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.
Also included are written ministerial statements
- Service Complaints Commissioner’s Fifth Annual Report
- Defence Support Group
- Military Bands
- Military Bases: Caernarfon
- NATO: Military Exercises
- Territorial Army
- Reserve Forces
- Reserve Forces: Cardiff
- Reserve Forces: Wales
- Armed Forces: Deployment
- Armed Forces: Pay
- Defence: Procurement
- Reserve Forces: Dorset
- Armoured Fighting Vehicles
- Conflict Pool
- European Fighter Aircraft
- Grant Thornton
- Marchwood Military Port
- Military Aircraft
- Military Exercises
- Northcote House
- Project Gateway
- Reserve Forces
- Unmanned Air Vehicles: Guided Weapons
- Air Force: Deployment
- Army: Reorganisation
- Defence: Procurement
- Guided Weapons
- Military Aircraft
- Military Bases: County Down
- Written Questions
- Air Force: Reserve Forces
- Armed Forces: Discharges
- House of Lords
- Share this:
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr Mark Francois): There has been a long tradition of Commonwealth citizens serving in the British armed forces and most recently on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We continue to value their service which provides an important contribution in defending the UK at home and abroad.
In order to deliver the future structure of the armed forces under the requirements of the strategic defence and security review, we are already reducing their size by adjusting our recruit intake and making some redundancies. The long-standing five-year UK residency requirement for Commonwealth citizens to join the armed forces was waived in 1998. We have reviewed the Commonwealth recruitment rules and, with effect from 11 July, we will reintroduce the five-years’ residency requirement in the UK for future new recruits from Commonwealth countries. In addition, non-British recruits to the reserves will be required to have indefinite leave to remain in the UK in order to fulfil their reservist commitment. This will also create consistency in the recruitment practices of all three services.
This will not affect personnel already serving, or on recruitment, from the Republic of Ireland or for the Brigade of Gurkhas. We are confident that we will still be able to meet our recruitment targets. We will honour our commitments to those Commonwealth recruits in the pipeline who have already been offered a job or a training place and we will also continue to process the applications for those who have already been offered a place at an assessment centre by the Army or a psychometric test by the Navy or the RAF.
Service Complaints Commissioner’s Fifth Annual Report
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr Mark Francois): I am pleased to lay before Parliament today the Ministry of Defence (MOD) response to the Service Complaints Commissioner’s (SCC) fifth annual report on the fairness, effectiveness and efficiency of the service complaints system.
The response sets out how the MOD proposes to address the recommendations made in the commissioner’s report, against the background of the progress made by the services in 2012, and the further changes to the complaints system that were introduced in January 2013. The MOD remains committed to ensuring that the service complaints process is as fair, effective and efficient as it can be.
In that context, I am pleased to inform the House that discussions with the Service Complaints Commissioner, regarding reform of the service complaints system, are proceeding well. We hope to have more to say on this subject in the autumn.
Defence Support Group
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2013, Official Report, column 1117W, on defence support group, for what reasons agency workers were recruited from 2011; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Dunne: As has been the case under previous Administrations, in order to maintain flexibility and agility, the Defence Support Group makes use of agency staff to meet the changing priorities, time scales and peaks and troughs of the emerging requirements of its customers and when the business requires the skills and expertise that are unavailable from within the existing permanent workforce.
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2013, Official Report, column 1117W, on defence support group and the answer of 14 May 2013, Official Report, columns 151-2W, on defence support group, how many agency workers are employed at (a) Ashchurch, (b) Bovington and (c) Donnington; and if he will make a statement. 
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Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether it is his intention that the expansion of the Army Reserve will include the formation of new military bands; and if he will make a statement. 
Military Bases: Caernarfon
Mr Dunne: The decision for the Army Reserve to vacate this site was driven by the Army’s need to consolidate a Platoon of D Company, 3(rd) Battalion the Royal Welsh at Caernarfon with its Company Headquarters in Colwyn Bay 29 miles away.
Planning will now take place with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association to assess the future of the site, including how to meet the enduring requirements of any Cadet or lodger units.
NATO: Military Exercises
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Statement of 3 July 2013, Official Report, columns 923-5, on reserve forces, what estimate he has made of the cost of closing each of the (a) 35 Territorial Army centres and(b) three Naval Reserve centres identified for closure; 
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Dr Murrison: The requirement to reshape our reserve forces footprint has been driven primarily by the changed structure of the Army Reserve and by the need to optimise recruitment and to facilitate effective training in the future.
Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library any concordats which his Department or the public bodies for which he is responsible have with the devolved administrations. 
Mr Robathan: The Memorandum of Understanding and Supplementary Agreements, agreed in September 2012, set out principles which underlie the relationship between the UK Government and the devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These documents are available in the Library of the House.
The Ministry of Defence in addition has agreed concordats for the handling of procedural, practical or policy matters with counterparts in the devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Copies of the documents have been placed in the Library of the House.
The only training that has taken place in Libya is an advanced English language training course to prepare junior officers from the Libyan armed forces to come to the UK for initial officer training. This was delivered by two UK military instructors from the Defence School of Languages over 12 weeks early in 2013.
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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the amount that will be received from the Libyan government for training of Libyan armed forces personnel in the UK. 
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many recruits were attached to each of the (a) 35 Territorial Army centres and (b) three Naval Reserve centres identified for closure in each of the last five years; how many new recruits enlisted at each such centre in each such year; and if he will make a statement. 
Reserve Forces: Cardiff
Stephen Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many reservists from Cardiff South and Penarth constituency currently attend HMS Cambria; and how many of these will be expected to relocate to the proposed new Naval Reserve base in Cardiff; 
(2) pursuant to his written statement of 4 July 2013, Official Report, column 61WS, on reserve basing statement clarification, when he intends to write to the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth on the proposed new Naval Reserve base in Cardiff and the effect of his announced changes on HMS Cambria; 
(3) pursuant to his Written Statement of 3 July 2013, Official Report, column 49WS, on army reserve (structure and basing), what discussions he has had with Cardiff County Council on the siting of any new Naval Reserve facility; 
Dr Murrison: As the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), set out in his answer to the hon. Member on 3 July 2013, Official Report, column 941, and, as confirmed in his written statement of 4 July 2013, Official Report, column 61WS, there will be a Royal Naval Reserve presence at Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, and in Cardiff.
The number of personnel from the Cardiff South and Penarth constituency based at HMS Cambria is not recorded centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. It is too early to be able to estimate accurately the number of Reservists currently based at HMS Cambria who may relocate to the new location in Cardiff. No discussions have taken place with Cardiff county council to date as the Navy Command Future Reserves team is currently considering a number of options.
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Reserve Forces: Wales
Mr Robathan: As UK operations in Afghanistan draw down, operational commanders are identifying the equipment and materiel that is no longer required. Once identified as surplus, a decision is made on whether to redeploy, sell, gift or destroy the equipment. The gifting of equipment and materiel to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will generally be co-ordinated with ISAF. The underlying requirement is that all gifted equipment is sustainable in terms of cost of ownership, support and enduring training.
All proposals for gifting equipment follow parliamentary, Treasury and National Audit Office rules and will be assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Any proposed gifting, packages to the ANSF over £250,000 will be laid before Parliament.
Armed Forces: Deployment
Mr Robathan [holding answer 10 July 2013]: In financial year (FY) 2012-13 MOD spent £7 million on operations to support the French-led intervention in Mali from funds that were allocated to the Deployed Military Activity Pool (DMAP). Our Main Supply Estimate for FY 2013-14 requested £25 million for the DMAP, to be matched by a further £25 million from HM Treasury. The contributions of each Department in future years have not been fixed, and may change from year to year in response to changes in operational requirements.
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Armed Forces: Pay
Mr Dunne: The following table shows the annual pay settlement in each year from 1997 to 2010, as recommended by the two relevant independent review bodies. The Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) recommends pay levels for Service personnel up to and including 1-Star officers. Pay settlements for 2-Star officers and above are recommended by the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB).
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much (a) he and (b) officials in his Department spent on external assistance to prepare for (i) appearances before select committees and (ii) contact with the media in (A) 2011-12 and (B) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Philip Hammond: I have not engaged any external assistance to prepare for appearances before select committees, or media contacts. The information for officials is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr Francois: Capability management is a well established process within Defence, and appointments in this area are highly sought after, with many incumbents having previous capability management experience, Those who are newly appointed to capability management posts are required to undertake mandatory specialised training courses soon after commencing their new position.
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Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of all food procured for his Department was sourced from (a) British producers, (b) small and medium-sized enterprises and (c) producers which met British buying standards in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Dunne: For armed forces personnel serving on operations, overseas exercises and Her Majesty’s ships there is a single food supply contract with Purple Foodservice Solutions Ltd (PFS). PFS lists approximately 1,150 different food-related items for the armed forces in the core range price list. Currently, they estimate that approximately 60% of lines listed, excluding fresh produce, are sourced from suppliers within the UK. The percentage of UK produced goods changes regularly as a result of seasonality, value for money incentives and changes of supplier.
Ministry of Defence (MOD) personnel in the UK and permanent bases overseas are primarily catered for through a number of catering, retail, leisure and other multi-activity contracts to deliver catering and other services. Information on the proportion of food procured from UK food producers under these arrangements is not held by the MOD.
The MOD is bound by European Union public procurement directives which demand fair and open competition for all food contracts involving the expenditure of public funds. The directives do not permit the MOD to specify only British products or to only source products from a particular region.
Reserve Forces: Dorset
Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement of 3 July 2013, Official Report, column 923, on Reserve forces, what the effect of such changes will be in Dorset. 
Mr Robathan: The restructuring of the Army Reserve will have an impact across the United Kingdom and documents setting out the detail, showing both the current and future location of units, have been placed in the Library of the House.
The Royal Wessex Yeomanry, A (Dorset Yeomanry) Squadron—this squadron will re-role to become the Headquarters Squadron but will remain in Bovington. There is no change to the Regimental Headquarters which is also located in Bovington.
6th Battalion The Rifles, C Company—the Company Headquarters moves from Dorchester to Poole to combine with an existing detachment. A reduced presence will be maintained in Dorchester.
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Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the contribution to the wider economy of shipbuilding for the Royal Navy in each of the (a) last five years and (b) next five years. 
It is considered, however, that the MOD’s expenditure in the maritime sector has a positive economic impact. As stated in UK Defence Statistics 2012, expenditure in the UK on shipbuilding and repair, including submarines, in the five years from 2006-07 to 2010-11 was some £8.7 billion (VAT exclusive at current prices). The Defence Equipment Plan, published in January 2013,states that we plan to spend some £17 billion on surface ships and £35.8 billion on submarines and our nuclear deterrent programmes over the next 10 years.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to the answer given to the hon. Member for New Forest East on 13 February 2013, Official Report, column 766W, on warships, what progress has been made between his Department and BAE on the Terms of Business Agreement; and what consideration he has given to the potential construction of two offshore patrol vessels in Portsmouth to tackle concerns about a potential skills gap developing in that workforce; 
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to deliver the Type 26 frigate over the lifetime of the planned programme; 
(3) what assessment he has made of the number of shipbuilding jobs in the defence sector required to deliver the vessels for the Royal Navy currently planned for (a) 2015, (b) 2020 and (c) 2025. 
Mr Dunne: The Terms of Business Agreement (TOBA) entered into between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and BAE Systems in 2009 requires the company to transform and rationalise its shipbuilding capacity in a manner that sustains specific key industrial capabilities. This includes the maintenance of skills in the areas of production, direct support staff and design/engineering.
The MOD is working closely with the company to explore how best to sustain its shipbuilding capability, to deliver the future shipbuilding programme for the Royal Navy. The discussions are ongoing; ultimately, however, decisions regarding the size and skills of the workforce needed to deliver the shipbuilding programme are a matter for BAE Systems.
Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) British citizens and (b) former British citizens have been killed in airstrikes initiated by US armed forces in the last 10 years. 
MOD Annual Report and Accounts
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Hammond): I am today publishing the Ministry of Defence’s annual report and accounts 2012-13. It provides a comprehensive overview of the Department’s financial performance for the year, together with data on some specific areas of non-financial performance, including factual information on the Department’s progress against structural reform and business plan priorities.
Astute Boat 6
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Hammond): I am pleased to announce that the Astute class submarine hull 6 is to be named HMS Agamemnon. The boat is expected to join HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful, HMS Audacious and HMS Anson in service in 2022.
The seven Astute class boats planned for the Royal Navy are the most advanced attack submarines ordered by the Ministry of Defence, with improved firepower and communications, and the ability to operate stealthily for extended periods. The crew also benefit from greatly improved accommodation and facilities.
Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr Mark Francois): On 22 March 2013, I announced to Parliament through a written ministerial statement, Official Report, column 60WS, the commencement of the triennial review
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of the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors (ACCO). I am now pleased to announce the completion of the review.
The Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors is an advisory non-departmental public body (NDPB), sponsored by the Ministry of Defence. It provides advice to the Secretary of State for Defence on appeals from service personnel whose applications to leave the armed forces on the ground of conscience have been rejected.
The triennial review was conducted in accordance with Government guidance for reviewing NDPBs. Accordingly, stage 1 of the review considered whether there continues to be a need for the function, which the ACCO currently undertakes, to be delivered and whether the function could be more effectively delivered through a vehicle other than a NDPB. Stage 2 of the review scrutinised the current governance arrangements of the ACCO to ascertain whether it complies with the principles of good governance.
The review concluded that there continues to be a need for a body, independent of the chain of command, to provide informed advice to the Secretary of State about the status of service personnel who are seeking discharge from the armed forces, on grounds of conscience but whose application to leave on this basis has been rejected by the chain of command. The review considered that the most effective method of delivering this function is through a NDPB. Finally, the review considered that the ACCO complies with the principles of good governance, but made five recommendations, which the MOD will now consider.
Recommendation 1 —The departmental board must strengthen its corporate governance arrangement and monitor the performance of the relevant advisory bodies appropriately in accordance with their nature, size and role.
Recommendation 3—The sponsoring department in consultation with the Ministry of Justice on behalf of the Lord Chancellor, to consider whether the chair should become involved with lay member appointments or reappointment, including the skills and experience required by the Committee.
Recommendation 4—The chair should be asked to confirm the members’ reappointment to ensure that no question of cause for non-renewal is raised, and this is then put to the Lord Chancellor to make the re-appointment. It would be unnecessarily burdensome to do this every year.
National Employer Advisory Board
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of the triennial review of the National Employer Advisory Board (NEAB). I am now pleased to announce the completion of the review.
The NEAB is an advisory non-departmental public body (NDPB), sponsored by the Ministry of Defence, which provides informed but independent advice to Ministers, the MOD and the reserves community about how it can most effectively gain and maintain the support of and for the employers of Britain’s reserve forces. The review considered the effectiveness of how the functions of the NEAB are currently delivered, whether there is a need for the functions and for the advisory NDPB to continue, and if so, how the function might best be delivered in future.
The review concluded that informed independent strategic advice that the NEAB provides to Ministers, defence chiefs and the reserves community is still required and that it should be retained as an advisory NDPB. The review also considered the governance arrangements for the NEAB in accordance with Cabinet Office guidance on good corporate governance. The report makes some recommendations in this respect that will be considered by the chairman and sponsoring division. The review was set firmly in the context of the review of employer engagement under the future reserves 2020 programme where there will be an increased importance in understanding and anticipating changes in the employer environment.
Tri-Service Recruit Trainee Survey 2012
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr Mark Francois): Today I am publishing the 2012 recruit trainee survey annual report. All recruits and trainees passing through phase 1 and 2 training are offered the opportunity to participate in the survey, which is anonymous and administered independently on behalf of the services by an external contractor.
The annual report contains the views of recruits and trainees about topics such as the preparation for joining, their treatment during phase 1 and 2 training, food, accommodation, access to instructional and welfare staff and complaints procedures. Overall the results are positive and importantly, the findings are used by service training headquarters and units to monitor the training environment and make improvements.
Service Police Crime Statistics and Analysis Cell
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr Mark Francois): During the debate on the Military Justice System that was held in Westminster Hall on 31 January 2013, I put on record my commitment to produce the most accurate information possible relating to sexual offences involving members of the armed forces. I then initiated further work with the service police provost marshals to explore practical ways of achieving this.
I am now able to provide an update to the House on the work of a Service Police Crime Statistics and Analysis Cell, which has been created within the Service Police Crime Bureau that is located at Southwick Park, Hampshire.
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The aim of the Crime Statistics and Analysis Cell is to improve the quality of, and speed of access to, information relating to service police investigations. Initially, this involves creating a new standalone database to cover all sexual offences investigated by the service police since implementation of the Armed Forces Act 2006. Over the coming months, this database will be updated with information provided by service police units and other organisations that work within the Service Justice System. This, in turn, will provide the service police and the Ministry of Defence with more reliable and assured management information on which to base future thinking and decision making.
Although the initial focus of the Service Police Crime Statistics and Analysis Cell is on information relating to sexual offences, its role is being expanded to cover certain other offences (e.g. firearms, drugs, theft, fraud and those involving violence). The aim is to ensure that more accurate and reliable data are available from April 2014. In parallel, the service police are also taking forward work to enhance their existing crime recording IT system, with a view to auditing and assuring its data and enhancing its search capability by October 2014.
Sexual offences of any kind are not tolerated in the Ministry of Defence. The work of the Service Police Crime Statistics and Analysis Cell will enable the service police to monitor patterns of offending behaviour more accurately, and to allocate their resources accordingly.
Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on contracts with (a) Deloitte, (b)PricewaterhouseCoopers, (c) KPMG and (d) Ernst and Young in each year since 2008. 
|Expenditure (£ million)|
|Financial year||Deloitte||PwC||KPMG||Ernst & Young|
These figures include expenditure by MOD trading funds, but do not include payments which may have been made on behalf of other Government Departments, by the MOD executive non-departmental public bodies (which lie outside the MOD accounting boundary), locally by the Department, through third parties such as prime contractors or other Government Departments and in relation to collaborative projects where the payments are made through international procurement agencies or overseas governments. Payments made by Government Procurement Card are also not included.
Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence under what circumstances and for what reasons UK service personnel based at Camp Bastion have been instructed not to use air conditioning systems; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan [holding answer 11 July 2013]: As a result of a temporary disruption to some fuel supplies for ISAF bases across Afghanistan, a number of prudent measures were put in place at Camp Bastion to conserve
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existing fuel stocks. One of these measures involved the short term reduction in the use of non-essential air conditioning at the base; although air conditioning was permitted for at least a period of time each day.
Armoured Fighting Vehicles
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans that the general Purpose Digital Test and Diagnostic Facility will have a role to play in the upgrade programme and through life support of the Warrior upgrade. 
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding his Department allocated to the Conflict Pool in each year from 2010-11 to date; how much he estimates will be allocated in (a) 2013-14 and (b) 2014-15; and if he will make a statement. 
European Fighter Aircraft
This does not include payments which may have been made on behalf of other Government Departments, by the MOD Executive non-departmental public bodies (which lie outside the MOD accounting boundary), locally by the Department, through third parties such as prime contractors or other Government Departments, and in relation to collaborative projects where the payments are made through international procurement agencies or overseas governments. Payments made by Government Procurement Card are also not included.
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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what vetting Libyan armed forces personnel will be subject to by (a) his Department and (b) the Libyan government before they arrive in the UK for training. 
Mr Robathan: Details of the training programme and vetting arrangements are still being developed in conjunction with the Libyan Government. The Ministry of Defence has been working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office to ensure that security and immigration controls will be maintained on those who arrive to undertake training. Her Majesty’s Government has asked the Libyan authorities to screen fully all trainees for medical, physical and behavioural suitability. Trainees who do not pass the vetting or immigration assurance process will not be allowed to travel to the UK.
Marchwood Military Port
Mr Robathan: The numbers of departures from the Sea Mounting Centre Marchwood of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels, and vessels chartered by the Ministry of Defence, are shown in the following table:
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Mr Dunne: As part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review of October 2010, the Ministry of Defence committed to sell the Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre during this spending review period; this remains the intention.
Mr Dunne: The site is being prepared for sale, in association with Ministry of Defence’s financial and legal advisors. The intention remains to complete the transaction in the current spending review period.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has examined all options for the delivery of the MOD Sea Mounting Centre requirements, including the use of alternative sites that might free up port capacity at Marchwood in support of UK exports. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence will explore, through the sale process, options for maximising economic use of the Marchwood port while ensuring that the military requirements for sea mounting can continue to be met.
Mr Robathan: Around 120 personnel from 42 Commando Royal Marines deployed to Jordan with their personal equipment in support of Exercise Eager Lion 13. The final costs of the exercise are not yet available.
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Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department used the facilities at Northcote House, Sunningdale Park, Berkshire in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12 and (iii) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: Following a review of learning and development across Government the National School of Government, which delivered training on the Sunningdale Park site, closed in March 2012. Data on which individuals may have used the site was not retained.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the bidding period for Project Gateway will end; when the contract for that project will be awarded; and what the annual cost to the public purse will be of that contract. 
Mr Dunne: The bidding period for Project Gateway is planned to end in mid-November 2013, with contract award anticipated in mid-December 2013. Until contract negotiations have been completed, the annual cost of the contract will not be known.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 6 June 2013, Official Report, column 241W, on reorganisation, how the new Operating Model will provide transparent processes and improved communications. 
Mr Philip Hammond: In parallel with successfully rolling-out in April 2013 the new delegated organisational structures recommended by Lord Levene, we have been reviewing the operation of the Ministry of Defence’s corporate control framework and the processes that it prescribes to ensure they are as transparent and easy to use as possible. So far this has included simplified basic security guidance, new business processes for managing defence infrastructure, revised financial planning and performance management arrangements to support the new delegated operating model, and a programme of incremental simplification and improvement of our civilian HR policy, rules and guidance in line with the goals of Civil Service Reform. There will be more to do in this area as the operating model matures, particularly in terms of further streamlining the Department’s decision making process around a single authoritative management information system.
Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of progress on recruiting the required additional reservist capability; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Francois: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), on the 3 July 2013, Official Report, columns 923-47.
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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many flights have been conducted under the open skies treaty since 2002; what aircraft were used in each case; and which countries were surveyed. 
Mr Robathan: Since 2002, the UK has undertaken a total of 51 open skies missions. 38 were quota missions to the following countries: Ukraine (five); Georgia (seven) and Russia (26). 13 missions were training missions to the following nations: Bulgaria; Yugoslavia; Estonia; Slovenia (three); Sweden (three); USA; Latvia, Lithuania and the Benelux.
There has been a variety of aircraft used. The UK used its own aircraft, an Andover, until 2008. Since then the aircraft used include a Swedish Saab 340, a Romanian and a Ukrainian An30 and the US OS-135.
Unmanned Air Vehicles: Guided Weapons
Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether his Department has commissioned testing into the feasibility of deploying Brimstone missiles from unmanned aerial vehicles; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence (MOD), with MBDA support, is currently planning to conduct trials into the feasibility of integrating Brimstone onto remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) in the autumn of 2013. The MOD is not developing a prototype Brimstone missile for use on a US RPAS. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 15 May 2013, Official Report, column 222W, to the hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson).
Air Force: Deployment
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what personnel of what rank will work at the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre at Torrejon de Ardoz; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of those personnel being stationed there. 
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Dr Murrison: The United Kingdom has been allocated 16 posts in the Combined Air Operations Centre Torrejon, which as of 1 December 2012 forms part of the NATO Command Structure. All 16 posts will be filled by Royal Air Force personnel, broken down by rank as follows:
Three x Wing Commander (OF4)
Six x Squadron Leader (OF3)
Three x Flight Lieutenant (OF2)
One x Warrant Officer (OR9)
Two x Flight Sergeant (OR7)
One x Sergeant (OR6).
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what training will take place as part of re-establishing the Lead Armour Battlegroup; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of that training; 
Training for the Lead Armoured Battlegroup will be developed incrementally in order to deliver the full capability from 2018. At present we envisage Lead Armoured Battlegroup training progressing from individual and team level through troop level to squadron level culminating in an overseas exercise in due course. It is too soon to assess the full cost of the training involved with the Lead Armoured Battlegroup.
Dr Murrison: The Ministry of Defence is currently negotiating with industry with the intention of awarding the Maritime Support Delivery Framework contracts before the end of the current financial year.
In the meantime, continuity of support to ships and submarines and to the running of Her Majesty’s Naval Bases (HMNB) at Devonport, Portsmouth and the Faslane site at HMNB Clyde will be provided under the existing contractual arrangements.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent by his Department (a) in total and (b) on staff costs on promoting equality and diversity in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and how many people are employed by his Department for this purpose. 
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six months of joining, and facilitated workshops are held regularly for military personnel.
However, the information requested is not held centrally. To disaggregate the annual spend, and estimate percentages devoted to the promotion of equality and diversity across the Department, would incur disproportionate cost.
With regard to the number of personnel employed on E&D roles, there is a Head Office team of five people, with smaller teams supporting the individual top level budget holders. Below this level the role of E and D advisor and assistant advisor is an additional duty at unit locations and establishments.
Mr Philip Hammond: I have no direct Icelandic counterpart: although a member of NATO, Iceland has no standing armed forces nor a Ministry of Defence. Iceland is represented by their Permanent Representative to NATO, Thorsteinn Ingolfsson, at meetings of NATO Defence Ministers, and I met him in this capacity at the last meeting in Brussels on 3/4 June 2013. Ambassador Ingolfsson also represented Iceland at a meeting of the Northern Group Defence Ministers which I also attended at that time.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 4 July 2013, Official Report, column 779W, on military aircraft, how many aircraft of each type were used to calculate the net book value. 
Dr Murrison: Pursuant to the answer of 4 July 2013, Official Report, column 779W, the number of aircraft used to calculate the current net book value (NBV) of each fleet is shown in the following table.
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|King Air 350||4|
These numbers only reflect aircraft currently on the asset register; they do not include assets in the course of construction or future deliveries. It should also be noted that the number of aircraft and the total NBV figure cannot be used in conjunction to calculate an accurate NBV per aircraft.
Military Bases: County Down
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to visit Palace Barracks and Kinnegar Barracks in Holywood in North Down constituency; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: The Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), has no current plans to visit Palace Barracks or Kinnegar Barracks. However, he hopes that he will be able to visit Northern Ireland at some point in the future.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assets have been assigned to (a) Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, (b) Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, (c) Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 and (d) Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 since 2012; and for how long each asset was assigned to each group. 
The Royal Navy Mine Countermeasures Vessels assigned to the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 were HMS Ledbury and HMS Blyth in 2012 and HMS Cattistock and HMS Ledbury in 2013. The period of support is six months per ship.
In addition, the Royal Navy provides regular contributions to maritime NATO exercises, supports Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean using transiting surface vessels and submarines, and allows other NATO vessels in the Arabian Gulf to refuel using the on station UK Royal Fleet Auxiliary Tanker.
17 July 2013 : Column 773W
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost of the cannibalisation of Link 16 data systems from Type 22 ships and their installation on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s Bay-Class ships. 
Dr Murrison: The cost to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the removal and storage of Link 16 data systems from four Type 22 ships was close to £12,000. The cost to the MOD for the refurbishment, transport, fitting and testing of these systems on three Bay Class ships was approximately £826,000.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many answers by his Department to Parliamentary Questions involving tables of statistics fewer than four pages in length were (a) printed in full and (b) provided via a link to a website in the last year. 
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance his Department follows in determining whether statistics in answers to Parliamentary Questions are (a) provided in full, (b) provided via a link to a website and (c) deposited in the Library. 
Mr Francois: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Leader of the House of Commons, my right hon. Friend the Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr Lansley), on 12 February 2013, Official Report, column 649W, to the hon. Member for West Bromwich East (Mr Watson).
Air Force: Reserve Forces
Mr Robathan: There are no current plans to use reserve officers to fly combat aircraft. However, RAF reserves provide pilots and other aircrew for air transport such as the CI30 Hercules and C17 Globemaster aircraft.
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Armed Forces: Discharges
Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of a) the Army, (b) the Royal Navy, (c) the RAF and (d) the Royal Marines were medically discharged for reasons relating to alcohol in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011 and (iii) 2012. 
Mr Francois [holding answer 5 June 2013]:Defence Statistics release annual updates on medical discharges in the UK armed forces as an Official Statistic publication. In accordance with the code of practice for the release of National/Official Statistics we are unable to provide the data for 2012 prior to the next statistical release, due on 11 July 2013, as set out in the Statistics and Registration Service Act, 2007.
In the Royal Navy, there were no personnel medically discharged with a principal condition relating to alcohol in 2010 or 2011, and none with a contributory condition relating to alcohol in 2010. There were fewer than five with a contributory condition in 2011.
In the Army, there were no personnel medically discharged with a contributory condition relating to alcohol in 2011. There were fewer than five with a contributory condition in 2010 and fever than five with a principal condition in both 2010 and 2011.
House of Lords
Baroness Taylor of Bolton (Labour): To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have for future engagement with the United Kingdom’s allies in the Five Powers Defence Arrangement.
Hansard source (Citation: HL Deb, 30 July 2013, c274W)
Lord Astor of Hever (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Defence; Conservative): The UK’s allies in the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) are Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. On a bilateral basis, we have regular and extensive engagement across the full breadth of Government to Government relations. Within the auspices of the FPDA, however, the FPDA exercise plot sees two live exercises each year: one in the spring, followed by one in the autumn. Having had four Typhoon aircraft participate in the spring exercise earlier this year, we plan to contribute a Royal Navy Destroyer (Type 45) to the exercise this coming autumn. Looking ahead, there is a five year plan for FPDA exercises; the exact UK contributions will be finalised at exercise planning meetings nearer the time. Outside of the live exercise plot, there is a series of regular FPDA meetings throughout the year that UK representatives attend, the highest level this year being the Five Power Defence Chiefs Conference (FDCC) in November 2013 in Singapore, at which our Chief of Defence Staff will be present.
Lord Ashcroft (Conservative): To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements are being put in place for delivery of supplies to Ascension Island once RMS St Helena is withdrawn from service.
Hansard source (Citation: HL Deb, 30 July 2013, c264W)
Baroness Warsi (Conservative): The Ministry of Defence operates regular air and sea supply chains for Ascension, and other South Atlantic Overseas Territories, to meet military needs. Where there is spare freight capacity on these routes this space is available for purchase to meet the supply requirements of the Territory. There are no plans to alter these arrangements after the withdrawal of the RMS St Helena.
Lord West of Spithead (Labour): To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to establish an Operational Conversion Unit for the F35B aircraft; and, if so, of how many F35B aircraft it will consist.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have estimated the cost of establishing a Operational Conversion Unit for the F35B aircraft; if so, what is their estimate of (1) the total cost, (2) the initial start-up cost, and (3) annual running costs.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much they estimate it will cost for each pilot to (1) train, and (2) convert to, fly the F35B aircraft.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have considered using the United States Operational Conversion Unit for the F35B aircraft; and, if so, how many aircraft the United Kingdom would have to provide.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have considered using the United States Operational Conversion Unit for the F35B aircraft; and, if so, what estimate they have made of (1) the annual costs, and (2) the start-up costs, of doing so.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have considered using the United States Operational Conversion Unit for the F35B aircraft; and, if so, how much they estimate it would cost the United Kingdom for each pilot to (1) train, and (2) convert, to fly the F35B aircraft.
Hansard source (Citation: HL Deb, 30 July 2013, c263W)
Lord Astor of Hever (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Defence; Conservative): We intend to establish an Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) for the F-35B aircraft. Approval for an OCU will be considered by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Investment Approvals Committee as part of the forthcoming main gate decision in autumn 2013.
The business case for the forthcoming main gate investment decision will consider a number of options for conducting conversion training on the F-35, including locating the OCU in the United States. The MoD does not publish details of options considered in business cases.
An estimate of the costs associated with establishing and sustaining an OCU for the F-35B has been made. These costs will be presented within the main gate business case. The MOD does not publish cost estimates as to do so would undermine its commercial position.
The numbers of F-35B aircraft within the OCU will vary over time dependent on the operational output required for the UK Lightning II force.
Lord West of Spithead (Labour): To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many F35B aircraft they are planning to purchase.
Hansard source (Citation: HL Deb, 30 July 2013, c263W)
Lord Astor of Hever (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Defence; Conservative): The overall number of F-35B Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to be purchased will not be determined before the next Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015.