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Written Question
Bridges and Tunnels: Northern Ireland and Scotland
2 Dec 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the cost has been to the public purse of the Union Connectivity Review and Fixed Link Feasibility Study into the potential merits of a bridge or tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Answered by Trudy Harrison

The Fixed Link Feasibility Study forms part of the Union Connectivity Review, independently chaired by Sir Peter Hendy CBE. Final invoices are yet to be received.


Written Question
Eritrea: Sanctions
2 Dec 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department is coordinating with the US, and other key strategic partners, on the use of Magnitsky sanctions against Eritrean individuals and organisations responsible for a destabilising presence in the conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia.

Answered by Vicky Ford

We are deeply concerned by Eritrean involvement in the conflict in Tigray. The UK continues to consider the full range of policy tools at our disposal to protect human rights and deter violations of international humanitarian law. It is longstanding practice not to speculate on future sanctions designations as to do so could reduce the impact of the designations.

We note the statement on 12 November by the US Treasury that they have sanctioned four entities and two individuals. Sanctions are most effective when countries act together. International cooperation is at the heart of UK sanctions policy, and the UK will continue to work with the US and other international partners to tackle shared global challenges.


Written Question
Capita Fire and Rescue: Vacancies
29 Nov 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many and what proportion of vacant positions there were at Capita Fire and Rescue as at 24 November 2021; and what comparative assessment he has made of how that vacancy rate compared with the level under his Department's Defence Fire and Rescue Service prior to the transfer of that contract.

Answered by Leo Docherty

Capita Fire and Rescue (CFR) provides suitably qualified personnel to meet the operational requirements at designated MOD sites. The MOD closely monitors CFR's ability to maintain operational outputs, but current vacancy levels at Capita is a matter for the company.


Written Question
Capita Fire and Rescue
26 Nov 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether all stations included in his Department's contract with Capita received (a) new firefighting vehicles, (b) PPE, (c) training facilities and (d) any other contractual delivery requirements prior to the reduction of staff at certain Capita stations.

Answered by Leo Docherty

The Minstry of Defence (MOD) closely monitors Capita’s delivery against its contractual obligations through a rigorous performance management regime; any changes to crewing levels follow a rigorous assessment of the fire risks at the site, and must be approved by the MOD.

All resilience staff working at HMNB Clyde have the appropriate clearance, but any agreements between Capita Fire and Rescue (CFR) and its sub-contractors on equipment or terms and conditions of employment are a matter for the company. The MOD continues to monitor the situation closely and will take any measures we think are necessary, while also providing CFR and their employees the space to resolve differences.


Written Question
Capita Fire and Rescue: Working Hours
26 Nov 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether Capita has reduced the working hours of the staff across the civilian element of Capita Fire and Rescue; and what the total average weekly hours worked by operational staff (a) is as at 23 November 2011 and (b) was prior to transfer.

Answered by Leo Docherty

The Minstry of Defence (MOD) closely monitors Capita’s delivery against its contractual obligations through a rigorous performance management regime; any changes to crewing levels follow a rigorous assessment of the fire risks at the site, and must be approved by the MOD.

All resilience staff working at HMNB Clyde have the appropriate clearance, but any agreements between Capita Fire and Rescue (CFR) and its sub-contractors on equipment or terms and conditions of employment are a matter for the company. The MOD continues to monitor the situation closely and will take any measures we think are necessary, while also providing CFR and their employees the space to resolve differences.


Written Question
Clyde Naval Base: Contracts
26 Nov 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which (a) company or (b) sub-contractors are providing workers to HMNB Clyde during the industrial action at that naval base; and which (a) official or (b) Minister in his Department was responsible for agreeing that contract.

Answered by Leo Docherty

The Minstry of Defence (MOD) closely monitors Capita’s delivery against its contractual obligations through a rigorous performance management regime; any changes to crewing levels follow a rigorous assessment of the fire risks at the site, and must be approved by the MOD.

All resilience staff working at HMNB Clyde have the appropriate clearance, but any agreements between Capita Fire and Rescue (CFR) and its sub-contractors on equipment or terms and conditions of employment are a matter for the company. The MOD continues to monitor the situation closely and will take any measures we think are necessary, while also providing CFR and their employees the space to resolve differences.


Written Question
Clyde Naval Base: Security
26 Nov 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what level of security clearance the resilience workers have that are working at HMNB Clyde during the industrial action; and whether that security clearance is at the level required at that naval base.

Answered by Leo Docherty

The Minstry of Defence (MOD) closely monitors Capita’s delivery against its contractual obligations through a rigorous performance management regime; any changes to crewing levels follow a rigorous assessment of the fire risks at the site, and must be approved by the MOD.

All resilience staff working at HMNB Clyde have the appropriate clearance, but any agreements between Capita Fire and Rescue (CFR) and its sub-contractors on equipment or terms and conditions of employment are a matter for the company. The MOD continues to monitor the situation closely and will take any measures we think are necessary, while also providing CFR and their employees the space to resolve differences.


Written Question
Clyde Naval Base: Working Hours
26 Nov 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the compliance between duties of resilience staff at HMNB Clyde with (a) the Working Time Directive and (b) other rest requirements set out in law.

Answered by Leo Docherty

The Minstry of Defence (MOD) closely monitors Capita’s delivery against its contractual obligations through a rigorous performance management regime; any changes to crewing levels follow a rigorous assessment of the fire risks at the site, and must be approved by the MOD.

All resilience staff working at HMNB Clyde have the appropriate clearance, but any agreements between Capita Fire and Rescue (CFR) and its sub-contractors on equipment or terms and conditions of employment are a matter for the company. The MOD continues to monitor the situation closely and will take any measures we think are necessary, while also providing CFR and their employees the space to resolve differences.


Written Question
Abduljalil al-Singace
19 Nov 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the the oral answer of 26 October 2021 by the Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Official Report, column 131, and whether he has raised the case of imprisoned human rights defender on hunger strike, Dr Abuljalil AlSingace in any bilateral meetings with Bahraini officials in (a) the UK and (b) Bahrain.

Answered by James Cleverly

We continue to monitor and raise the case of Dr Abduljalil al-Singace and others as necessary, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the oversight bodies.
Written Question
Bahrain: Human Rights
15 Nov 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 18 October 2021 to Question 53919 and with reference to her Department's Human Rights and Democracy: 2020 report published on 8 July 2021, whether the Government provided assistance for the development of Bahrain’s integrated National Human Rights Action Plan; if the Government will support Bahrain in the implementation of that plan; and what reforms that plan is expected to deliver.

Answered by James Cleverly

The UK government has not provided financial assistance for the development of Bahrain's National Human Rights Plan but did alongside others, including the UN, participate in the preparatory workshops. Until the Plan is published, it would be inappropriate to speculate on its content or possible UK support for its implementation.


Written Question
Clyde Naval Base: High Rise Flats
8 Nov 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the cost of removing combustible cladding from the 22 multi-storey accommodation blocks and any other buildings at HMNB Clyde; and whether the contractors who constructed the accommodation blocks or his Department will pay for the cost of that work.

Answered by Jeremy Quin

At Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, investigative works are ongoing to assess the extent and type of combustible external wall systems on the accommodation blocks so that remediation plans (if required) and associated costs may be established.


Written Question
Clyde Naval Base: High Rise Flats
8 Nov 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to remove combustible cladding on multi-storey accommodation blocks at HMNB Clyde; and what his planned timescale is for that removal.

Answered by Jeremy Quin

Investigations to determine the level of required remediation are underway. Should removal be recommended as part of remedial works, timescales will be determined once investigations are complete.

All high-rise buildings currently occupied on the defence estate which have been identified as having combustible external wall systems have a current Fire Risk Assessment in place and remain legally compliant for continued occupation.


Written Question
Clyde Naval Base: High Rise Flats
8 Nov 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when combustible cladding was first identified as having been used on 22 multi-storey accommodation blocks at HMNB Clyde.

Answered by Jeremy Quin

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) were informed of combustible external wall systems on 17 of the 22 high rise accommodation blocks at HMNB Clyde in December 2013, when an independent report was commissioned by Head of Establishment Clyde. Following this report substantial fire compartmentation works were carried out by MOD’s contractor mitigating the risk of retaining the external walling system. The subsequent fire risk assessments have confirmed that the buildings remain legally compliant for continued occupation.

The external wall systems on these high rise buildings do not contain Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) used on the external wall system of Grenfell Tower. In 2017, MOD confirmed that it had no high rise residential buildings containing ACM within their external walling systems.

The 22 high rise buildings at the Clyde are primarily of a block and brick construction. The partial cladding is on the top floor and around an inner core. Investigations are ongoing as to what remediation if any is required to these wall systems.

All high rise buildings currently occupied on the defence estate which have been identified as having combustible external wall systems, have a current Fire Risk Assessment in place and remain legally compliant for continued occupation.


Written Question
Clyde Naval Base: Housing
8 Nov 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when the combustible cladding on 22 multi-storey accommodation blocks at HMNB was last inspected.

Answered by Jeremy Quin

The last inspection of accommodation blocks at HMNB Clyde took place in May 2021. This consisted of a check of the external wall systems of a sample of six accommodation blocks, which represent the three different design types of the 22 accommodation blocks.


Written Question
Ministry of Defence: Buildings
8 Nov 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what checks were carried out on all new building projects on his estate, including at HMNB Clyde, following the fire at Grenfell in 2017, to ascertain if combustible cladding was being used on those new buildings.

Answered by Jeremy Quin

The Grenfell Tower fire occurred on 14 June 2017. In response to the concerns about building cladding and following Government advice the MOD surveyed the defence estate to establish if any MOD-owned sleeping accommodation blocks over six storeys were clad with Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) during July-August 2017. This found that MOD had no buildings above six storeys clad with ACM.

In December 2018, the then MHCLG issued an updated Advice Note which meant that all buildings at a height in excess of six storeys with any external cladding and containing residential accommodation had to be assessed to ascertain the type of cladding used.

All buildings on the Defence Estate were re-surveyed (surveys completed in July 2019), which identified 28 buildings (subsequently reduced to 27) which had external wall systems requiring further investigation.

Work continues to confirm the remediation required, if necessary on the high rise buildings identified at HMNB Clyde.

All currently occupied high-rise buildings on the defence estate identified as having combustible external wall systems have a current Fire Risk Assessment in place and remain legally compliant for continued occupation.