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Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the number, nature and value of contracts awarded by his Department to Coopers and Lybrand, KPMG, Price Waterhouse, Ernst and Young, Deloitte and Touche, Arthur Andersen, Grant Thornton, BDO Stoy Hayward, Pannel Kerr Forster, and Robson Rhodes and their subsidiaries and associates, during 1995 and 1996. [37318]

Mr. Arbuthnot: The information requested is shown in the table. The details have been extracted from my Department's central contracts database; there may, however, be other contracts, such as those placed by defence agencies, which have not been included. The central database does not include details of the specific nature of the contracts, and further details could be provided only at disproportionate cost. It is the policy of this Department not to release details of individual contract values and, as there have only been one or two contracts with some of these companies, to overcome this problem the following table includes some "banded" figures.

Financial yearContractsApproximate value
Coopers and Lybrand1994-9511£2 million
1995-9610£1 million
KPMG1994-958Less than £1 million
1995-967Less than £1 million
Price Waterhouse1994-9515£4 million
1995-9628£2 million
Ernst and Young1994-95Fewer than fiveLess than £1 million
1995-96Fewer than fiveLess than £1 million
Deloitte and Touche1994-95No contracts
1995-96Fewer than fiveLess than £1 million
Arthur Anderson1994-95Fewer than five£2 million
1995-96Fewer than fiveLess than £1 million
Grant Thornton1994-95No contracts
1995--96Fewer than fiveLess than £1 million
BDO Stoy Hayward--No contracts either year
Panel Kerr Forster1994-95No contracts
1995-96Fewer than fiveLess than £1 million
Robson Rhodes--No contracts either year

22 Jul 1996 : Column: 81

Army Base Repair Organisation

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to announce the results of the current market testing of ABRO workshops; and if he will make a statement. [37889]

Mr. Soames: This is a matter for the Army Base Repair Organisation under its framework document. I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Jim Drew to Mr. David Faber, dated 22 July 1996:

Greenham Common (Contamination)

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions the paper by Cripps and Stimson on uranium and plutonium contamination around Greenham Common air force base has been reviewed with

22 Jul 1996 : Column: 82

a view to its release since July 1995; and if he will make a statement on the criteria adopted to judge of its suitability for publication. [38220]

Mr. Soames: The report in question has been reviewed twice since July 1995, using Cabinet Office guidelines. On the first occasion, it was not considered suitable for its classification to be downgraded. The second review was prompted by recent public interest relating to Greenham Common: in these circumstances, it was judged appropriate to release the document.

Nuclear Co-operation Agreement

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 26 June, Official Report, columns 163-64, if the United States Government have offered to provide Her Majesty's Government with a copy of the US-France nuclear co-operation agreement; and if the Government have requested of the United States Government details of what nuclear information or technology has been shared with France as a result of the arrangement. [38501]

Mr. Arbuthnot: We have neither asked for, nor been given, a copy of the memorandum of understanding signed on 4 June 1996. Nor have we sought details of what information or technology has been shared. Bilateral nuclear co-operation between the United States and France is a matter for the Governments concerned. Under the provisions of the UK-US 1958 mutual defence agreement for co-operation on the uses of atomic energy for defence purposes, the agreement of the United Kingdom would be required before any transfer by the United States of any nuclear weapons information of British provenance to France.


Ms Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what factors were taken into account by his Department in deciding not to prescribe lariam as an anti-malarial prophylaxis for service pilots and air crew. [38425]

Mr. Soames: Lariam is not prescribed to pilots and air crew because of the possible side-effects of dizziness or distorted sense of balance, as advised by the manufacturer.

Military Bases

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what revenue has been received in each of the last three years from the selling of former military bases in England and Wales. [38315]

Mr. Soames: Records are not separately maintained for military bases, as distinct from other forms of property, or by individual countries, and the information could be provided in the form requested only at disproportionate cost. The overall receipts from the disposal of surplus property were £70.7 million in 1993-94, £64.3 million in 1994-95 and £63.4 million 1995-96.

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what responsibility his Department retains for removing asbestos from redundant former military bases in England and Wales which have been sold. [38332]

22 Jul 1996 : Column: 83

Mr. Soames: None, unless a legal liability to do so can be shown to exist in any specific case.

Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what will be the RAF's nuclear weapons role after the WE-177 is withdrawn from service. [38490]

Mr. Soames: RAF aircraft will have no operational nuclear role after WE177 is withdrawn from service.

Royal Yacht

Mr. Alan Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many nights in (a) 1994-95 and (b) 1995-96 a member of the royal family spent aboard the royal yacht during official visits. [38503]

Mr. Soames: During the period 1994-95, members of the royal family spent 13 nights aboard HMY Britannia. In 1995-96, the total was 23 nights.

Low Flying

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the origin and destination of the low-level flight northward over East Bessacarr and Carltey at 16.13 on 8 July; who authorised it; and what considerations led to its authorisation. [38326]

Mr. Soames: Two Tornado aircraft from the standards squadron, Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment, TTTE, normally based at RAF Cottesmore, but temporarily operating from RAF Marham, were conducting a circular low-level navigation training sortie. The sortie was authorised by the formation leader who is an instructor at the TTTE. As with all military low-level sorties, the authorising officer was responsible for ensuring that the flight complied with the regulations and procedures in the United Kingdom military low flying handbook and that the aircrew were suitably qualified to execute the planned sortie. Since Bessacarr is listed for avoidance by low-flying military aircraft, the RAF police are making further inquiries into the alleged overflight. My noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence will write to the hon. Member when these have been completed.

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