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24 May 2007 : Column 1388W—continued

Navy: Vessels

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which naval vessels have been sold by the Royal Navy in the last five years; what the (a) vessel type, (b) service cost and (c) destination country was in each case; and if he will estimate the (i) original costs of each vessel and (ii) financial gains accrued to public funds as a result of each sale. [137565]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 16 May 2007]: The information is provided in the following table:

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Type Country Service cost Original cost (£) Sale price (£)


HMS Beagle

Bulldog Class Hydrographical Survey Ship



(3)53 million


HMS London

T22 Frigate




116 million

HMS Coventry

(4)147 million

HMS Shetland

Island Class Offshore Patrol Vehicles



(3)53 million each

8 million

HMS Aldernay

HMS Anglesey

HMS Lindisfarne

HMS Guernsey

HMS Sheffield

Type 22 Frigate



(4)151 million

27 million


HMS Unseen

Upholder Class Submarine





HMS Scylla

Leader Class Frigate





RFA Sir Geraint

Round Table Landing Ship Logistical






HMS Marlborough

Type 23 Frigate



(4)120 million

134 million

HMS Norfolk

(4)142 million

HMS Grafton

(4)79 million


HMS Sandown

Sandown Class Mine Hunter



(3)53 million each

32 million

HMS Inverness

HMS Bridport

(1) Records not kept beyond point of sale.
(2) This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
(3) Information concerning original cost is not held. Average cost has been estimated at 2007 prices and includes Government furnished equipment.
(4) Original cost of vessels not held. Original build cost provided but does not include other costs such as Ministry supplied material and equipment.
(5) No records held.
(6) Leased to Canada in 1998, with an option to purchase, which was exercised in 2003. It is impossible to calculate exact value for this submarine as lease covered four submarines, remaining three still under lease. Total value of lease is Canadian $360 million for all four submarines.
(7) Sunk as artificial reef.
(8) Records not kept beyond point of sale—ultimately dismantled in Pakistan.

These figures are rounded and those in the “sale price” column reflect the total sales revenue.

It is standard practice for sales of surplus warships to foreign Governments to include a package of modernisation and regeneration work provided by industry. It is not possible to provide figures relating to industry costs or the subsequent detailed financial returns to the UK defence budget and British taxpayer, without incurring disproportionate costs. Moreover, any such figures would be commercially sensitive, and could not be released.

In many cases the only alternative to a sale of these surplus warships would have been recycling, potentially at a cost to the British taxpayer. The benefits of these sales extend beyond the capital return, as they provide a defence diplomacy impact and enhance British industrial participation. It is not possible to quantify these benefits; however, in each case, the sale represented the best available outcome.

Snow Queen Exercise

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of the last exercise Snow Queen was; and if he will make a statement. [137440]

Derek Twigg: Exercise “Snow Queen” used to be run in Germany with the objective of introducing soldiers to skiing. This exercise was discontinued over ten years ago and details of the costs incurred on the last occasion that it took place have not been retained. An adventurous training activity weekend undertaken by the wives and other female members based in Suffield, Canada in March this year, also titled “Exercise Snow Queen”, was funded through the British Army Unit Suffield Wives’ Club. All costs incurred by the Army were recovered from the participants.


Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the commitment to maintaining and deploying an eight-boat attack submarine fleet in the 2004 supplement to the 2003 Defence White Paper remains in place. [138524]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 21 May 2007]: As set out in the 2004 "Future Capabilities" supplement to the 2003 White Paper, by late 2008 our attack submarine fleet will consist of eight boats. Thereafter, the existing Swiftsure and Trafalgar class submarines will be progressively replaced by the new and more capable Astute class.

Education and Skills

Teenage Boys: Literacy

11. Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps are being taken to encourage teenage boys to read. [138964]

Jim Knight: Reading for pleasure is essential to improving children's chances of success.

The Boys into Books initiative I launched last week allows every state-funded secondary school with boys on roll to select 20 free books. The Reading Champions initiative provides a range of ideas and resources to encourage boys to read more by using the motivational power of reading role models.

Both initiatives support our wider programme to promote literacy, including the planned National Year of Reading in 2008.


12. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to encourage the teaching of Mandarin at GCSE level. [138965]

Jim Knight: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority have recently consulted on which languages schools should teach to 11 to 14-year-olds. We expect them to advise that schools should be free to teach any major languages they choose from 2008. The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust provide support to over 80 schools already teaching Mandarin. We expect this number to rise when the new secondary curriculum is introduced.

Young Adults: Learning Difficulties

13. Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on his Department's provision of resources for post-19 education for young adults with severe learning difficulties. [138966]

Phil Hope: For young people studying higher education courses there is comprehensive student support available. Disabled students' allowances (DSAs) help meet the additional costs arising from a disability, mental health condition or learning disability. Under the Learning and Skills Act 2000 we have a commitment to provide suitable facilities for learners in further education aged 19 onwards. In
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2004-05 the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) provided almost £1.5 billion to support 640,000 post-16 learners of all ages with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

City Academies

14. Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many academy schools are planned to be opened in the next 12 months. [138967]

Jim Knight: There are 47 academies already open. In September this year we plan to open another 36 academies, with up to a further 50 projected to open in September 2008.

Basic Skills Training

15. Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether he has had discussions with ministerial colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions on co-ordinating basic skills training for the unemployed and other benefit claimants who would like to work. [138968]

Phil Hope: In March 2006 DfES and DWP Ministers agreed an approach for transferring responsibility for the planning and funding of basic skills training to the Learning and Skills Council as recommended by the National Employment Panel with the aim of improving quality and co-ordination of learning opportunities.

We are working across Government to develop a new programme for Basic Skills and Employability which will provide opportunities to improve their skills and move into sustainable employment

Further Education Funding

17. Lynda Waltho: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on extending further education funding to support 17 to 19-year-olds. [138970]

Phil Hope: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply previously given today to my hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (Anne Moffat).

Grammar Schools

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent discussions he has had with local authorities on the future of grammar schools. [138969]

Jim Knight: We have not discussed the future of grammar schools with local authorities recently but our position remains unchanged: we are not in favour of academic selection and do not wish to see it extended.

Child Care

Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps the Government are taking to ensure that there is sufficient quality child care available in local areas. [138971]

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Beverley Hughes: From next April, every local authority will have a duty to secure sufficient child care for working parents in their area. They will be supported in doing so by the £3 billion the Government have made available between 2006 and 2008 to support the child care market and to develop 2,500 children’s centres; and the further £3 billion invested each year in free early education for every three and four-year-old.


John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 15 May 2007, Official Report, column 662W, on adoption, what intensive targeted work has been carried out by his Department with local authorities to improve placement stability for children in care; and what assessment he has made of the effect of this work. [138972]

Beverley Hughes: Too often, children who stay in care long-term are affected by numerous changes of carer, which impacts on their security and wellbeing, their ability to make and maintain friendships, and their schooling, which is often disrupted as a result. The Department appointed a small team of independent consultants—all former senior managers in social services—to work with 34 local authorities who had a significant contribution to make to the department's PSA target on improving stability for children in long-term care. Each local authority received five days’ free consultancy to help them develop their own action plans to improve stability. Each authority is also being encouraged to share their learning with others in the same region, and materials are being developed to facilitate this. Telephone consultancy was also offered to 50 more local authorities, if they wished to accept it. The work ended in March this year, and it is therefore too soon to identify the impact it has had on performance.

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