means.

Democratic Republic Of The Congo

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the current war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [112610]

The United Kingdom is actively engaged with our African, EU and UN partners in promoting a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Government have supported the implementation of both the Lusaka Peace Agreement and the Pretoria Agreement of July 2002 as providing the most viable way forward.We welcome the agreement signed last month in Sun City on the establishment of a transitional government with a view to democratic elections in two years time and will play our part as a member of the International Support Committee tasked with supporting the transitional process in DR Congo. We are concerned at reports of fighting in the North East of the country and look to all parties to abide by UNSCR 1468 and honour their commitments under the Lusaka Agreement.

Discarded Military Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had on clearing up and removal of discarded military equipment; what financial resources he has to do this work; and if he will make a statement. [112052]

United Kingdom forces have destroyed some caches of weaponry discarded by the Iraqi military. A nationwide systematic process of disarmament and decommissioning will be a matter for a new Iraqi government, drawing on the expertise of the international community and organisations like the UN.

E-Government Projects

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list by project the consultancies his Department and its non-departmental public bodies have used on e-government projects since 1 January 2001. [114184]

As it will take some time for the information requested to be collated, I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Eurofighter

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of total UK expenditure on (a) research and development for and (b) the production of the Eurofighter has been spent in Wales. [Transferred] [113118]

[holding answer 13 May 2003]: Payment arrangements for Eurofighter Typhoon are managed by the prime contractors. The Ministry of Defence does not have visibility of the geographical allocation of work (and hence expenditure) within the United Kingdom.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had regarding a change in the UK's purchase of Eurofighter Typhoons from 232 machines. [111587]

We keep the size and shape of the forward equipment programme under constant review. Our commitment to the Typhoon programme remains undiminished.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures the Government is taking to ensure that the (a) cost of weapons integration and (b) benefits of inter-operability in the Eurofighter Typhoon project are shared equitably between the participating countries. [112441]

The cost of weapons integration is shared between the countries electing to fit those weapons under arrangements set out in Memoranda of Understanding between the participating countries.Typhoon is designed to be interoperable with all the participating countries' air forces and each country will have both common and non-common weaponry requirements to meet their individual needs. Commonality of software and hardware will benefit the air forces when the aircraft are deployed and makes it cheaper and quicker to adopt, at a later stage, weapons that are in use with other participating countries.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft the Government intends to purchase; when the order for tranche 2 will be placed; and what progress is being made on the development of a ground attack version of the aircraft. [111912]

[holding answer 8 May 2003]: Under the four nation memoranda of understanding, the United Kingdom has undertaken to acquire 232 aircraft out of a total production of 620. We expect that the four partner nations will place the order for Tranche 2 aircraft, of which the UK share is 89, later this year. Typhoon aircraft are planned progressively to incorporate ground attack capabilities and early aircraft are planned to be upgraded through a retro-fit programme.

Falkland Islands

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what Royal Navy warships are on station at the Falkland Islands; and what Royal Fleet Auxiliary support is available. [112014]

The Falkland Island Patrol Vessel, HMS Leeds Castle, is currently on station providing a permanent Royal Navy presence in and around the Falkland Islands Area of Responsibility (FIAOR). The Atlantic Patrol Task (South) (APT(S)) tanker, RFA Gold Rover, is scheduled to deploy to the South Atlantic in early May 2003 while the APT(S) duty ship, HMS Lancaster, is scheduled to deploy in early July 2003.

Far East Naval Deployment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which vessels will continue with the Naval Task Group 03 deployment to the Far East. [112083]

I refer the hon. Member to the written statement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 11 April 2003, Official Report, columns 38–39WS, concerning the redeployment of HMS Marlborough and HMS Liverpool, together with RFA Grey Rover, from operations in the Gulf to the Far East. These ships constitute a reduced Naval Task Group (NTG) 03. Both HMS Marlborough and HMS Liverpool were part of the original NTG 03 deployment before being called upon, with the rest of the Task Group, for contingent operations in support of Operation TELIC.

Gibraltar

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are for the use of the Gibraltar base in potential future conflicts and peacekeeping operations. [112011]

Gibraltar has been and continues to be an important overseas base for the British armed forces. It contains valuable support, logistic, communications and training facilities, which will be used for future missions as appropriate.

Guided Multiple Rocket Launch System

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the (a) forecast in-service date, (b) forecast date of main gate approval and (c) forecast cost of the assessment phase of the GMLRS; and how many rockets will be procured. [111828]

The in service date for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) will not be set until the project receives its main investment approval to proceed to development and manufacture (Main Gate), but current estimates are that the capability will become available in the second half of this decade; the project is due for Main Gate consideration later this year.Initial approval of GMLRS pre-dates the SMART acquisition process. The United Kingdom participated in a United States led Engineering Manufacture and Development Programme which was of a greater scope than an assessment phase; the cost of the UK's participation in this phase was around £20 million.The number of rockets to be procured will be in the region of 5,000; the actual number will be subject to approval at Main Gate.

Hercules

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on centre-of-gravity problems with the RAF's short-fuselage C-130J Hercules C5 aircraft. [112684]

The centre of gravity for all transport aircraft has to be managed carefully to ensure that aircraft remain within safe operating parameters.The Hercules C-130J Mk5 is cleared for use in accordance with the Military Airworthiness Release and Release to Service, which detail the limitations and configurations of the aircraft operation. The centre-of-gravity of the Mk5 is a known limiting factor on certain aircraft configurations and is overcome by the use of ballast.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what reports he has received of squadron pilots refusing to fly the RAF's short-fuselage C-130J Hercules C5 aircraft in certain operational configurations owing to concerns over centre-of-gravity problems. [112685]

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the fleet utilisation of the RAF's short-fuselage C-130J Hercules C5 aircraft was in the last 12 months; and what the utilisation was of (a) the long-fuselage Hercules C4 fleet and (b) the remaining C-130K variants. [112686]

Fleet utilisation is not a term in common usage within the RAF. Officials have therefore interpreted this to be the average number of hours flown over the last 12 months per aircraft for each Hercules type.

Aircraft TypeAverage hours flown per aircraft
Hercules C-130J C5 (short-fuselage)436.50
Hercules C-130J C4 (long-fuselage)1,033.93
Hercules C-13 OK C1508.80
Hercules C-13 OK C3807.20

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of the RAF's fleet of short-fuselage C-130J Hercules C5 aircraft. [112692]

Total hours flown per month by each aircraft type
Aircraft type/ number of aircraftAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctober
C5(J)/10290377401301384476320
C4(J)/151,0458861,0391,3551,2521,3321,237
C3(K)/202,1311,6541,4921,2371,1011,4241,546
C1(K)/531826448712720037358
Total hours flown per month by each aircraft type
Aircraft type/number of aircraftNovemberDecemberJanuaryFebruaryMarchTotal flying hours
C5(J)/102541944093256344,365
C4(J)/151,1771,0981,3792,1121,59715,509
C3(K)/201,2151,0511,0211,0591,21316,144
C1(K)/5361412181212012,544
Total Hercules flying hours during last 12 months38,562

Source:

Strike Command Monthly summary of statistics

Hms Victory

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what additional work is taking place to allow HMS Victory to play a role in the 200th Anniversary of Trafalgar; and what the cost is. [113855]

No specific work is being carried out on HMS Victory to support the Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 2005 and therefore no funding has been identified or allocated.

Infantry Tours

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which infantry regiments have had a 24-month tour interval in the past five years. [112012]

Of the 40 Infantry Battalions, the 29 Battalions listed as follows are expected to achieve at least one 24 month tour interval between deployments in the period January 1999 to December 2003. Deployments have been defined as unaccompanied unit level operational tours.

  • 1st Bn Grenadier Guards
  • 1st Bn Coldstream Guards
  • 1st Bn Scots Guards
  • 1st Bn Irish Guards
  • 1st Bn Welsh Guards
  • 1st Bn The Royal Scots
  • 1st Bn The Royal Highland Fusiliers

The Hercules C-130J Mk 5 aircraft came into service with the RAF in 2000 and forms part of the combined Hercules C-130J and C-130K fleet. The Hercules fleet provides a strategic lift capability for the RAF and it is currently planned that the C-130J Mk 5 will have a service life well into the present century.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many hours have been flown in each of the last 12 months by (a) the RAF's short-fuselage C-130J Hercules C5 aircraft, (b) the long-fuselage Hercules C4s and (c) C-130K Hercules variants. [112693]

The following table shows the number of flying hours achieved for each Hercules aircraft type over the last 12 months:

  • 1st Bn The King's Own Scottish Borderers
  • 1st Bn The Black Watch
  • 1st Bn The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
  • 1st Bn The Highlanders
  • 1st Bn The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
  • 2nd Bn The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
  • 1st Bn The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
  • 1st Bn The Royal Anglian Regiment
  • 1st Bn The King's Own Royal Border Regiment
  • 1st Bn The King's Regiment
  • 1st Bn The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire
  • 1st Bn The Green Howards
  • 1st Bn The Queen's Lancashire Regiment
  • 1st Bn The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment
  • 1st Bn The Royal Welch Fusiliers
  • 1st Bn The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment
  • 1st Bn The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment
  • 1st Bn The Light Infantry
  • 2nd Bn The Light Infantry
  • 1st Bn The Royal Green Jackets
  • 2nd Bn The Royal Green Jackets
  • 1st Bn The Royal Gurkha Rifles

Intelligence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many (a) agents and (b) covert human intelligence sources are receiving pensions; [112277]

(2) what the cost was of (a) the 14th Intelligence Unit, (b) the Forward Reconnaissance Unit, (c) the Force Research Unit and (d) the Joint Services Group, in each of the last five years; [112523]

(3) what the mission was of the Force Research Unit. [112520]

I am withholding the information requested in accordance with Exemption 1a (Defence, security and international relations) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) predecessor and (b) successor bodies were to the Force Research Unit; and when each body was (i) established and (ii) disbanded. [112521]

I am withholding the information requested in accordance with Exemption 1a (Defence, security and international relations) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the replacement of ordnance used during the Iraq conflict; and what changes this might imply for UK armed forces armoury. [111813]

Ordnance usage during the Iraq conflict will be assessed by the Ministry of Defence as part of its wider post-operational assessment It is too soon to say how this might affect the United Kingdom armoury.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the helicopters deployed to Operation Telic together with the serviceability rates for each aircraft. [111822]

The number of helicopters, by type, deployed to Operation TELIC is listed.

Helicopter typeNumber deployed to operation TELIC
Chinook20
Gazelle16
Lynx Mk 36
Lynx Mk 722
Lynx Mk 84
Lynx Mk 92
Merlin Mk 14
Puma7
Sea King Mk 410
Sea King Mk 66
Sea King Mk 74
Post operational reporting will provide analysis and assessment of the performance of equipment deployed on operations in Iraq. It would, therefore, be premature for me to provide a detailed assessment of the performance of helicopters at this stage. However, early indications are that the helicopters deployed to Operation TELIC performed very well.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the operational effectiveness of the containers handling rough terrain during Operation Telic; and what the average time was for moving containers. [111825]

There are two types of container handling equipment in theatre, the Rough Terrain Container Handling and the Container Handling Rough Terrain. The two pieces of equipment have provided a complementary capability, both have played a vital role in the logistical operations in the Gulf. Data on the length of time taken to move a container is not recorded.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what steps are being taken to destroy unexploded munitions in Iraq; [111918](2) what steps are being taken to protect

(a) children and (b) adults from unexploded munitions in Iraq. [111919]

Basra and its environs are likely to contain a significant number of unexploded munitions from the Iran-Iraq war as well as mines laid by Iraqi forces, unexploded ordnance fired or dropped during recent hostilities and stores of ammunition and other ordnance left by Iraqi military and paramilitary forces.Providing a safe, secure and risk free environment for the Iraqi people is a key aspect of restoration activity for the Coalition. When unexploded munitions are discovered Coalition forces' mark the site and inform those in the vicinity. Their normal practice is then to destroy them in situ. Those that present the greatest threat to human life and coalition operations are destroyed first.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the UK naval base in Gibraltar was fully utilised for operations in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [112009]

The Gibraltar naval base was employed in support of recent operations in Iraq. Some vessels from the Naval Task Group headed by HMS Ark Royal called at Gibraltar en route to the Gulf and elements of the Air Group also embarked via Gibraltar as the Task Group transited east.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what problems have been reported with desert boots issued to members of the armed forces serving in Operation Telic. [112028]

No problems have been reported to date through the official defect reporting system regarding desert boots issued to members of our armed forces serving in Kuwait or Iraq.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance is being given by (a) the Royal Marines and (b) the Royal Navy to facilitate the reconstruction of Iraq. [112250]

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines have played a crucial role in facilitating the reconstruction of Iraq. In particular, their efforts alongside United States forces in liberating the port of Umm Qasr, and in clearing the Khawr Abd Allah waterway of mines and obstructions should be commended. Umm Qasr is one of the key points of entry for humanitarian aid into Iraq, and RFA Sir Galahad, carrying food, water and medical supplies, arrived in the port on 28 March.

Joint Strike Fighter

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Joint Strike Fighters he intends to order for the Royal Navy. [112265]

The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has been selected to meet our Future Joint Combat Aircraft (FJCA) requirement, to replace the current Harrier aircraft of Joint Force Harrier (JHF). FJCA will be flown by both Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel, from the new carriers and land bases. While no final decisions have yet been taken, our planning assumption is based on 150 of the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of JSF being acquired to meet the FJCA Requirement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will take measures to ensure that weapons stocks procured before the Joint Strike Fighter enters UK service will be able to operate efficiently on the JSF; [112438](2) if it is his policy that measures will be taken to ensure that UK air-launched weapons stocks can more fully inter-operate with US aircraft and vice versa; [112440](3) if he will make a statement on the extent to which the UK's air launched weapons stocks can inter-operate with US aircraft, and vice versa, in current operations. [112439]

The interoperability of air launched weapons with our allies is one of a number of factors considered when procuring new systems.The United Kingdom has a number of air launched weapons which could be inter-operable with United States aircraft and vice versa, such as Maverick, for example. However it is not usual practice to share stocks as notionally common weapons often have different national sub-systems, such as fuzes. Changes to these would therefore be required before the weapons could be used by other nations' aircraft.During the acquisition of air launched weapons due consideration is given to their potential to operate effectively from JSF if they are likely to be in use when JSF is in service.

Mr Sean O'callaghan

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what payments have been made to Mr. Sean O'Callaghan. [112549]

[holding answer 13 May 2003]: I am withholding the information requested in accordance with Exemption la of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Naval Nuclear Regulatory Panel

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library the minutes of meetings of the Naval Nuclear Regulatory Panel since 1997. [114074]

The Naval Nuclear Regulatory Panel formed in 1999. As part of the panel's commitment to make information about inspection and regulatory activities publicly available, quarterly reports are routinely issued to regulated sites for distribution to members of site Local Liaison Committees. I am arranging for past copies of these quarterly reports to be placed in the Library of the House.

Next Geneation Light Anti-Armour Weapon

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the NLAW will use depleted uranium; how much will be procured; when the forecast in-service date is; and if he will make a statement. [111829]

There are no plans to use depleted uranium, in the Next Generation Light Anti-Armour Weapon (NLAW) programme. NLAW has an approved In-service Date of 2007.

Non-Precision Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the margin of error for non-precision weapons is when used from a height of 150,000 ft. [113245]

Aircraft do not generally fly at 150,000 ft and would not drop bombs from this altitude. I have therefore assumed an altitude of 15,000 ft. when answering this question. When dropped from this altitude, the average accuracy for non-precision weapons is as follows:

  • 540 lb and 1,000 lb free-fall bomb: 200 ft
  • RBL-755 cluster bomb: 230 ft
This will of course depend on the weapon delivery profile and operational circumstances. The accuracy of both precision and non-precision weapons and the need to minimise, as far as possible, collateral damage is considered during the targeting process. We continue to make efforts to improve the accuracy of both precision and non-precision weapons by enhancements to aircraft navigation systems and through our ability to calculate more precise target co-ordinates.

Nuclear Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contribution the UK has made to the USA's programme for a new generation of earth penetrating nuclear weapons. [112196]

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken since the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference in 2000 to increase the transparency of United Kingdom nuclear weapons capability. [111706]

During and since the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, the United Kingdom has taken various steps to enhance transparency about its nuclear weapons capability.The UK has given a figure for our total nuclear warhead stockpile which is unprecedentedly precise, and has given an exact figure for the number of

warheads carried by the submarine on deterrent patrol. No other nuclear weapon state has given such detailed information. We have also:

continued to provide updated information about the costs of the Trident system;
placed fissile material no longer required for defence purposes under international safeguards and all enrichment and reprocessing facilities in the UK are now liable to international inspection. We have also been more transparent about our nuclear and fissile material stockpiles and begun national historical accounting for fissile material produced, including the publication in April 2000 of a report on Historical Accounting and Plutonium; and
agreed an Additional Protocol to our safeguards agreement with the IAEA and EURATOM. It will enter into force when the rest of the EU has completed the necessary steps.

The Government are committed to transparency and openness about the defence nuclear programme when compatible with continuing security requirements and the UK's international obligations under Article 1 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Operation Endeavour

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the command of Operation Endeavour; [112008](2) what contribution

(a) the UK and (b) Spain is making to Operation Endeavour; and if he will make a statement. [112010]

NATO's maritime Operation Active Endeavour was mounted as a part of NATO's Article 5 response following the World Trade Centre attacks in 2001. The operation now covers the entire Mediterranean, with NATO warships conducting surveillance and interdiction operations in the east, and those working in the west, ie the Straits of Gibraltar, conducting monitoring, surveillance and escorting duties.Command of the Operation is exercised through the NATO Command Structure. The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) exercises command through the Joint Force Commander, the Commander in Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH) based in Naples. Day to day command of the operation is exercised by the local Maritime Component Commander, Commander Naval Forces Southern Europe, again based in Naples.The United Kingdom and Spain have participated in the operation since its outset, primarily through the deployment of NATO's Standing Naval Forces.Currently, the UK commits two ships to the operation, HMS Cornwall and HMS Northumberland. Command of the formations rotates between the NATO Nations; currently the UK is commanding Standing Naval Forces Atlantic, which is conducting the eastern element of the operation, from HMS Cornwall, while a Spanish officer commands the western element from SPS Extramadura. This ship is in lieu of her Standing Naval Force commitment, and is supported by a Spanish corvette, or fast patrol boat and a helicopter operating from ashore.

Operation Telic

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the construction of Marchwood military port to the success of Operation Telic. [112252]

Sea Mounting Centre Marchwood played an essential part in the success of Operation Telic, since it is configured and roled for just such an operational deployment Of the 46 vessels which deployed from the UK, 32 were loaded at Marchwood.

Peacekeeping (Africa)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress the United Kingdom has made with developing a plan which will enable Africa by 2010 to deploy a brigade sustainable in the field for 18 months for peacekeeping operations. [113659]

Since the G8 summit at Kananaskis in June 2002, G8 nations, including the United Kingdom, have been working with African partners to develop a joint action plan so that, by 2010, African countries and regional and sub-regional organisations are able to engage more effectively to prevent and resolve violent conflict on the continent, and undertake peace support operations in accordance with the United Nations Charter.A draft plan is still under discussion with the African Union and other partners. No decisions have yet been made on the size or sustainability of a possible African standby peacekeeping force.

Raf Coltishall

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he intends to announce a decision on the future of RAF Coltishall. [112565]

[holding answer 13 May 2003]: A decision on the future use of RAF Coltishall, the base for the Jaguar, will be made nearer the time of the Jaguar's withdrawal from RAF service, which is planned to take place by 2009.

Regimental Strengths

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) establishment and (b) strength is of (i) 1 Bn The King's Regiment, (ii) 1 Bn The King's Own Scottish Borderers and (iii) 1 Bn The Queen's Lancashire Regiment. [113959]

The establishment and strength, as at 1 April 2003, of 1 Bn The Kings Regiment, 1 Bn The King's Own Scottish Borderers and 1 Bn The Queen's Lancashire Regiment are detailed in the following table:

EstablishmentStrength
1 Bn The King's Regiment586541
1 Bn The King's Own Scottish Borderers556505
1 Bn The Queen's Lancashire Regiment555543

Royal Fleet Auxiliary

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects (a) RFA Largs Bay and (b) RFA Lyme Bay to enter service. [112270]

The First of Class Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary), RFA Largs Bay, is expected to enter service in autumn 2004. RFA Lyme Bay is due in service by summer 2005.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the work of Royal Navy minehunters during the Gulf conflict. [112272]

During the recent conflict with Iraq the Mine Countermeasures Vessels HMS Ledbury, HMS Grimsby, HMS Sandown, HMS Brocklesby, HMS Blyth and HMS Bangor operated as part of a combined UK/US Task Unit under the Command of a United Kingdom Mine Countermeasures Commander. Their role was to clear the approaches to the Iraqi primary commercial port of Umm Qasr of any sea mines to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered as quickly as possible.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the work of RFA Argus during the Gulf conflict. [112269]

During the recent conflict with Iraq, RFA Argus provided support to the Amphibious Task Group and operated as the Primary Casualty Reception Facility, providing for the medical needs, both routine and emergency, of Service and displaced personnel

Royal Navy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what Royal Navy helicopter presence will remain in the Gulf after the return of HMS Ocean and HMS Ark Royal. [112262]

Royal Navy helicopters will be assigned to those surface ships that are allocated to operations in the Gulf. Additionally, five RN Sea King MM aircraft will be remaining in Iraq for the next phase of Operation Telic.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what unmanned aerial vehicles he intends to acquire for Royal Navy use. [112266]

We have no current plans to acquire unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for Royal Navy use. However we are planning a Joint UAV Experimentation Programme to examine the potential role of UAVs including, potentially, Royal Navy use.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent progress there has been on repairs to HMS Nottingham. [112273]

Work on HMS Nottingham began in December 2002. Repairs to the structure of the hull are expected to be completed by the end of May and work to strip out and replace damaged equipment, electrical rewiring and painting is progressing well. HMS Nottingham is expected to return to operational service, as planned, in November 2004.

Sierra Leone

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role the Royal Navy is undertaking in respect of Sierra Leone. [112255]

The United Kingdom has maintained a twin track strategy in Sierra Leone, supporting the UN mission and providing training, advice and assistance to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) and the democratically elected Government of Sierra Leone. A UK-led International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT) continues to help build the RSLAF into an effective, professional and democratically accountable force. A number of Royal Navy personnel currently serve in the IMATT.To show continued UK commitment to Sierra Leone, Royal Navy vessels are deployed to Sierra Leone waters. In February HMS Iron Duke and RFA Black Rover deployed to Sierra Leone. The next scheduled visit, by RFA Gold Rover, is due later this month.

Smart Munitions

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the smart munitions in the UK inventory, including in each case the (a) unit cost and (b) total number of each unit expected to be procured; and what the total budget is for such weapons in each financial year until 2006. [111838]

For the purposes of this question a 'smart munition' has been defined as one with an autonomous ability to engage a designated target with a high degree of precision.Using this definition, the following smart munitions are held in the United Kingdom inventory; Tomahawk Land Attack Missile, Paveway II, Enhanced Paveway II, Paveway III, Enhanced Paveway III, Sidewinder, Alarm, Sky Flash, AMRAAM (AIM-120B), Maverick and Sea Skua.I am with holding details of unit cost, numbers and total budget in accordance with Exemptions 1 and 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Stevens Inquiry

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the findings of the Stevens Inquiry relating to the use of informants, with particular reference to Agent Stakeknife. [112548]

[holding answer 13 May 2003]: Sir John Stevens' overview and recommendations published on 17 April 2003 made clear that his inquiries and specific criminal investigations are continuing and that his recommendations cover the operations of all security forces in Northern Ireland. It would therefore be inappropriate for the Ministry of Defence to comment.

Strategic Trends Paper

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place a copy of the Joint Doctrine and Concepts Centre paper on Strategic Trends in the Library. [113061]

I have placed a copy in the Library today. An electronic version is also available at www.jdcc.mod.uk/trends.htm.

Submarines

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when (a) HMS Astute, (b) HMS Artful and (c) HMS Ambush will be operational. [112015]

In accordance with announcements made on 19 February this year, an agreement was reached between the Government and BAE Systems on both the Astute and Nimrod programmes. The exact details of the agreement required to establish formally the new financial structure and the revised in-service dates are being agreed.The Government will report further when this has been achieved.

Type 45 Destroyer

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether all Type-45 destroyers will be equipped with Merlin helicopters. [111321]

All Type-45 destroyers will be capable of carrying Merlin Mk 1 helicopters. However, at any particular time, they will carry the type of helicopter most appropriate to their tasking.

Cabinet Office

Departmental Report

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when he will publish the Cabinet Office Departmental Report 2003. [114686]

The Cabinet Office Departmental Report 2003 has today been laid before Parliament by my right hon. and noble Friend Lord Macdonald of Tradeston. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Trade And Industry

African Trade

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made by the Whitehall Africa Trade Group in drawing up terms of reference for a G8 study of how to improve preferential access schemes in G8 countries. [113648]

I have been asked to reply.This study comparing the G8 preferential market access schemes for African and least developed countries is now underway and preliminary findings are expected in June. The study will aim to produce a basis for practical proposals on improving G8 market access for African goods by identifying which aspects of these schemes have the greatest impact on African exports and identify possible areas of trade related technical assistance that can help countries increase their utilisation of the schemes. The Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex is undertaking the research drawing on work by the World bank and UNCTAD on impacts of preferential market access schemes. The importance of the work was noted by G8 trade and development experts, meeting in Brussels in January, to discuss the G8 Africa Action Plan trade commitments.

British Business Assistance

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list her Department's schemes and services which have been initiated to assist British businesses; when they were opened; what expenditure has been committed; how many companies have received assistance from each scheme; and how much has been expended by way of assistance to business by each scheme to date. [113217]

The information necessary to answer this question is not held centrally on a database and retrieving it would incur disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much her Department has expended on advertising and promoting each scheme and service for assisting British business since 1997. [113219]

The information necessary to answer this question is not held centrally on a database and retrieving it would incur disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what procedures are in place for measuring the effectiveness of her Department's schemes and services which have been initiated to assist British business. [113222]

The DTI routinely commissions a programme of independent evaluations of the impact of its business support programmes, the results of which are normally published in full. Individual evaluations are subject to peer review through a specialised expert committee to ensure that the methodology used is rigorous and appropriate, and that conclusions are soundly based. Following the DTI's recent review of business support, new and improved monitoring arrangements are also being put in place, using a balanced scorecard approach, to provide ongoing information about the extent to which new business support products are achieving their objectives and offering value for money.Further information about the Department's evaluation procedures is available on its web site at http://www.dti.gov.uk/about/evaluation, together with the results of past evaluations.

Broadband

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the availability of broadband technologies that do not use wire or cable to achieve connections; and if she will make a statement. [112657]

Broadband fixed wireless access offers broadband to around 12 per cent, of the UK and broadband via satellite is available across the UK.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with British Telecom about its technological capacity (a) to guarantee that where the broadband service is offered it can be properly and successfully provided and (b) to introduce broadband connectivity throughout the UK. [112995]

My Department maintains regular contacts with BT across a wide range of technological issues as we do with other broadband providers. The Broadband Stakeholder Group, consisting of key players throughout the broadband value chain from public and private sectors, exists to ensure the fastest possible roll out of broadband across the country while remaining technology neutral.Around 70 per cent, of the UK already has access to broadband.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she has taken to ensure that broadband provision becomes part of the universal service obligation in the EU review due by 2005. [113072]

Directive 2002/22/EC ("Universal Service Directive") concerns universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services.Article 36(3) requires the European Commission to review the functioning of the Directive for the first time in 2005 and to report to the European Parliament and to the Council. The member states and National Regulatory Authorities must supply the necessary information to the Commission for this purpose.When the review is announced the UK will provide information on all aspects of the functioning of the Directive requested by the Commission. It is too early to say at this stage whether it would be appropriate to consider broadband provision within the scope of the universal services to be mandated at Community level.

Deregulation

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when her Department will deliver its annual report on deregulation performance; and if she will make a statement. [112446]

[holding answer 12 May 2003]: The Department reports annually on progress in its Expenditure Plan Report. The report for 2002–03 will be published in August. The published reports are available on the departmental website www.dti.gov.uk.

Downstream Oil Industry Forum

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the results of the work of the Downstream Oil Industry Forum; and what its future plan of work is. [113278]

The Downstream Oil Industry Forum met twice in 2002 where it identified two important areas for priority attention:

  • Oil products supply infrastructure
  • Service to motorists in rural areas

The Forum has enabled a fruitful exchange of differing perspectives, which has enhanced understanding of these issues; discussions are continuing on issues, at a working level, which are aimed at benefiting all areas of the downstream oil industry.

Environmental Impact Assessments

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment is made of the environmental impact of a business, its products and services prior to the provision of a grant by one of her Department's schemes for business; who makes that assessment; and whether the assessments are published. [113220]

Environmental issues affecting businesses, their products and services are part of the criteria for a number of support schemes promoted by DTI. Such support includes promoting sustainable development, such as capital grants for renewable energy projects.

Eu Committees

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list (a) the names, titles and grades of the officials who sit on the EU committee on security of information systems, (b) the number of times, and the dates, on which it has met since January 2002, (c) the agenda items it has considered since January 2002, (d) the decisions it has made since January 2002 and (e) the means used to communicate the decisions to the House. [110291]

I refer to my answer on 22 May 2002, Official Report, column 385W. The committee has not met since that response and currently there are no plans for it to reconvene.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade arid Industry if she will list (a) the names, titles and grades of the officials who sit on the EU advisory committee on restrictive practices and dominant positions, (b) the number of times, and the dates, on which it has met since January 2002, (c) the agenda items it has considered since January 2002, (d) the decisions it has made since January 2002 and (e) the means used to communicate the decisions to the House. [110304]

The Advisory Committee on Restrictive Practices and Dominant Positions is the body through which the European Commission carries out its duty to consult member states on decisions and amendments to EC competition law which it proposes to adopt. Office of Fair Trading officials represent the UK at these meetings, but may be accompanied by officials from Government Departments and other regulators where they have a particular interest.Since January 2002, there have been 21 meetings of this Committee, as a result of which the European Commission adopted 16 decisions (10 prohibiting and fining cartels, one prohibiting and fining companies involved in restricting trade between member states and five granting exemptions for agreements or practices which would otherwise be prohibited under Article 81 of the EC Treaty). The process is transparent. The Commission issues a press release when it adopts a decision, and the full version of the decision is published

in the

Official Journal of the European Communities, as well as being made available on the Commission's website. Significant legislative changes which arise from meetings of the Advisory Committee are subject to the usual Parliamentary scrutiny process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list (a) the names, titles and grades of the officials who sit on the EU advisory committee on standardisation in the field of information technology, (b) the number of times, and the dates, on which it has met since January 2002, (c) the agenda items it has considered since January 2002, (d) the decisions it has made since January 2002 and (e) the means used to communicate the decisions to the House. [110306]

I refer to my answer on 21 May 2002, Official Report, column 237W. The Committee has not met since that response and currently there are no plans for it to reconvene.

Export Licences

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) pursuant to her answer of 8 April 2003, Official Report, column 165W, what reasons underlie the decision not to grant extraterritorial controls to the (a) sale and (b) brokering of sales in military and paramilitary equipment; [112382](2) pursuant to her evidence before the Quadripartite Committee on 3 April, what Home Office guidance would be broken by the extension of extraterritorial control to the licensing of military and paramilitary equipment. [112381]

The Home Office guidance recommends that extra-territorial jurisdiction should only be considered in cases of serious offences subject to international condemnation, for which an offender could reasonably be expected to be aware that an offence has been committed. Trafficking and brokering of military equipment to a non-embargoed destination does not come into this category as the vast majority of transactions will consist of legitimate business by UK defence companies carried out accordingly to the laws of the appropriate country.

Holiday Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what advice she is issuing to holiday companies following the ruling of His Honour Judge Graham Jones on 7 May 2003; [113193](2) what plans she has to issue warnings to holiday makers about the extent of liability of air carriers for the health, welfare and psychological well-being of air passengers; [112981](3) what advice she is issuing to holiday makers following the ruling of His Honour Judge Graham Jones on 7 May 2003; [113194](4) what assessment she has made of the impact of the ruling in Cardiff County Court by His Honour Judge Graham Jones on the holiday industry. [113192]

A copy of the full judgment by Judge Jones on 7 May 2003 is not yet available. When this is issued we will consider whether or not there are wider implications for consumers and the holiday industry and if it would be appropriate to revise the advice we provide.

Insolvency Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been spent promoting the Insolvency Service Directors' hotline in each year since its inception. [113286]

[holding answer 14 May 2003]: The only cost directly promoting the Disqualified Directors hotline since its inception was £568 incurred in the year ended 31 March 2003.

Internet (Spam E-Mails)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps the Government has taken to encourage internet service providers to screen and prevent abusive and pornographic spam e-mails. [112826]

We strongly support the work that internet service providers are doing to help their subscribers protect themselves against unwanted e-mail of all kinds, including unsolicited commercial e-mails which promote pornographic content, by advising subscribers about the steps they can take to protect themselves and by making filtering and blocking services available.

Mental Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many sick days were lost in the last year by her Department through staff mental health problems. [112069]

In the financial year 2001–02 7,326 days were lost as a result of sick leave attributed to mental health problems.

Miners' Compensation

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many former miners in Amber Valley have (a) claimed and (b) received payments in compensation for (i) chronic bronchitis and emphysema and (ii) vibration white finger. [113390]

The number of claims made in the Amber Valley, as of 31 March 2003, for respiratory disease is 2,098. Of this total, 511 claimants have received interim payments and 624 have had their claims settled. The total amount of compensation paid for respiratory disease is £4.4 million.The number of claims made for Vibration White Finger (VWF) is 1,404. Of this total, 561 claimants have received interim payments and 462 have had their claims settled. The total amount of compensation paid for VWF is £4.9 million.

Note:
Constituency figures can be found on the Department's website: www.dti.gov.uk/coalhealth. The information is compiled in the middle of the month and shows the figures for the end of the previous month.

National Institute For Medical Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will make a statement about the future of the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill; [112846](2) how many people work at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill; and if she will make a statement; [112844](3) what representations she has received concerning the future of the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill; and if she will make a statement; [112843](4) what consultations she plans to hold over the future of the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill with

(a) staff and their representative bodies, (b) management and (c) the local community; and if she will make a statement. [112845]

[holding answers 12 May 2003]: The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) is MRC's largest institute and there are currently around 520 MRC employees with approximately 200 additional workers made up from short-term grant-funded posts, training fellows, students and visiting workers.No formal decision has been taken regarding the future of NIMR. The Medical Research Council is at present developing a long-term strategy for its major capital investments over the next 10–15 years including the NIMR. This is an issue for the MRC and I have not received any formal representations.DTI is not planning to carry out consultation, which is being done by the MRC. A document was released for general consultation on 4 April 2003 and local consultations include:

The FIS consultation document has been made widely available to all NIMR staff. A general notice was circulated to all NIMR staff addressing key questions arising from this exercise. Employees have been encouraged to respond via the NIMR Director's Office and/or local and national trade union representatives, they may also respond directly to Head Office.
The trade unions also met the FIS Subcommittee to discuss and comment on the over-arching strategy. The MRC Director of Human Resources met the trade unions to discuss the consultation document prior to its release.
NIMR management staff met recently (24 April) with MRC Senior Office Staff to discuss the implication of FIS for NIMR and it is anticipated that their views will also be reflected in NIMR's response to the consultation process.
Professor Radda wrote (on 4 April) to local MPs in all relevant locations offering meetings to discuss the strategy.

Results of the consultation will be considered at an MRC Council meeting in July 2003.

Oil Pipelines

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what access independent storage companies have to the oil pipeline network within the UK. [113277]

Under the Pipelines Act 1962 independent storage companies have "common access" rights to all oil pipelines. This means that provided there is spare capacity independent parties have a legal right of access to transport their oil products in any oil pipeline.

Petrol Forecourts

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many operable petrol forecourts there were in the UK (a) in 1997, (b) in 2001 and (c) on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many she expects to be operating in 2006. [113279]

The Institute of Petroleum's (IP) annual "Retail Survey" has provided the following data on the number of retail petrol filling stations in the UK:

End of yearNumber of petrol stations
199714,824
200013,043
200112,201
200211,423
The Department has not estimated the number of sites that will be operating in 2006.

Post Office Card Account

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry with reference to Deposited paper ref. Dep. 03/908 of 6 March, how the reference to the need to use a machine to withdraw money from a Post Office card account relates to the statement that customers will be paid over the Post Office counter. [112848]

The customer hands the Post Office card to the counter clerk who swipes it through the Horizon terminal. The customer is then asked to enter their PIN number into the key pad sited on the counter and is then given cash and a receipt by the counter clerk over the Post Office counter.

Post Office Subsidies

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the £450 million subsidy announced for the rural Post Office network requires parliamentary approval; and when she expects to receive state aid approval from the European Commission. [110910]

In answer to a question tabled by the hon. Member himself, on 2 December I announced to parliament, the Government's intention to make available 450 million from 2003 to 2006, to help the rural post office network through the transition of benefit payment to ACT. The package will be funded from Royal Mail Holdings accumulated surpluses, as part of a package to put Royal Mail and Post Office Ltd. on a commercial footing. There is therefore no requirement for parliamentary approval.The funding is subject to State Aid approval and we submitted our notification to the Commission in December for clearance. The timetable for state aid clearance is a matter for the European Commission. DTI is working to ensure that the questions and issues raised by the Commission are responded to as quickly as possible. We are confident we have a strong case and we hope to have approval in due course.

Pyramid Selling

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in respect of (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions for charges related to pyramid direct selling and multi-marketing practices, and their advertising in each year from 1987, what the (i) places and (ii) dates were of the court cases concerned; what sentences were conferred on directors; what offences were pleaded guilty to; and if she will make a statement. [113007]

[holding answer 14 May 2003]: There have been no prosecutions or convictions recorded under the Trading Schemes Act 1996 and sub-ordinate legislation related to pyramid direct selling and multi-marketing practices or their advertising.However prosecution action will have been taken under the Companies Acts, the Company Directors Disqualification Act, the Theft Acts, or other legislation relevant to pyramid direct selling and multi-marketing practices. As the action will have been taken under a variety of different statutes the information sought is not available centrally.

Salmon

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on her policy towards dumping of salmon on the European Community markets. [112503]

I am concerned at the possibility that salmon originating outside the European Community may be dumped, once existing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures are terminated. I have written to Commissioner Lamy urging him to introduce a surveillance scheme to monitor imports of salmon into the Community. In addition, Ministers from the Scotland Office, and the Scottish Executive together with British MEPs have played an active role in pressing the commission to adopt a surveillance scheme.

Sickness Absence

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many staff in her Department were on long term sick leave in each of the last five years. [109261]

The numbers of staff whose sick absence was longer than 22 days in each financial year were:

Number
1997–98206
1998–99217
1999–2000210
2000–01228
2001–02248
In my Department sick absence in excess of 22 days in a year is the trigger for considering poor attendance action.

Statutory Instruments

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the statutory instruments issued by her Department in the last 12 months, indicating (a) the purpose of each and (b) the cost of each to (i) public funds, (ii) businesses and (iii) individuals. [106315]

The HMSO Statutory Instrument Registrar siregistrar@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk can provide a list of statutory instruments issued by individual Departments. Statutory Instruments which have been originated by Departments but eventually made by the Privy Council Office, are only listed under the Privy Council Office.However during the period 1 April 2002 and 31 March 2003 my Department laid 101 Statutory Instruments before Parliament. A Regulatory Impact Assessment is completed for regulatory proposals unless there are no or negligible costs. During the period in question my Department prepared RIAs for the following instruments.

The Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2002,
The Wireless Telegraphy (Exemption) (Amendment) Regulations 2002,
The Wireless Telegraphy (Licences Charges) Regulations 2002,
The Offshore Installations (Emergency Pollution Control) Regulations 2002,
The Directors' Remuneration Report Regulation 2002,
The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002,
The National Minimum Wage Regulation 1999 (Amendment) Regulations 2002,
The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Rate of Interest) (No. 3) Order 2002,
The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002,
The Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002,
The Maternity and Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2002,
The Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2002,
The Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay (Weekly Rates) Regulations 2002,
The Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay (General) Regulations 2002,
The Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay (Administration) Regulations 2002,
The Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay (National Health Service Employees) Regulations 2002,
The Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay (Mariners and Persons Abroad) Regulations 2002,
The Community Designs (Fees) Regulations 2002,
The Measuring Instruments (EC Requirements) (Electrical Energy Meters) (Amendment) Regulations 2002,
The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002,
The Flexible Working (Procedural Requirements) Regulations 2002,
The Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2002,
The Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2003,
The Wireless Telegraphy (Exemption) Regulations 2003, The Companies (Acquisition of Own Shares) (Treasury Shares) Regulations 2003,
The Registered Designs Regulations 2003,
The Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003,
The Patents (Electronic Communications) (Amendment) Rules 2003,
The Patents Act 1977 (Electronic Communications) Order 2003.

Copies of all RIAs have been placed in the Libraries of the House and are also available on the department's website.

Statutory Performance Benchmarks

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the proposed introduction of statutory performance criteria into the process which determines board-room bonuses. [111654]

Directors' remuneration is a matter for companies and their shareholders. The Government will shortly be consulting on issues relating to 'rewards for failure' and measures to more effectively link severance payments to performance through contracts.

Transport Fuel

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what strategic planning she is carrying out to ensure adequate supply and distribution of retail motor transport fuels in (a) urban and (b) rural areas. [113280]

The Department is working in close collaboration with the industry and other Government Departments so that robust and effective emergency plans and response measures are in place in the event of any possible supply disruption.The issue of adequate supply of transport fuels is also being address by the Downstream Oil Industry Forum. I initiated the forum last year to address industry concerns about:

  • Oil products supply infrastructure
  • Services to motorists in rural areas

The Forum agreed that all urban areas are well placed with adequate supplies of transport fuels. However, rural areas are an issue, and the forum initiated a Rural Task Force to investigate how the needs of the rural motorist can be served.

Transport

Airports

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what purposes his Department has employed Avia Solutions in connection with plans to expand runway capacity in the South East; what monitoring he has carried out on (a) financial and (b) other links between (i) directors and (ii) employees of Avia Solutions and BAA plc; and if he will make a statement. [113582]

[holding answer 15 May 2003]: Avia Solutions have been retained by the Department as part of a team of consultants and civil servants to carry out the analysis of responses to the consultation. As part of their work they will analyse responses on the issue of capacity for the south-east and other parts of the UK. The managing consultants for the south-east study were Halcrow, Avia solutions were not involved with this work. Any final decisions on capacity will, of course, be taken by Ministers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will investigate the inability of constituents in Solihull to obtain questionnaires to respond to the Midlands version of the Government's Consultation on Regional Airports; and if he will make a statement. [113443]

We are aware of individual instances in which a small number of people have had difficulty in obtaining hard copies of the questionnaire. Officials have discussed this with the Department's distribution centre as part of the on-going monitoring and development of their performance. Since the launch of the revised South East consultation documents on 27 February, 16,319 new Midlands' questionnaires have been issued, with around 15 per cent, having been completed and returned.Residents in Solihull, as in the rest of the UK, can respond to the consultation in a number of ways to ensure that their views are taken into account. These include completing the electronic version of the questionnaire on our website and sending letters to our consultation response address.

Highways Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his Answer of 3 March 2003, Official Report, column 798W, on the Highways Agency, what the total pay costs incurred by the Highways Agency were in each year since 1997. [113375]

The salary costs for civil servants employed by the Highways Agency on 1 January for the past seven years are set out in the following table:

YearSalary costs(£)
199738,446,953
199836,566,314
199938,836,837
200041,341,278
200143,003,512
200244,967,107
200347,540,928

Mobile Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the regulatory impact assessment of the extension of the Working Time Directive to mobile workers will be published. [114041]

A partial Regulatory Impact Assessment will be published with the Consultation Document which we expect to issue in the summer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when consultation will commence on the regulations implementing the extension of the Working Time Directive to mobile workers; and for how long it will last. [114042]

The department is consulting with both sides of the industry on how the directive should be implemented into domestic legislation. We expect to launch a formal consultation exercise before the end of this summer. The exercise should last for at least three months.

Pay Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his Answer of 3 March 2003, Official Report, columns 796–7W, on Departmental Agency staff, what the total pay costs incurred by the (a) Vehicle Certification Agency, (b) Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and (c) Driving Standards Agency were in each year since 1997. [113380]

The information requested is contained in the Agencies' published Annual Report and Accounts (details for 2002–03 are not yet finalised). For the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, details begin in its first year, 1998–99. Copies are available in the Library.

Rail Freight Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will announce the (a) date for reinstatement and (b) budget for SRA rail freight grants. [112189]

I refer my hon. Friend, to the answer given by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State to the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnoshire (Roger Williams) on 13 May 2003, Official Report, column 134W.

Road Safety

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many non-UK citizens have been killed in road accidents in the UK in each of the last five years. [114071]

This information is not available. The nationality of a casualty is not recorded as part of the Department's collection of road accident statistics.

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Information Technology

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her Department's (a) total managed expenditure, (b) total spending on Information Technology and (c) spending on Information Technology as a proportion of its total managed expenditure was in each financial year since 1997–98. [107183]

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs was established as a new Department in 2001–02. The contribution by Defra to Total Managed Expenditure can be measured by the total of spending under resource and capital budgets, less non-cash items in AME. Data for 1998–99 to 2002–03 are available in the 2003 Departmental Report (May Cm 5919).Information technology budgets were devolved to Defra's various business areas for 2001–02 and 2002–03 and fully accounted information on total IT expenditure cannot be gathered without incurring disproportionate cost. However, estimates being used for planning purposes indicate that IT expenditure in Defra (excluding internal staff costs, Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies) was £53 million for 2001–02 and £64 million for 2002–03.

Market Testing

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the estimated level of saving to the Department is from the use of market testing in 2002–03. [107772]

Departments are no longer required to undertake a programme of market testing. Defra's focus is on improved delivery of services by ensuring that high quality public services are delivered on the basis of value for money in line with the Better Quality Services ethos as set out in the following extract from the Treasury publication, Public Private Partnerships, The Government's Approach: (http://www.hm-treasury.gov. uk/media//C23A9/PPP2QOQ.pdf)

Better Quality Services
The focus of Better Quality Services (BQS) is on improving what is delivered, rather than taking a dogmatic line about whether this is best achieved through private, public or partnership solutions. BQS is a comprehensive programme across central Government. It covers all activities in the departments and its agencies and executive NDPBs, with all services and activities, including policy and headquarters functions, are reviewed over a five year period.

International Development

Africa

To ask the Minister of State for International Development if he will publish a report on UK progress with implementing the G8 Africa Action Plan. [113633]

The UK will publish at the beginning of June a report detailing UK progress in implementing the G8 Africa Action Plan at the G8 Summit in Evian.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what progress has been made with UN (a) African and (b) sub-regional initiatives to control the circulation of small and light weapons within Africa. [113635]

As part of the joint DFID/FCO/MOD Global Conflict Prevention Pool, the UK Government supports the implementation of a number of African and sub-regional initiatives to combat the circulation of small arms and light weapons on the continent. Some of this work has been done in partnership with the UN.The UK provides financial and political support to three regional initiatives: the Nairobi Secretariat assists the countries of eastern Africa, the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa to meet the commitments undertaken in the Nairobi Declaration on preventing the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (2000). The Secretariat provides advice, capacity building and technical assistance on small arms, training to policing agencies and helps to ensure coherence on regional activities.

The Programme for Co-ordination and Assistance for Security and Development (PCASED) supports the implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Moratorium on the import, export and manufacture of light weapons. The Southern African Development Committee (SADC) Regional Action Programme on Small Arms and Light Weapons works to assist countries in southern Africa to combat the circulation of small arms. In March 2002 the UK co-sponsored a conference to examine implementation of the UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its aspects, in Southern Africa.

The UK Global Conflict Prevention Pool also supports the UN Development Programme's (UNDP) weapons collection, destruction and management programme in a number of African countries, including the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A recent UNDP disarmament, demobilization and reintegration project in Republic of Congo assisted 11,000 former fighters to relinquish their weapons and receive economic and social reintegration assistance.

In July 2003, the UK will report to the UN Biennial Meeting of States as part of its review of implementation of the UN Programme of Action. In partnership with other governments, regional agencies and civil society, the UK will seek to find ways to improve implementation of the Programme of Action in Africa, to help ensure that the circulation of small arms is addressed effectively.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether her Department will enter negotiations to reduce the tax African countries impose on the importation of bednets. [112682]

The UK Government is strongly committed to tackling malaria, recognising its importance not just in terms of burden of disease, but also in terms of the impact malaria has on economic development, particularly in Africa where this has been an increasing problem. We are committed to the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goal to halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria by 2015, as well as to supporting the principles and targets set out at the African Summit on Roll Back Malaria held in Abuja in April 2000.At that summit, African leaders identified insecticide treated nets as a measure that could be used to control malaria. Eighteen countries have now reduced or eliminated taxes and tariffs on nets, netting material and insecticide. RBM, with the support of DFID, is working on the process necessary to support other countries to do likewise, through advocacy, policy frameworks and technical advice.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development what progress has been made with a country-by-country assessment of (a) finance gaps, (b) necessary policy reforms and (c) private sector participation for providing safe water in Africa. [113609]

The EU 'Water for Life' Initiative was launched at the World Summit in Johannesburg in 2002. The initiative aims to provide a means of securing greater co-ordination between EU member states and developing countries in developing water management and water use arrangements.The principal intention of the EU Water Initiative is to provide the means to contribute towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals—to halve by 2015 the proportion of people without access to safe water and basic sanitation. This will include an assessment of finance gaps, necessary policy reforms and private sector participation, focussing initially on Africa.The Initiative has been building a framework of working groups, operating through a core group of representatives and a multi-stakeholder forum, which encompasses Governments, civil society and the private sector. The UK Government are a key contributor and are leading on the Finance Component. They are also a member of several other working groups including water and sanitation.The UK continues to strongly support the EU Water Initiative and is working with member states to ensure that it moves from discussion to action on the ground.

To ask the Minister of State for International Development if he will make a statement about the help the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund has given to Africa, and its future plans. [113625]

The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) has made one investment to date, a £14 million senior ranking loan and a £5 million subordinated loan to a cellular investment holding. This is a leading private regional cellular telephone company with 14 licences in 12 countries of Africa, in which a number of Direct Funding Initiatives (DFIs) are also investors. The fund's loan forms part of a larger fund raising by the telephone company. Commercial bank lenders have provided three year term debt, whereas the fund's loans have a six year tenure in order to provide a more stable financing structure.The fund has approved, for the purposes of undertaking a detailed review, a further five investments which would give rise to a potential total commitment by the fund of some £63 million, of which three should close in mid-2003. The five investments represent projects in the electricity, transport, and sanitation sectors, and all are in West Africa. The fund managers will shortly be submitting four further investments for initial approval. This would give rise to additional commitments of £38 million.If potential investments proceed as envisaged over the next 12 months the fund will have committed some £125 million, and will then need to engage in steps to increase its size to around £250 million, as contemplated at the time of its establishment.