Results 1–20 of 2063 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Mark Lancaster

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Reserve Centres (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: At the first Defence questions of the new Parliament, may I remind the House of my interest, namely that I am in my 29th year of service in the Army Reserve? The Ministry of Defence regularly holds discussions with local authorities and the devolved Administrations on reserves. That includes engaging with all stakeholders on sites that are earmarked for closure or for the establishment of new...

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Reserve Centres (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: Of course, we do engage with local authorities to the best of our ability, but no final decisions have been made in the Army Reserve Refine programme. It would therefore be premature to engage with local authorities to say which, if any, Army Reserve centres are closing. However, that piece of work on the reserves brings good news as well, so I am delighted to take this opportunity to...

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Reserve Centres (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend for his warm words. As his former Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for International Development, I know only too well of his contribution to the comprehensive approach during his tenure there. It is rare as a Minister to be appointed to a Department one actually knows something about. On that basis, I am delighted to be here. It is...

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Reserve Centres (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: Armed Forces Day has become quite a success, so I am disappointed to hear what the hon. Gentleman says. I visited Bangor in Northern Ireland and my colleagues have visited other places in the United Kingdom. The Armed Forces Day centring on Liverpool this year was a particular success. However, I am concerned by what he says and would like to think that all our units, whether Army Reserve...

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Reserve Centres (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: Of course, our reserves have become very much a success over recent years. Over the last year, some 5,000 extra reserves were recruited—an increase of some 5% on the Army Reserve of 2016. One of the great challenges we face is to ensure that the footprint is equal across the country. That is why the Army Reserve Refine piece of work that is going on is so important. One of the principal...

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Reserve Centres (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: As I said earlier, I think that the reserves Refine piece is overwhelmingly a success story. I am sorry that I am not currently in a position to give the House the final details, but I will go out of my way to ensure that all Members are informed in advance of any changes in their local units.

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Reserve Centres (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: I am quite confident that at the end of the reserves Refine process, the footprint will still be substantial across the United Kingdom. We are not considering major closures across the UK, and I would hate to imply that that is the correct impression. Indeed, today I announced the creation of two new reserve units. I think that, as we continue to increase the size of our reserves, the story...

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Royal Navy: Personnel (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: The Royal Navy is growing, with 400 more personnel, more ships and new submarines. The Royal Navy remains on track to achieve its manning levels for 2020 and will have sufficient manpower to continue to meet all its operational requirements. That includes ensuring that the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers can always operate safely and effectively.

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Royal Navy: Personnel (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: My hon. Friend highlights the challenges we face in recruiting in our growing economy, and I am pleased that the Navy’s efforts to address shortages of engineers are beginning to show dividends, through the personnel recovery programme. He will also be aware of our investment in offshore patrol vessels, five of which are currently under construction, and in the new Type 26s—we...

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Royal Navy: Personnel (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: The Royal Navy is growing; I am pleased that for the first time in a generation the establishment of the Royal Navy will grow, by 400, as I said. I have mentioned the personnel recovery programme, an excellent programme that has sought to address the shortages of engineers through apprenticeships and through affiliation with university technical colleges. It is a long-term programme, but it...

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Royal Navy: Personnel (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: With the greatest respect to the hon. Gentleman, may I say that this seems to be a common theme when we come to the Dispatch Box: he is always terribly negative? I am determined to try to support our serving personnel and, as I have tried to explain, an awful lot of effort is going in at the moment. This really is the year of the Navy, with more than £3 billion invested in the Royal...

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Topical Questions (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: As part of Operation Sophia, the Royal Navy and UK assets have saved more than 12,500 lives, destroyed more than 170 smuggling boats and apprehended 23 suspected smugglers. We are the only country in Europe that has provided at least one ship at all times. It is UK Government policy to tackle migration at its source, and we are pursuing a comprehensive response including training coastguards,...

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Topical Questions (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: In answering, I have to declare the same interest, having served in Afghanistan. Our armed forces are rightly held to the highest standards, and credible, serious allegations of criminal behaviour must be investigated. Op Northmoor has discontinued more than 90% of the 675 allegations received because there was no evidence of criminal or disciplinary offence. To date, no case has been...

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Topical Questions (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: It would be absolutely wrong for there to be ministerial interference in that operation. I am quite confident that Op Northmoor is appropriately resourced, both through personnel and finances, and I can only refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave a few moments ago.

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Topical Questions (10 Jul 2017)

Mark Lancaster: I am more than happy to look at the matter for my right hon. Friend.

Future Accommodation Model — [Mr Charles Walker in the Chair] (18 Apr 2017)

Mark Lancaster: Mr Walker, it is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship for what I sense will be the last time this Parliament, although we shall see. I start, of course, by congratulating the hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Jeff Smith) on securing this debate, which provides us with another vital opportunity to discuss the future accommodation model. It is vital because the welfare of our...

Future Accommodation Model — [Mr Charles Walker in the Chair] (18 Apr 2017)

Mark Lancaster: My hon. Friend has made that point twice and I take it firmly on board. I will respond only by saying that the survey is one of several sources of evidence we are using. It is because of the views of service personnel and suggestions made in this Chamber last October that we have looked in more detail at how personnel should be supported in the private market, at how service families...

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Service Family Accommodation (13 Mar 2017)

Mark Lancaster: The provision of quality accommodation is at the heart of the armed forces covenant. Around 94% of UK service family accommodation is at decent homes standard or above. Only service family accommodation at those standards will be allocated to new occupants. Since April 2016, around 14,500 kitchens, bathrooms, roofs, doors and windows, and some 10,000 new boilers, have been installed.

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Service Family Accommodation (13 Mar 2017)

Mark Lancaster: I can, but equally I am confident that, after the Secretary of State’s intervention last year with CarillionAmey and the introduction of the get well plan, we have seen a significant improvement in satisfaction. That might not yet have filtered down into the survey, but recent stats show that the satisfaction rate on the service from CarillionAmey has risen from 40% to 61%. We take this...

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Service Family Accommodation (13 Mar 2017)

Mark Lancaster: What our families really want is choice and support, but I can say to my hon. Friend that only recently I visited Salisbury plain and saw in Tidworth, Larkhill and elsewhere some 1,000 brand new service family accommodation homes being built, so we take the matter very seriously. I am confident that SFA, as it is referred to, will continue to be provided, and some of those homes really are of...


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