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Military Colleges

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many students awarded service scholarships, undergraduate bursaries and cadetships, who were due to enter military colleges in the past five years, have withdrawn from the scheme; how many of those who have withdrawn repaid in full funds advanced to them prior to their withdrawal; whether the armed forces continue to pursue those who have not repaid sums received; and how much has been written off in each of the past five years. [133866]

Mr. Caplin: Those awarded university cadetships or bursaries are required, as a condition of the offer, to agree to refund the costs of the cadetship or bursary should they fail to complete five years (cadetships) or three years (bursaries) productive service (six years for Medical Cadetships and the RAF Flying Branch). Each case is considered on its merits, but it is the Department's normal practice to seek to recover its appropriate outlay when the specified return of service is not given, through a decision to leave the Service attributable to the individual. Salary payments are not recovered in respect of cadetships. Allowance is not made for time served except in respect of uniform costs. Recovery is not sought from those individuals whose service, or bursary, is terminated through no fault of their own (e.g. on medical grounds) and may be waived in whole or part on compassionate grounds or in other exceptional circumstances.

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The following table gives details of the number of withdrawals from Army and RAF scholarships, cadetships and bursaries.

Withdrawal from scholarships, cadetships and bursaries

1999–20001157Not available

The number of recoveries initiated:

Recoveries initiated


All award holder withdrawals (with the exception of the few who are excused repayment in accordance with the above policy) are pursued for full recovery, although some write-off actions have occurred and these are detailed as follows. The year in which write-off action is taken is not necessarily the year in which withdrawal occurred.

Number of cases involving write-off action


I will write to the hon. Member once similar figures regarding withdrawals from Royal Marines scholarships, cadetships and bursaries have been collated and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Operation Southern Focus

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the role of British forces in Operation Southern Focus. [129895]

Mr. Ingram: United Kingdom forces were not involved in Operation Southern Focus.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act

Brian White: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what statutory investigatory powers the Department has; which ones will be superseded by use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; and what plans he has for removing these legacy powers. [136130]

Mr. Caplin: In addition to the powers governed by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the Ministry of Defence Police have statutory investigatory powers under the MOD Police Act 1987 (as amended by

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the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001) and Service police investigatory powers are specified in the Army and Air Force Acts 1955 and the Naval Discipline Act 1957 (as amended by the various Armed Forces Acts).

No existing statutory investigatory powers will be superseded by use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. Existing statutory investigatory powers to compel production of information will not be used to compel disclosure of communications data under Part 1 Chapter 11 of RIPA and there are no plans to repeal those existing powers.

Reservists (Life Insurance)

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 27 October 2003, Official Report, columns 6–7W, on life insurance, what provisions were put in place to cover Reservists called up for service in the six months prior to 1 July. [138098]

Mr. Caplin: For many years, the Ministry of Defence has provided attributable death and injury benefits for Reservists under the War Pension Scheme and the Reserve Forces (Attributable Benefits Etc) Regulations. Commercial insurance has offered—and still offers—additional cover to those requiring it. The decision whether to take out such cover has always been a matter for the individual; MOD neither endorses nor sponsors commercial insurance schemes.

Reservists called up for service in the six months prior to 1 July 2003 could, if they wished, have taken out life cover under RPAX, and at that time been covered for war risks on joining the scheme. Information about RPAX was then, and still is, promulgated, periodically, to individual Reservists and units. In addition, Reservists would have been briefed on its availability at their respective mobilisation centres.

Saudi Arabia

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 3 November 2003, Official Report, column 428–29W, on Saudi Arabia, when his Department's Permanent Secretary raised the allegations against British Aerospace/BAE Systems and Robert Lee International with the Chairman of BAE Systems; how these allegations were raised; what type of claims have to be endorsed by staff of his Department's Director General of the Saudi Armed Forces Project; what the terms of the Al Yamamah contracts are in respect of the endorsement claims; and if he will make a statement. [137234]

Mr. Ingram: The Department's Permanent Secretary raised the matter with the Chairman of BAE Systems in May 2001, in the context of the Government's firm anti-fraud policies.

The Al Yamamah contracts provide for a set of accounting processes, jointly agreed between the UK and Saudi Arabian Governments, which cover the endorsement and recording of approved claims. The processes cover claims for goods and services supplied to Saudi Arabia under the Al Yamamah contracts. Staff of the Directorate General Saudi Armed Forces Project endorse the fact that such goods and services have been supplied to the agreed specification or standard and at

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the price set out in the Al Yamamah contracts. All claims are made in the name of the Prime Contractor, BAE Systems.

Ships (Sale and Disposal)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) submarines and (b) surface ships are decommissioned and awaiting (i) sale and (ii) disposal. [137561]

Mr. Ingram: Currently, one conventionally powered (diesel electric) Upholder Class submarine is undergoing refurbishment pending handover to Canada. Twelve nuclear-powered submarines have been decommissioned and will be disposed of in due course. In addition, one decommissioned surface ship (a Fleet Diving Tender) is awaiting sale and one (Fearless Class) is awaiting disposal.

Territorial Army

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Territorial Army personnel are on active service; and how many are expected to be on active service over the Christmas period. [138440]

Mr. Caplin: As at 1 September 2003, 4,160 members of the Territorial Army (TA) were mobilised, either on operations abroad, or in support of those operations in the United Kingdom.

It is estimated that 1,600 members of the TA will be on active service over the Christmas period. This figure does not include those individuals who, although still compulsorily mobilised, have returned home from active service but not yet completed their post operational tour leave.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the role of the Territorial Army in Iraq. [138441]

Mr. Caplin: The Territorial Army (TA) undertake any and every task that is performed by their regular armed forces counterparts and are present throughout British Army units in Iraq. This is entirely in accordance with the Strategic Defence Review which set out a requirement for the TA to become a more integrated, relevant, useable force, better able to support their Regular counterparts on operations overseas.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of the change in the number of annual training days in the Territorial Army on (a) morale, (b) retention and (c) recruitment; [138443]

Mr. Caplin: It has been assessed that the change in the numbers of annual training days in the Territorial Army being put in place will have no significant effect on morale, retention and recruitment.

The change will not affect the pay of privates or majors in the Territorial Army, nor will it impact on the ability of members of the Territorial Army to earn their annual bounty payment.

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