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Autumn Performance Report

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr. Andrew Smith): I am pleased to announce the publication of the 2003 autumn performance report of the Department for Work and Pensions (Cm 6044). The report is intended to supplement the Department's annual report published in May (Cm 5424).

The report provides the latest account of how the Department is performing against its public service agreement targets. A copy has been placed in the Library. Further copies are available to hon. Members in the Vote Office.


Project Aquatrine

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Ivor Caplin): NEVIS Water has today been announced as the preferred bidder for the third and final contract for Project Aquatrine, which will provide water and wastewater services to Ministry of Defence (MOD) sites within Scotland.

Project Aquatrine is one of the Government's leading and most significant Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects and will transfer the responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the Department's water and waste water assets and infrastructure throughout Great Britain to private sector providers. This project will enable the transfer of environmental risk to those in the private sector who are best placed to manage it. This 25-year contract will enable the MOD to exit a non-core activity and concentrate its efforts on delivering military capability.

This contract is expected to go live in November 2004 following a pre-commencement period.

This announcement follows the appointment of BREY Utilities for Package A in April 2003, which went live on 1 December 2003 and the appointment of C2C, on 12 November 2003, as Preferred Bidder for Package C.

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Private Finance Initiative

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram): We intend to enter into a number of public-private partnerships, which will bring greater flexibility to our armed forces and increase the involvement of our defence industrial base. Under the Private Finance Initiative deal, the Amey Lex Consortium has been chosen as the preferred bidder to provide the C Vehicle Capability for the services, both in peacetime and for forces on operations.

The contract will cover all heavy plant equipment as well as logistic support and construction machines required by the armed forces. Many of these components are used in digging, dozing, lifting and transporting. The great utility of this equipment could

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be seen on recent operations, building and maintaining the infrastructure for our troops. The contract is valued at over £500 million for the 15-year period.

Among the benefits are a more rapid fleet turnover, which will allow changes in technology and fleet management processes to be introduced more quickly and will reduce the maintenance and supply burden thereby benefiting front-line troops. The best elements of commercial practise will be used to support maintenance and repair, providing the opportunity to reduce spares holdings and to adopt a strategic pooling approach to the provision of the capability.

This is an excellent opportunity for defence suppliers to play a major part in ensuring our military capability is truly flexible in order to meet our future commitments.