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Mr. Quentin Davies:
The withdrawal of General Dynamics (UK)'s provisional preferred bidder status for the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) Utility Vehicle Design was announced to this House by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 11 December 2008, as part of a statement outlining the results of the Equipment Examination. This decision followed a period
of intensive negotiations with GD (UK), including correspondence with the company, to address a number of commercial issues, during which it became clear to both parties that it would not be possible to reach agreement on the commercial conditions required to enable further progress on the basis of the current procurement strategy. The Department will now consider how and when to reset the Utility Vehicle competition to ensure we provide Defence with the best possible capability at the best value for money. General Dynamics (UK) will have an opportunity to compete in any future Utility Vehicle competition.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to which (a) charities and (b) voluntary organisations his Department has provided funding in the last five years; and how much funding was provided to each. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: The information is not held in the format requested. Data has been collected, however, as part of a special annual survey exercise carried out across Government on behalf of the Office of the Third Sector (OTS), Cabinet Office. The information provided to the OTS shows the following payments have been made to charities and voluntary organisations in the five years 2001-02 to 2005-06:
|Ministry of Defence||2005-06||2004-05||2003-04||2002-03||2001-02|
1. Expenditure on Forces welfare including sport and other voluntary cadet groups includes organisations to support service personnel. Their families and veterans, e.g. SSAFA, WRVS, Pre-school Learning Alliance, NAAFI, The Naval Families Foundation, Help Information Voluntary Exchange (HIVE) and sports bodies.
2. Museums include, for example, the RAF museum and the National Army museum.
3. Voluntary cadet groups refer to those groups run by volunteers in schools, rather than groups based in, for example, Territorial Army premises, and which receive a contribution from the MOD; also to Sea Scouts. These count as uniformed voluntary youth groups, and are accepted as such by MOD and OTS.
4. The figures do not include expenditure by any MOD agencies/NDPBs, e.g. Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Royal Hospital, Chelsea, or the Met Office.
5. Information on the expenditure to voluntary bodies for the years 2006-07 and 2007-08 is in the process of being collected by MOD.
6. Neither MOD nor the Cabinet Office can guarantee that the figures provided cover the total expenditure with the charities and voluntary sector. The MOD is aiming to provide more comprehensive figures in the collection process which is currently underway for 2006-07, 2007-08 and future years.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what progress has been made on developing high performance steel armour; and what plans the Government has to purchase such steel for the armed forces; 
Mr. Quentin Davies: High performance steel has been a key constituent of armour for many years. A collaboration between the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), Cambridge university and QinetiQ has resulted in the development of a new, high performance armour steel known as Super Bainite. Successful production trials have been completed and we are engaging with UK industry to take production and exploitation forward.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Work is continuing on the synergy study, with the Defence Support Group currently undertaking to examine the similar work activities carried out at its Sealand, Stafford and Donnington sites. This study's aim is to explore the potential benefits for Defence resulting from the merger of the Army Base Repair Organisation and the Defence Aviation Repair Agency to create the Defence Support Group. I will write to my hon. Friend when this work is complete.
David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what level of new apprenticeships the Defence Support Group plans to commission at Donnington, Shropshire in 2009; and what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on expanding the programme to support West Midlands manufacturing in the current economic climate. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth:
The Defence Support Group management team at Donnington is currently discussing what intake of new apprentices is required for 2009. Intake numbers will be determined by the future needs of the business as well as age profiling of the existing work force. No discussions have taken place about
expanding our apprentice programme to support other local manufacturing organisations beyond what is currently being offered.
Mr. Kevan Jones: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, I can confirm that all travel by Ministers and civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code respectively.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which (a) food and (b) drinks suppliers have been used by his Department in each of the last three years; and how much his Department paid to each such supplier in each of those years. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Food and drink provision across MOD establishments is usually met through facility management multi-activity contracts, or is contracted out under the Pay As You Dine initiative, in which catering contractors are responsible for sourcing their own food and drink. Details of each supplier and costs are not held centrally and therefore could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.
Food and drink for personnel on overseas operations, on UK exercises, and serving on ships and submarines is provided by the MOD single food supply contract with Purple Foodservice Solutions Ltd. (PFS). PFS is required to seek value for money in the open market, consistent with meeting MOD quality standards. Additionally, suppliers of ration pack and in-flight meals and snack components are listed in the following table.
|Food||2006-07||2007-08||2008-09 to date( 1)|
|n/a = Not applicable|
(1) To date
(2) During 2006-07 the Global Food Supply contract was re-let; therefore, spend was split between 3663, the previous contract holder, and PFS
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