PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS FROM PS2 THE LEADING U.K. GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS COMPANY
Written Answers to Questions
Thursday 27 June 2002
EU Rapid Reaction Force
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are for the extension of the EU Rapid Reaction Force’s mandate to the fight against terrorism; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: There is no standing European Rapid Reaction Force. The European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) seeks to enable the European Union to deal with the full range of conflict prevention and crisis management missions defined in the Amsterdam treaty, the “Petersberg Tasks”. The European Council at Seville agreed a declaration concerning the contribution of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, including ESDP, in the fight against terrorism. This can already include the use of military forces if appropriate.
Nuclear Test Veterans
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements are in place to test the blood and saliva of British nuclear test veterans for evidence of irradiation. 
Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 17 January 2002, Official Report, column 394W, to the hon. Member for Angus (Mr. Weir).
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Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are (a) in place and (b) under discussion in his Department in order to ensure compliance with the WEE Directive. 
Dr. Moonie: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him on 12 June 2002, Official Report, column 1266W, by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Wilson).
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff were employed by his Department on (a) 2 May 1997 and (b) 31 May 2002. 
Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 13 June 2002, Official Report, column 1402W, by the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, (Mr. Alexander).
Strategic Sealift Capability
Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made toward finalising the arrangements for the UK’s future military strategic sealift capability. 
Dr. Moonie: I am pleased to announce that negotiations with AWSR Shipping Ltd. have been concluded and a PFI contract that will run until 2024 has been signed. The full service will be available from 2003. AWSR will provide, operate, maintain and manage six roll-on roll-off vessels and supply crews for the whole of the period of their contract. 180 new jobs for British seafarers will be created. After a phase in period, crews will be sponsored reserves. Based on a projected usage, the service is worth some £950 million, of which some £800 million is likely to be spent in the United Kingdom.
All six ships will not be needed all the time for Ministry of Defence work. When not engaged on MOD tasks they will be available for commercial trade.
The service will play a central role in fulfilling our strategic defence review commitment to enhance the armed forces’ equipment lift requirements and allow the movement of the joint rapid reaction forces quickly to overseas theatres as required.
Written Answers to Questions
Monday 1 July 2002
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to install an integrated cockpit voice and flight data recorder with a health and usage monitoring system into (a) Sea King Mk 3, (b) Sea King Mk 3A, (c) Lynx and (d) Puma aircraft; at what stage these plans are; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: We are examining how we can derive the maximum benefit for these in-service helicopters from integrated cockpit voice and flight data recorders, and the health and usage monitoring system. Final decisions have yet to be taken as to which helicopter types will be fitted wi