The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell):
Subject to parliamentary approval of any supplementary estimate, the Department for Culture Media and Sport's departmental expenditure limit (DEL) will be increased by £22,448,000 from £1,630,269,000 to £1,652,717,000 and the administration cost limit will increase £829,000 from £48,970,000 to £49,799,000. Within the DEL changes the impact on resource and capital are set out in the following table:
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The administration cost limit has increased by £829,000 from £48,970,000 to £49,799,000. This is as a result of transfers to and from programme budgets and transfers from the Cabinet Office and the Department of Trade and Industry as detailed above.
Take up of end-year flexibility of £4,200,000 of which £3,000,000 is in respect of the listed places of worship project funded by the Capital Modernisation Fund and £1,200,000 is administration to cover refurbishment costs of the Cockspur Street offices.
The Secretary of State for Defence (John Reid): Ministry of Defence Votes A 200607, will be laid before the House on 14 February as HC 869. This outlines the maximum numbers of personnel to be maintained for service in the armed forces for financial year 200607.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Don Touhig):
Following an open competition which attracted a strong field of applicants, I am pleased to advise the House of the appointment of four new members and the reappointment of one member to the National Employer Advisory Board (NEAB).
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They join the other eleven members of the board, which is chaired by the noble Lord Glenarthur, and which continues to provide appropriate support in conjunction with the SaBRE campaign to reservists and their employers. I take this opportunity to thank NEAB for its work which is greatly valued by the Ministry of Defence.
The Secretary of State for Defence (John Reid): I am pleased to announce that Subject to Parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the Ministry of Defence Departmental Expenditure Limits (DEL) will be increased by £1,303,494,000 from £31,053,831,000 to £32,357,325,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the following table:
transfers in of £64,000,000 and £3,200,000 Resource from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the MOD in respect of the Global Conflict Prevention Pool for Balkans programme costs and the Global rest of the World Conflict Prevention Pool costs;
to recognise a non-budget Grant in Aid payment of £175,000, offset by a corresponding reduction in DEL, to the Royal Hospital Chelsea and the National Army Museum to fund commercial insurance policies.
The Secretary of State for Defence (John Reid): I am pleased to announce new, alternative contracting arrangements for surface warship maintenance and repair. These arrangements were signalled as part of the wider Defence Industrial Strategy and today's announcement is an important step towards ensuring that the capability requirements of the Royal Navy can be met now and in the future.
Surface warship upkeep (generally known as refitting) contracts have increasingly been awarded following competition while operational (or fleet) time support is delivered through partnering arrangements under the Warship Support Modernisation Initiative. While these arrangements have delivered clear, value for money benefits to the MOD, recent force level reductions coupled with over capacity in the surface ship repair market prompted a review. The Department, in consultation with industry, undertook a study (the Surface Ship Support Study) to identify the optimum approach for the future maintenance and repair of surface warships (that is aircraft carriers, major amphibious vessels, destroyers, frigates and mine warfare vessels) that would deliver the most efficient, effective and sustainable support policy and offer best value for money to the taxpayer.
The study has concluded that the option best able to meet the needs of both the Department and industry would be the formation of a surface warship support alliance, which would include current providers of surface warship upkeep and fleet time support. We will now enter into detailed dialogue with industry to investigate the feasibility of delivering such support through an alliance. During this exploratory phase, which is planned to last up to two years, competition policy will be suspended, to enable the alliance concept to be developed and tested progressively in a controlled manner. The first package of surface warship upkeep to
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be included in the exploratory phase will be that for HMS Liverpool, HMS Iron Duke, HMS Cumberland, HMS Chiddingfold and HMS Penzance: it is currently planned to commence in autumn 2006. At the end of the exploratory phase there will be a review of the alliancing approach.
These new arrangements will promote a sustainable industrial base that retains key operational support and system upgrade capabilities within the UK, and are therefore vital to our ability to maintain and support the Royal Navy. We will be working closely with industry in a spirit of transparency and trust to ensure more effective joint planning for the longer term. The aim will be to improve the delivery of surface ship support, with benefits for the Royal Navy, industry and the taxpayer.