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Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the ownership of land at Throckmorton airfield; and what plans his Department has for the disposal of this land (a) to the Home Office or its agencies and (b) through the privatisation of QinetiQ; 
(3) what impact the construction of the proposed asylum accommodation centre at Throckmorton would have on (a) the activities of QinetiQ and (b) the other defence-related activities at the airfield. 
Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 17 July 2001, Official Report, column 142W. Most of the Throckmorton site, formerly known as the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) Pershore, is now owned by QinetiQ. The remainder of the site, used last year to deal with some of the consequences of the foot and mouth outbreak, is in the final stages of being transferred to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
As part of the PPP process, all activities carried out by DERA were reviewed, and those which did not need to be retained within Government were transferred to QinetiQ on 1 July 2001, including those carried out at Pershore. Legally enforceable safeguards are in place to ensure that QinetiQ continue to provide key strategic facilities and services required by the Ministry of Defence. Against this background the company is free to explore other business opportunities.
The future provision of an accommodation centre for asylum seekers is the responsibility of the Home Office, and although QinetiQ's site at Pershore has been identified as a potential site, a final decision has yet to be made. Subject to consultation, with QinetiQ as landowner, the local planning authorities, and the local community, the final decision with regard to siting one of these centres at Pershore rests with the Home Secretary.
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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding has been allocated in the current financial year for research and development in (a) the UK and (b) Scotland; what proportion of the Scottish total is given (i) to DERA's own research and (ii) research funded in academic and non-DERA sites; and if he will list the non-DERA sites. 
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 1 February 2002]: The allocation for research in the Major Customers Research Budget is £502 million inclusive of VAT. This includes work undertaken by the Ministry of Defence, industry and universities.
The MOD does not have an allocation for development as such. The development expenditure is budgeted for within the overall equipment programme allocation and does not fall into a separate budget. The amount that is quoted for statistical purposes, in any one year, is largely a consequence of the state of the procurement cycle at which major equipment projects happen to be in, in the year in question.
I regret that it is not possible to state how much of the total research figure represents expenditure in the United Kingdom or in Scotland since our data do not include a regional breakdown. Since July 2001, DERA ceased to exist and under public-private partnership arrangements it has separated into QinetiQ, a wholly government- owned plc, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratories (DSTL).
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement listing the changes in tax legislation the interpretation of which has led to the mistaken tax treatment of some war disability pensions and service attributable pensions. 
Dr. Moonie: The law on the tax exemption of wound and disability pensions awarded to service personnel first came into force in the Finance Act 1919. The relevant provisions have since been brought forward into the various consolidating Taxes Acts which have been introduced since then. The most recent consolidation Act was the Income and Corporation Taxes Act (ICTA) 1988 where the exemption can be found at section 315. A previous consolidation Act was passed in 1952 but this did not introduce or change this tax exemption.
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Following further discussion with the Inland Revenue, we are undertaking further work to establish precisely when the error was introduced. Meanwhile, we continue to consider approaches from pensioners, widows or their families who may have been affected by this error.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many retired armed service officers and their widows in (a) the East Riding of Yorkshire and (b) Hull have been identified as paying tax on retired pay awarded since 1952 on the grounds of disability attributable to or aggravated by service. 
Dr. Moonie: Information on the number of Army Pensioners resident in the East Riding of Yorkshire and Hull who are so far known to have been incorrectly taxed on their invalidity pensions could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Dr. Moonie: Eight Tempest mine protected vehicles are being procured to replace the in-service Mamba. These vehicles are used for casualty evacuation and route proving operations where mines are present and provide high levels of protection from anti-tank/personnel mine blasts.
Contract negotiations have yet to be concluded. I am therefore, withholding information about the cost of the programme in accordance with Exemption 7a(2) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which relates to information whose disclosure would prejudice commercial or contractual activities.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British universities have contracts awarded under the auspices of the 1985 Strategic Defence Initiative Memorandum of Understanding; and if he will list them. 
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Simpson) of 22 January 2002, Official Report, column 733W, on the Mutual Defence Agreement, what proportion of each of the total of visits by UK personnel to the United States under the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement were undertaken to facilitate the transfer or exchange of military nuclear materials. 
Dr. Moonie: Information on the number of visits since 1997 by UK personnel to the United States under the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement which involved the exchange or transfer of military nuclear materials is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
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Dr. Moonie: Payments to advisers such as Arthur Andersen in connection with the QinetiQ transaction are made under the terms of the relevant commercial contracts with these companies. It is Ministry of Defence policy not to release price information on individual contract values as this is commercial in confidence. This information is therefore withheld under Exemption 14 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answers of 8 January 2002 to the hon. Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne), Official Report, column 563W, on QinetiQ, on what date the contract for services in connection with the proposed flotation of QinetiQ was awarded to Arthur Andersen; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: The contract with Arthur Andersen as reporting accountants on the public private partnership for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA PPP) was awarded on 25 October 2000. The requirement for reporting accountants was competed under normal Ministry of Defence contracting practices through the MOD Contracts Bulletin. Arthur Andersen won the competition as they were considered to provide best value for money in comparison with their competitors.
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