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Raf Church Fenton

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 4 June 2003, Official Report, column 452W, what guidance had been issued to his Department in respect of TUPE liabilities at RAF Church Fenton before the decision was made to transfer flying currently undertaken by the Joint Elementary Flying Training School to university air squadrons. [123092]

No guidance was issued to the Department. The advice given by our own legal officers was that Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) would be unlikely to apply.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 4 June 2003, Official Report, column 452W, how many additional staff have been recruited within university air squadrons in order to provide ground base flying training. [123153]

Ground branch training for University Air Squadron (UAS) students has, in the past, been provided by the flying instructional staff, with some help from visiting lecturers and branch mentors from nearby RAF stations undertaking such work as a secondary duty. Various studies into UAS training had pointed to the benefits of dedicated ground branch training instructors, in particular to increase the potential for attracting ground branch students. In 1997, such posts were established on each of the 15 UASs but funding was not available. As a result of a further review of the UASs, funding was agreed and the first ground branch training instructor arrived in April 2003; a total of seven are now in place. The overall establishment of ground branch training instructors has been reduced to 14, with a shared instructor for two co-located UASs. It is expected that all the posts will be filled by the end of 2004.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 4 June 2003, Official Report, column 452W, what representations have been received from the PROSPECT trade union in respect of the new arrangements for elementary flying training. [123154]

Two meetings have been held with the PROSPECT Trade Union, at their request, to explain the new arrangements for Elementary Flying Training and consider whether Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) would apply to any current Babcock HCS staff when the new arrangements commence in July 2003.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 4 June 2003, Official Report, column 452W, what budget was set for elementary flying training by university air squadrons in (a) 2001–02, (b) 2002–03 and (c) 2003–04. [123091]

The contract costs of providing Elementary Flying Training (EFT) to the University Air Squadrons (UASs) in 2001–02 and 2002–03, and the anticipated contract cost for 2003–04, are approximately £5.0 million, £5.5 million and £5.55 million respectively. This does not include fuel, manpower or the ownership of the sites where flying is undertaken. The UAS EFT share of the contract cost is approximately 49 per cent. of the total hours flown, as the contract also provides Air Experience Flying for Air Cadets and other non-EFT flying.