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20 Oct 2005 : Column 1191W—continued

British Troop Deployment

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British troops are in (a) Afghanistan, (b) Iraq, (c) Kosovo, (d) Bosnia and (e) Germany. [12566]

Mr. Ingram: The approximate number of British service personnel in the locations specified are as follows:
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All figures rounded.

The figures do not include personnel serving in loan/diplomatic posts, or training detachments.

Defence Procurement

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is in respect of integrated project team leaders visiting bidders and potential suppliers outside the UK; and what records are kept of such visits. [13464]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has no specific policy in relation to visits by integrated project team leaders (IPTLs) to bidders or potential suppliers, regardless of their location. Visits to non-UK suppliers would be consistent with the principles of EC Public Procurement and MOD's Defence Industrial Policy, as outlined in MOD Policy Paper No. 5—Defence Industrial Policy, which encourages MOD to engage with suppliers from all sectors and nations with the aim of being more transparent and inclusive from the early stages of a procurement project thus enabling potential bidders to frame bids accordingly at the outset. Importantly, IPTLs need to acquire and maintain a global understanding and expertise in the market of their particular business area to maximise opportunities and technological benefits to create a healthy and competitive environment aimed at securing the best solutions and value for money for our acquisition requirements. Decisions to visit bidders and potential suppliers, or to undertake any other visits, are based on business requirements and are in accordance with the normal departmental travel and subsistence rules. Travel and subsistence costs must be authorised and records maintained as appropriate for audit purposes.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are taken to minimise the (a) time taken and (b) costs incurred by bidders on defence procurement contracts; and under what circumstances (i) all and (ii) part of the bid costs would be met by his Department. [13465]

Mr. Ingram: The MOD's policy is not to pay bid costs. However, it is in the interests of MOD and industry to minimise the time and costs of tendering. MOD makes every effort to do this through a well established selective tendering process aimed at choosing the tender offering the most effective solution and best value for money. The general policy includes normally inviting a maximum of six bidders, specifying tender assessment criteria designed to facilitate early decision-making and a structured selection procedure to preferred bidder". The process was recently reviewed and continues to be monitored for effectiveness. The newly formed more effective contracting initiative applies a phased approach to contractual commitment and provides for the option of early down-selection during the assessment phase.
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Defence Weaponry (Space)

Mr. Meale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the Government's policy on weapons in space; [19078]

(2) what plans the Government have (a) to support and (b) to promote the establishment of a new comprehensive space treaty which would include matters relating to weapons in space; [19076]

(3) whether the Government (a) own and (b) contract defence weaponry in space. [19077]

Mr. Ingram: The focus of the UK Government's space policy is on civil and scientific uses. However, we also derive important security benefits from its military use. Like many countries, the UK uses satellites for a wide range of military functions such as secure communications, meteorological predictions, and effective monitoring of various arms control treaties.

Although the military use of space is integral to our security responsibilities, the UK Government have no plans to deploy weapons in space. As one of the depository states (along with the US and Russia), the UK Government continue to fully support the 1967 Outer Space treaty, which places important constraints on the use of space, including prohibiting the development of weapons of mass destruction in space and military activity on the moon and other celestial bodies.

The main forum for discussing the military use of space is the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. We have taken part in informal discussions on the possibility of a further treaty banning weapons in space, although there has been no international consensus on the need for such a treaty. We continue to support the annual resolution on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) at the UN.

Mr. Meale: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the United Kingdom operates a defence mechanism for the protection of UK satellites in space. [19079]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence does not operate any defence mechanisms to protect UK satellites in space.

Departmental Purchasing

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the companies from which his Department has purchased goods and services of a total value above £1 million in each of the last three years; and how much was spent in respect of each company. [11738]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence has extracted spend information from the Defence Bills Agency database covering companies from which the Department has purchased goods and services totalling more than £1 million in each of the last three financial years.

A copy of this information will be placed in the Library of the House.
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Departmental Rebranding

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on rebranding in his Department and related agencies in each of the last five years. [18326]

Mr. Touhig: The Ministry of Defence has not undergone a corporate level rebranding exercise in the past five years. While parts of the Department have engaged in work to ensure that their brand identities are current and relevant to their business needs, detailed information on this could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

Estate Disposals

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's targets for disposals of (a) land and (b) buildings in Hampshire are in the 2005–06 financial year; and if he will list the assets to be disposed of. [18576]

Mr. Touhig: We currently expect receipts in excess of £16.5 million from the disposal of both land and buildings in Hampshire during financial year 2005–06. We do not release details of individual site valuations for commercial reasons, as this might influence the market.

Current lists of sites for release in Hampshire are as follows:

Export Support Team

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of the export support team was last year; and what the forecast cost is for each of the next two years. [13457]

Mr. Ingram: Net operating costs of the export support teams last year were approximately £2 million. Provision of £1.75 million has been made for manpower costs for the current year. Provision for next year has not yet been finalised, but is currently projected to be approximately £0.3 million lower than in 2005–06. These figures reflect a reduced manpower requirement, following a decision last year to merge a number of teams into one.

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