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My Department checks that contractors, wherever they are based, have appropriate quality assurance procedures in place before we place a contract. In other NATO countries, this may be done under the NATO mutual co-operation agreements; the defence ministry in the country in question is asked to confirm that the company does work to the appropriate standard and that the defence ministry will carry out contract surveillance on my Department's behalf on request. However, the terms of our contracts do allow us to send MOD representatives into suppliers premises--and those of sub-contractors--if we deem it necessary. Similar arrangements exist in memoranda of understanding with a number of countries outside NATO.
Mr. Freeman: The total cost of external consultancy fees incurred by the MOD in support of competing for quality activities during the period April 1992 to June 1994 is £3.5 million. Full details of costs incurred up to September 1994 are not yet available.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) all of his Department's activities which have been contractorised or market tested, (b) the date of contractorisation and market testing and (c) the overall costs.
commercial-in-confidence. However, in the 30-month period since the onset of the competing for quality programme to September 1994, some 82 support activities worth of the order of £600 million were examined, embracing in excess of 13,500 posts. It is anticipated that this exercise will result in gross savings of approximately £104 million.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his Department's efforts to set up a unit to monitor European Union legislation and its implications for his Department.
Mr. Soames: My Department has a wide range of responsibilities which are affected by a growing range of regulatory legislation. Much of this is driven by European Union directives, particularly on environmental and health and safety issues, and it is clear that we need early information about work in the European Commission and its implications. My Department is therefore setting up this month a co-ordinating unit to monitor such work, which will perform a similar function to the equivalent units in many other Government Departments.
Mr. Soames: During the financial year 1993 94 a total of 10 foreign and Commonwealth students attended the defence animal centre at Melton Mowbray for specialist dog handler training from the following countries:
USA: 7 students
Hong Kong: 2 students
Guernsey Customs and Excise: 1 student
Mr. Soames: This is a matter for the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, Porton Down--CBDE--under its framework document. I have asked the chief executive, CBDE to write to the hon. Member. Letter from Graham Pearson to Mr. Derek Fatchett, dated 22 November 1994:
Question 10, Order Paper Dated 17 November 1994
1. Your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence seeking if any tests are carried out using animals at his Department's Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment; and if he will make a statement has been passed to me to reply as Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment. 2. The role of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment is to carry out work to ensure that the United Kingdom Armed Forces are provided with effective protective measures against the threat that chemical and biological weapons may be used against them. 3. It is an essential but relatively small part of the work of CBDE that a small number of experiments with animals, mainly mice, rats and guinea-pigs are carried out in order to ensure that the protective measures provided to the Armed Forces are effective and are safe. No animals are used to practice surgery or in work to improve weapons or ammunition performance. It should be recognised that the total number of all animal experiments carried out at CBDE in any one year is less than one half of one per cent. of all the animal experiments conducted in the United Kingdom.
4. The United Kingdom does not possess chemical or biological weapons and abandoned its capability relating to such weapons in the late 1950s. Consequently, there is absolutely no use of animals to develop or improve chemical or biological weapons. We have to recognise, however, that a number of countries do possess such weapons and it is essential that our Armed Forces are provided with adequate protection against their use and against the use of
Column 137biological weapons. There is evidence of proliferation around the world in the availability of such weapons and the recent hostilities in the Gulf have demonstrated the reality of that threat which our Armed Forces have to be prepared to face.
5. Animal experiments are carried out at CBDE Porton Down only when careful consideration of alternatives to the use of animals has shown that there is no adequate substitute and where it is judged essential to use animals for this purpose. It is, important to recognise that there is no population suffering from chemical or biological warfare agents in the population at large and consequently the effectiveness of medical countermeasures cannot be evaluated, as can drugs developed against naturally occurring illness or disease, using human beings. It is consequently necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of medical countermeasures against chemical and biological weapons using an animal model for man.
6. The experiments carried out at CBDE involving the use of animals fully meet the spirit and letter of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act of 1986. CBDE is a registered place under the Act and all animal experiments and all the staff involved in them are licensed by the Home Office. Unannounced visits are made by Home Office inspectors to satisfy themselves that the requirements of the Act are met.
7. All work at CBDE is carefully controlled and monitored and is conducted by appropriately qualified personnel to the highest standards. It is vital that the protection provided for our Service personnel against the threat that they may be exposed to chemical or biological weapons should have been developed and tested to ensure safety and efficacy. Our role is to save the lives of the members of the British Armed Forces and this work is of continuing importance to the nation.
Mr. Soames: Items of ceremonial dress for animals include headpieces, reins and browbands. Many of these items are purchased locally by establishments under delegated financial arrangements. No central record is maintained of this expenditure and the information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Items of ceremonial dress for regimental mascots are not purchased from public funds.
Mr. Soames: Firms and individuals are free to approach my Department with questions, information or opinions at any time. Defence policy and individual decisions are, however, developed in the light of the full range of relevant considerations.
Column 138Repair Organisation Old Dalby site for the purposes of preparing the study to recommend its closure; when they visited; and for how long they visited.
Mr. Freeman: Coopers and Lybrand assisted the ABRO rationalisation study team with the investment appraisal element of the study; it was not part of the consultancy contract for it to make recommendations on any closures. During the study, the consultant accountant provided by Coopers and Lybrand made a familiarisation visit to Old Dalby on 26 May 1994 and visited as part of a larger team on 11 June 1994. The latter visit included a lengthy discussion with the ABRO Old Dalby accountant on the requirements for financial information. Once this liaison visit had been made, the detailed investment appraisal information from all workshops was received by fax at HQ ABRO Andover, where the study team was based. It is not departmental policy to release the names of individual consultants employed under contracts with consultancy firms.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the level of expenditure on the Army Base Repair Organisation in Old Dalby, Leicestershire, in each of the last five financial years; what further expenditure is planned; and what was the date and value of the final payment for the work on building No. 1.
Mr. Freeman: The level of expenditure at the Army Base Repair Organisation workshops at Old Dalby is given in the attached table. Some £600,000 further expenditure is planned for fire protection work, but this is dependent on the future of the workshop. The final payment on building No. 1 will be made in January 1995 at a value of £85,000. It should be noted that a new repair facility was opened at Old Dalby in 1992. This was originally required to meet a pre-options for change work load; the current and predicted work load is much lower.
Expenditure at ABRO Old Dalby 1989-90 to 1993-94 ----------------------------- 1989-90 |200 |18,377 1990-91 |23,000|10,162 1991-92 |100 |10,202 1992-93 |571 |12,118 1993-94 |522 |12,312
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list how many officials in his Department have visited the Lockheed base at Georgia, United States of America over the last 12 months.
Column 139has received and (b) the meetings which he has held with Market Access International regarding the Lockheed C130J.
Mr. Freeman: I understand that my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has neither received representations from Market Access International, nor met any of its personnel in connection with the Hercules rolling replacement programme.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent by his Department to promote the sale of arms to (a) Indonesia, (b) Nigeria, (c) Malaysia, (d) Saudi Arabia, (e) Jordan (f) the United Arab Emirates, (g) Qatar, (h) Oman and (i) Turkey, in each of the last five years.
Mr. Freeman: It is not possible to break down the cost of sales promotion in individual countries. The net cost of the Defence Export Services Organisation in 1993 94 was £16.02 million. Changes in accounting conventions make exact comparison with earlier years difficult.
Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what charges are made by his Department to private firms for (a) delivery of goods/supplies and (b) stockpiling of goods for sale by private companies.
Mr. Freeman: In general, surplus goods are collected from MOD establishments by private companies that have either purchased them outright or that are contracted to sell them on behalf of the MOD. The question of charges does not therefore arise. Exceptions to this general rule may arise from negotiations on particular contracts.
Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what charge his Department makes to Leafield Logistics and Technical Services Ltd. for (a) delivery of supplies (b) stockpiling of goods for sale to Leafield Logistics on Government premises.
Column 140encompasses any accumulation of stock and delivery and they are not the subject of a charge.
Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total cost of the spares bought from his Department by Leafield Logistics and Technical Services Ltd; and what is the total income gained by his Department from the sale of spares to Leafield Logistics and Technical Services Ltd.
Mr. Freeman: No spares have been sold by my Department to Leafield Logisitcs and Technical Services Ltd. The contract with Leafield Logistics and Technical Services Ltd. is based upon a profit-sharing arrangement.
Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his Department's estimate of the net gains or losses, in terms of cost, to his Department, of awarding the contract to supply spares for Oberon submarines and Leader class frigates to Leafield Logistics and Technical Services Ltd.
Mr. Freeman: My Department has gained considerable benefits from the contract with Leafield Logistics and Technical Services Ltd. They are described at paragraph 3.25 of the report by the Comptroller and Auditor General--disposal by sale of defence surplus equipment and stores, HC 557 dated 14 March 1993.
Mr. Rooker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the charging policy of his Department and the agencies for which he is responsible in respect of inquiries under the code of practice on access to Government.
Mr. Freeman: In general, my Department's policy is to defray the marginal extra costs of answering inquiries under the code of practice on access to government information. No charge is made if these amount to less than £50. Above that sum charges may be imposed up to a maximum of £200. Agencies with their own budgetary arrangements for which my Department has responsibility generally follow this policy but have freedom to seek my Department's agreement to develop their own charging policies, within the spirit of the code, according to their own particular requirements. A copy of my Department's internal instructions in relation to the open government initiative--including charging policy--was placed in the library of the House when the code of practice came into force.
Column 142impact of increased military activity on the Salisbury Plain training area.
Mr. Soames: I refer the hon. member to the publication "Army Training and the Natural and Human Environment on and around the Salisbury Plain Training Area", a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House. This publication explains fully the present position and sets out the measures being implemented by the Army in the light of the environmental impact assessment which was completed last month.