Parliametary Answers – to 24th Jan 2012

This is a regular round up of Parliamentary questions and answers from ministers relevant to defence issues In addition to oral questions, MPs and Peers can ask government ministers questions for written answer. These are often used to obtain detailed information about policies and statistics on the activities of government departments. In the House of Commons ‘ordinary’ questions do not have to be answered on a specific date. An MP will date a written question for two days after they have tabled it (ie, submitted it for answer via the Table Office). The convention is that the MP can expect it to be answered within seven days of the question being tabled.

Question

Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average expenditure per Army recruit was of recruiting and training to identical roles recruits who were aged (a) under 18 years and (b) 18 years or above in the latest period for which figures are available.

Answer

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)

The average cost of recruiting an Army recruit in financial year (FY) 2010-11 was £10,000; this covers the full recruitment process, including selection, and does not vary between those who are under or over 18 years of age.

The following table provides the average expenditure for the full cost of providing Phase 1 training, including accommodation, meals, welfare, health and other support per Army recruit for FY 2010-11.

Duration of course (weeks) Under 18 (£) Over 18 (£)
Full cost of training per recruit at Army Technical Foundation College, Winchester 23 53,985 n/a
Full cost of training per recruit at Army Foundation College, Harrogate 50 64,458 n/a
Full cost of training per recruit at Army Training Centre, Pirbright 14 n/a 21,318
Full cost of training per recruit at Army Training Regiment, Bassingbourn 14 n/a 26,992
Full cost of training per recruit at Infantry Training Centre, Catterick (Phase 1) 14 n/a 26,543
n/a = not applicable

The average unit rate varies depending on both the number of recruits being trained and the course duration at each training site.

Information relating to the average expenditure per recruit for Phase 2 training is not available in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. This is because Phase 2 (trade training) varies for each of the over 220 trades offered by the Army, both in terms of content and course length. However, as Phase 2 training is not age dependent, there would be no difference in any average training cost for a specific trade between those who are under or over the age of 18.

 

 

Question

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of upgrading the two purchased F-35B variants to the standards required by the US Marine Corps after the completion of testing.

Answer

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

The previous Government ordered three F-35B aircraft for test and evaluation purposes. One has been exchanged for a F-35C variant. The mission systems for the F-35B and F-35C are largely the same but, the UK is upgrading the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) for its own purposes in order to conduct initial operational test of JSF alongside US Services. We have included sufficient funding within the original financial approval for these aircraft to ensure that they are upgraded to the appropriate standard for these tests. The US Marine Corps have no input to these decisions.

 

 

Question

Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the completion date for the two aircraft carriers that are currently under construction have changed; and what the causes of any such delay are.

Answer

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

The currently approved planned in-service dates for HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are quarter four of 2016 and quarter four of 2018 respectively.

The completion dates for construction have not changed. However, the Strategic Defence and Security Review called for one operational Queen Elizabeth class carrier to be converted to support the more capable Carrier Variant of the Joint Strike Fighter and we are investigating the optimum solution to meet that requirement. On current plans, we expect to conclude work to enable firm decisions on the optimum conversion solution for the operational carrier in late 2012. Depending on the outcome of that work, the completion date for the construction of the carriers may change. Either way we will have an operational carrier from around 2020.

 

 

Question

Lord Janner of Braunstone (Labour)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they anticipate that British military operations in Libya will end.

Answer

Lord Astor of Hever (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Defence; Conservative)

The UK’s support to NATO’s Operation Unified Protector in Libya has ended. In terms of bilateral military support to Libya, we have a small defence advisory team in Tripoli and a separate small team of military counterproliferation experts working with the Libyan authorities and United States to locate, disable, and secure man-portable surface to air missiles. We stand ready to respond to any formal request for defence and security assistance from the Libyan Transitional Government, and will ensure that any assistance is co-ordinated with key partners.

 

 

Question

Lord Judd (Labour)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking bilaterally and multilaterally regarding access through the “buffer zone” imposed by the Government of Israel around the perimeter of Gaza.

Answer

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)

The current situation in Gaza fosters radicalisation and empowers Hamas, while punishing the ordinary people of Gaza. We are clear that an improved Gazan economy is not only essential for the people of Gaza, but firmly in Israel’s security interests.

We frequently raise with the Israeli authorities the issue of easing restrictions on Gaza, urging Israel to comply with her international obligations. This was most recently raised at ministerial level during the visit to the UK by Israeli Defence Minister Barak on 3 November 2011. The UK continues to push Israel to ease restrictions on exports, construction material imports and movement of people to improve the lives of the Gazan people. We are working alongside our European Union partners to achieve real changes on the ground.

 

 

Question

Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to install the Co-operative Engagement Capability in Type 45 destroyers.

Answer

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

The Department’s planning assumption is that the Co-operative Engagement Capability (CEC) is fitted on to Type 45 Destroyers and Type 26 Global Combat Ships. However, the decision on the ship fit plan will not be taken until the project achieves Main Gate approval. This is currently planned for mid-2012. If approved, it is anticipated that CEC will be installed on to Type 45s from 2018.

 

 

Question

Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the potential effect of implementing the Strategic Defence and Security review on the (a) overall capability and (b) in- service dates of Type 26 frigates.

Answer

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

The strategic defence and security review (SDSR) decided to merge the two classes of Future Surface Combatant, previously known as the CI and the C2 variants, into the Type 26 Global Combat Ship. The Type 26 combines advantages of both variants into a versatile ship, designed to readily change roles and capabilities depending on the strategic circumstances. The Type 26 in-service date has not been changed by the SDSR.

 

 

Question

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total cost to the public purse was of the recent purchase of Danish Merlin HC.3A helicopters.

Answer

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

The previous Government purchased six Danish Merlin helicopters in 2007 to boost the UK fleet to 28. The cost of acquiring the helicopters was £203.3 million. This figure includes the cost of converting the ex-Danish aircraft for UK operational use, purchase of an initial stock of spares and the cost of procuring six replacement Merlin aircraft for Denmark. The modified UK Merlin Mk3a helicopters entered service in 2008 and the replacement aircraft were accepted by the Danish in 2009.

 

 

Question

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect on the ability to conduct helicopter operations of the postponement of the Defence Rotary Wing Capability Study decision until 2012.

Answer

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

The Defence Rotary Wing Capability Study reported to the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff in November 2011. The Vice-Chief asked for some further work to be done before the study is finalised, and this work is currently in progress.

The study has had no negative impact on current helicopter operations and completing the study will help us to continue to conduct helicopter operations in the most effective and efficient way into the future.

 

 

Question

Madeleine Moon (Bridgend, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) what costs his Department incurred in respect of (a) legal, (b) consultancy and (c) currency brokerage costs associated with (i) the sale of the Harrier aircraft to the US and (ii) the retirement of the fleet; and if he will make a statement;

(2) whether his Department is likely to incur any costs or receive any further invoices from the retirement of the Harrier fleet and sale of 72 aircraft to the US; and if he will make a statement;

(3) whether payment for the 72 Harrier aircraft being sold to the US Marine Corps has been received in full; whether payment is being made in cash or in kind; and if he will make a statement;

(4) what revenue has accrued to his Department from the sale of Harrier aircraft spares and other associated support equipment; and if he will make a statement.

Answer

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

No external legal or currency brokerage costs were incurred by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the retirement of the Harrier fleet or for the sale to the US Government. The external consultancy costs for these two activities were £0.7 million and £0.4 million respectively. We do not expect to incur any further costs relating to the retirement and sale to the US Government of the Harrier fleet.

The value of the sale is $180 million (around £110 million). This figure includes 72 Harrier airframes, spares and associated support equipment. The MOD will receive monetary payment from the US Government for the full value of the Harrier sale before 1 April 2012. Overall £1 billion will be saved from removing the Harrier from service. We continue to operate Tornado, Typhoon and, in the future, JSF.

As agreed with HM Treasury as part of the spending review process, the revenue from the sale of Harrier assets will be retained by the Ministry of Defence and reinvested by the Department in key priorities as part of the Defence Budget.

 

 

Question

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the size of the Army will be at the end of each calendar year from 2011 to 2015.

Answer

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)

holding answer23 November 2011

The outcome of the strategic defence and security review in October 2010 announced a reduction by 7,000 personnel in the Regular Army, so that by 2015 the size shall be 95,000. Subsequently, the Defence Transformation announcement made by the then Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Fox, on 18 July 2011, Hansard, columns 643-645, confirmed that there would be an integrated Army of around 120,000 by 2020, comprising a trained strength of 82,000 Regulars and at least 30,000 Reserves, with a training margin of 8,000 Reserves. Across Defence, the Reserves will benefit from £1.5 billion investment over 10 years to reinvigorate their contribution to all three services.

Specific detail on the size of the Army by year from 2011 to 2015 is the subject of further work and has not yet been determined.

A redundancy process has already started, but natural turnover of personnel and a reduction in recruitment will be used before compulsory redundancy is applied.

 

 

Question

Hazel Blears (Salford and Eccles, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has any plans to assess whether levels of (a) alcohol dependency, (b) substance dependency, (c) homelessness, (d) mental health problems and (e) crime perpetration are higher than average among ex-service personnel.

Answer

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)

The Ministry of Defence fully supports the need for high quality research in these areas. We have commissioned a number of well-received studies over a number of years into various aspects of Defence health, including mental health. One such ongoing study carried out by King’s college, London has, since 2003, researched the experiences of armed forces personnel who served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. The study has over 20,000 participants and it monitors the effects of operational service against a cohort group who did not deploy. Key findings to-date are:

The overall mental health of the armed forces is good and prevalence of disorders among service personnel is generally in line with the rest of the population.

Some 13% of respondents displayed evidence of alcohol misuse, compared to a similar figure in the general population. Increased use is associated with operational deployment.

Some 4% of respondents displayed symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (compared with 3%-7% in the general population).

Common mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, are more prevalent, with 19.7% of service personnel studied experiencing them.

The deployment on operations was associated with a small increase in symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder in reservists (5%). This should be viewed against the very low prevalence of symptoms for reservists (1.8%) who did not deploy on operations.

We currently estimate that about 3.5% of the prison population in England and Wales has previously served in the armed forces. We are committed to playing our part in supporting the Ministry of Justice and our voluntary and community sector partners, in identifying and supporting ex-service personnel who come into contact with the criminal justice system.

 

 

Question

Andrew Smith (Oxford East, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future management and conservation of the wreck of HMS Victory 1744; and if he will make a statement.

Answer

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)

An agreement has been reached with the Maritime Heritage Foundation for the trust to undertake the future management of the Victory (1744) wreck site. The remains of the vessel have been gifted to the trust, with safeguards to ensure that any actions taken in respect of the wreck are consistent with the archaeological principles set out in Annex A to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage.

 

 

Question

Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many RFA tankers are to be ordered in the MARS programme.

Answer

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

holding answer19 January 2012

We have received the final bids for the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) Tankers programme and anticipate announcing the winning bid later this spring. Up to four MARS tankers are expected to be ordered.

 

 

Question

Madeleine Moon (Bridgend, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 14 December 2011, Official Report, column 799W, on rescue services, what the minimum altitude was of the maritime patrol aircraft provided by the Irish Air Corps during the search and rescue operation for the Swanland; and if he will make a statement.

Answer

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)

The fixed wing aircraft support to the Swanland rescue operation was provided by the Irish Coast Guard, part of the Irish Department of Transport. The Ministry of Defence does not hold information on the minimum altitude of the aircraft during the operation.

 

 

Question

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on unrest around the town of Gharyan in Libya.

Answer

Alistair Burt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Afghanistan/South Asia, counter terrorism/proliferation, North America, Middle East and North Africa), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; North East Bedfordshire, Conservative)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is aware of recent reports that a militia from the town of Gharyan clashed with members of a militia from the neighbouring town of Alasabah. Reporting of the incident remains unclear, however, we are aware of at least five deaths. Libyan Defence Minister Juwayli intervened and secured a ceasefire although the situation remains tense. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

 

 

Question

Lord Chidgey (Liberal Democrat)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they will take to facilitate the integrated approach advocated in the Strategic Defence and Security Review and the Building Stability Overseas Strategy.

Answer

Lord Astor of Hever (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Defence; Conservative)

The integrated approach has already been facilitated by new Whitehall processes and structures. The National Security Council meets regularly in order to ensure that decisions are made based on cross-Whitehall considerations. Beneath this, the governance of HMG activities on instability and conflict overseas has been rationalised, as announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review. Instead of three separate structures dealing with conflict, peacekeeping and stabilisation, there is now a single, cross-government board to deal with conflict overseas: the Building Stability Overseas Board. The tri-departmental Stabilisation Unit reports to this board and remains key to delivering expertise on the ground.

The integrated approach is broader than cross-government-it is also multi-agency and multinational. Among others, HMG works with:

United Nations/North Atlantic Treaty Organisation/ European Union/African Union;Foreign governments;the International Committee of the Red Cross;intergovernmental organisations (IGOs);non-governmental organisations (NGOs);international non-governmental organisations (INGOs); andlocal nationals.

 

 

Question

Lord Laird (Crossbench)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will ask the Government of Ireland to pardon the citizens of Ireland who were court marshalled for fighting on the side of the United Kingdom in the Second World War and compensate them and their families.

Answer

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)

The Government have no plans to make representations on this matter at this time. The matter of pardons for Irish citizens who fought on the side of the United Kingdom in the Second World War is a matter for the Irish Government and one to which the Irish Minister for Defence recently stated in the Dail that he was “giving active consideration”. The Government are grateful for the contribution made by Irish service personnel during the Second World War. During the state visit in May, Her Majesty the Queen and President McAleese laid wreaths together at the Irish War Memorial Gardens in memory of the Irish soldiers who died in the world wars.

 

 

Question

Lord Chidgey (Liberal Democrat)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the review of the Stabilisation Unit, due to take place early in 2012, will link to efforts to ensure that the United Kingdom has adequate capability regarding security and development issues overseas.

Answer

Baroness Northover (Whip, House of Lords; Liberal Democrat)

A review of the Stabilisation Unit has been agreed by the tri-departmental Building Stability Overseas Board.

The purpose of the review is to consider the best arrangements for the UK Government’s use of the Stabilisation Unit capability both after conflicts and in conflict prevention work.

The review will take account of existing strategies, including the National Security Strategy, the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Building Stability Overseas Strategy and the Defence Engagement Strategy.

 

 

Question

Matthew Offord (Hendon, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment his Department has made on the possible financial benefits to the economy of Torbay from the sale of HMS Ark Royal to the Wreck the World organisation.

Answer

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

I have been asked to reply

on behalf of the Department for Defence.

All proposals received to buy HMS Ark Royal are being evaluated solely against published technical, financial and commercial criteria.

Work to evaluate the proposals is at an advanced stage and we hope to make a decision about the successful bid in the near future.

 

 

Question

Hazel Blears (Salford and Eccles, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) what estimate he has made of the cost of the Standard Learning Credit scheme in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13, (c) 2013-14 and (d) 2014-15;

(2) what estimate he has made of the likely cost of the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme in (a) 20011-12, (b) 2012-13, (c) 2013-14 and (d) 2014-15.

Answer

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)

We continue to promote lifelong learning and estimate the following will be refunded to claimants through the Standard, and Enhanced Learning Credits scheme:

£ million
Financial year Standard Learning Credits Enhanced Learning Credits
2011-12 2.1 15.3
2012-13 2.1 16.2
2013-14 2.2 17.2
2014-15 2.2 17.3

 

Question

Hazel Blears (Salford and Eccles, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to encourage more service personnel to take advantage of the funding assistance provided by his Department through schemes such as the Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme and Standard Learning Credits Scheme.

Answer

Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)

The MOD promotes lifelong learning among members of the armed forces, and this is encouraged through the Learning Credits schemes. Recruits undertaking phase one training are provided with a briefing on the schemes and are automatically enrolled. These briefings are routinely followed up by learning and development officers and service resettlement advisers. In addition Learning Credits are regular features in the “Courses 4 Forces” and “Quest” publications, both of which are widely distributed by service establishments and also online.

 

 

Question

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the National Security Council has discussed the Arms Trade Treaty; and whether he has asked the Council to discuss it.

Answer

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)

I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Alistair Burt, on 10 January 2012, Hansard, column 75W.

 

 

Question

Greg Knight (East Yorkshire, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding from the public purse has been spent on provision of accommodation, hospitality, transport or other facilities to enable showbusiness personalities, radio presenters and others in the entertainment industry to visit Afghanistan in the last 12 months for which figures are available.

Answer

Philip Hammond (Secretary of State, Transport; Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)

holding answer19 January 2012

Entertainment of members of the armed forces is, and has for many years been, an important element of the deployment welfare package. It helps to maintain morale and thereby combat effectiveness of service personnel. The Ministry of Defence has a contract with Combined Services Entertainment to provide entertainment to members of the armed forces deployed overseas, including Afghanistan. The value of entertainment provided for Afghanistan against this contract during 2011 was £437,637. This figure does include an element for UK travel and mobilisation costs, however, entertainment personalities who visit Afghanistan under this contract or under other auspices are transported and accommodated alongside armed forces personnel at minimal extra cost to the public purse.

 

 

Question

Menzies Campbell (North East Fife, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what alterations will be required to RAF Leuchars to transform it to an operational Army base; what estimate he has made of the cost of any such alterations; and if he will make a statement.

Answer

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)

Work has begun to determine the precise capacity of the defence estate as we seek to maximise its use and rationalise where appropriate. Until this work is completed it is too early to say what alterations will be required to RAF Leuchars or how much this will cost.

 

 

Statement

Philip Hammond (Secretary of State, Transport; Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)

The Government have agreed that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will support the Home Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport by making a significant contribution to the security and safety of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics games. The safety and security operation for the games remains police-led. Work continues on the precise details and numbers of the defence contribution. However, the MOD now expects to provide up to 13,500 service personnel in London, on the Thames, in Weymouth and across the UK, delivering a range of military support to the police and other civil and Olympic authorities.

The MOD has been working very closely with the Metropolitan and Dorset police forces to scope the provision of specialist support to maritime security operations on the Thames and in Weymouth bay. It is currently planned for HMS Ocean to be based at Greenwich and HMS Bulwark in Weymouth bay, providing maritime command and control, accommodation, helicopter and small boat basing, and logistics supply.

We have been building on our existing arrangements to ensure that there will be an appropriate and scalable air security plan. A multi-layered plan has been developed and will include Typhoon aircraft, forward-based at RAF Northolt, helicopters operating from HMS Ocean and appropriate ground based air defence systems.

The MOD will increase the normal capacity of the armed forces in several specialist areas which are routinely provided to the civil authorities, in order to provide an enhanced level of capability and response, including explosive ordnance disposal, military working dogs and the capability to search vehicles and buildings.

In addition to this support to wider security activity, the armed forces will provide 3,500 personnel to support the venue security operation for the Olympic and Paralympic games, rising to 7,500 for the 17-day period of the Olympic games themselves. They will form part of a total venue guard-force of up to 23,700.

A further 1,000 strong military contingency force will be available to respond to Olympic-related civil emergencies. Military personnel will also provide command and control and logistics support for the range of military capabilities involved.

In providing this support. Defence will contribute up to 13,500 military personnel at times of peak demand. These numbers will be in addition to the ceremonial role which the armed forces will play during the Olympics, which will showcase our armed forces to the world. I am also pleased to note that a number of service personnel hope to compete on behalf of our nation.

This defence contribution is on a similar scale to that deployed at other recent Olympic games and will contribute to ensuring a safe, secure and enjoyable 2012 Olympics.

Defence will continue to be able to support current and contingent operations during the games and my priority will remain the troops we have deployed on operations, including in Afghanistan, before, during and after the Olympics.

 

 

Statement

ip Hammond (Secretary of State, Transport; Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)

In a written statement on 24 May 2011, Hansard, columns 49-50WS, my predecessor, Dr Fox, informed the House that, further to the strategic defence and security review, a separate review of the British sovereign base areas in Cyprus would be undertaken.

The study has been completed. The Government accept its recommendations and confirms Her Majesty’s Government’s enduring commitment to the sovereign base areas in Cyprus. The key considerations in affirming this commitment were:

The sovereign base areas are in a region of geo-political importance and high priority for the United Kingdom’s long-term national security interests.

The sovereign base areas provide an adaptable and capable forward mounting base, the utility of which has been amply demonstrated: for example, the basing of RAF aircraft that participated in operations over Libya; the regular deployment of Cyprus-based military personnel to Afghanistan; and the key role played as a logistic hub for operations in Afghanistan.

In addition, the sovereign base areas are expected to make a significant contribution to logistic draw-down from Afghanistan, as well as to wider humanitarian and conflict prevention activities in the region. They also continue to provide excellent training opportunities in this important region.

The strategic defence and security review 2010 emphasised the fundamental importance of an “ability to remain adaptable for the future”. The sovereign base areas provide the United Kingdom with a unique contribution to our ability to achieve this goal.

Our military personnel, United Kingdom civilians and locally employed personnel in the sovereign base areas make a major contribution to the national security of the United Kingdom and will continue to do so in the future. In administering the sovereign base areas, the United Kingdom will continue to have as its main objectives—the effective use of the areas as military bases, maintenance of a constructive and co-operative relationship with the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, and protection of the interests of those resident or working in the areas.

 

Statement

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)

I wish to inform the House of the latest position regarding the future basing requirements for the RAF aerobatic team (RAFAT) known as the Red Arrows and of the RAF’s air surveillance and control system (ASACS) units.

The previous Administration announced on 21 May 2008, Hansard, columns 23-24WS, that subject to trade union consultation, the RAFAT would in future operate from RAF Waddington, rather than RAF Scampton by31 July 2011, although they would continue to use the dedicated airspace above RAF Scampton to enable training for their acrobatic displays.

The previous Administration announced on 28 October 2008, Hansard, columns 25-26WS, the relocation of two air surveillance and control system satellite units. Number 1 Air Control Centre at RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey and the Control and Reporting Centre at RAF Scampton, to RAF Coningsby by the end of 2014.

The strategic defence and security review (SDSR) considered a range of constraints on defence basing plans—the available estate, funding provision, plans already in train and the operational commitments of forces. In the light of the changes resulting from the SDSR, and against the background of the budgetary pressures defence faces, I have concluded that it makes sense to review the planned moves of the RAFAT and the control and reporting centre. In the meantime both units remain at RAF Scampton.

No 1 Air Control Centre has now merged and collocated with the Control and Reporting Centre at RAF Scampton and RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey will be closed by the end of March 2012, other than some service families accommodation and a combined mess for personnel at RAF Scampton.

The RAF will now consider future basing options for both the RAFAT and the ASACS units and make recommendations on options to deliver operational effectiveness and value for money. This will include recommendations on whether RAF Scampton should

draw-down by 2014 as previously announced. This work is expected to complete in 2012 and I will report the outcome to Parliament at that time.

Service and civilian personnel at RAF Scampton will be briefed on the progress of this work; we will also engage with the trade union.

 

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7 thoughts on “Parliametary Answers – to 24th Jan 2012

  1. Ubercynic

    Love the answer to Hazel Blears that “We continue to promote lifelong learning” then lists the figures for SLC and ELC that equate to only approx 5% and 1% take up respectively.

  2. ChrisM

    Typhoons based at Northolt for the Olympics?
    That will give a few drivers on the A40 a bit of a shock!!

  3. Topman

    Is it just me or do some of the questions seem very strange?

    ‘what the minimum altitude was of the maritime patrol aircraft provided by the Irish Air Corps during the search and rescue operation for the Swanland’

    Why an earth would an MP ask that question?

  4. Topman

    ‘some kind of dig that the Irish couldnt provide the same service that Nimrod did’

    No none whatsoever. Apologies if I’ve offended, it just seemed a very odd question. It’s a very specific question about an a/c not something normally heard by an MP and about something that’s not even British. I’m not sure why she wanted to know or how the gov would ever know the answer.

  5. ChrisM

    @ Topman
    Sorry – I meant that the question might have been trying to lead toward suggesting that we needed MPA, as the Irish hadnt done it properly????

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