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MOD Security (Private Contractors)

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations have been made by the Ministry of Defence to private defence contractors on increasing security measures. [35614]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence does not provide defence contractors with advice on security measures. This is the responsibility of the Security Service who, for those contractors undertaking particularly sensitive contracts, provide oversight and advice on specific threats and counter-measures.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes have been made in the use of private security contractors to guard Ministry of Defence establishments since 11 September. [35612]

Dr. Moonie: Since the events of 11 September 2001 there has been no change to the Ministry of Defence policy for the use of private security contractors to provide unarmed guarding to some parts of the Defence Estate.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many private security contractors are employed in guarding Ministry of Defence establishments; and if he will list them. [35611]

Dr. Moonie: There are 16 private security contractors employed in unarmed guarding of the Ministry of Defence establishments. They are:

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Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much has been spent on timber for the refurbishment of the MOD building; [35692]

Dr. Moonie: The minimum amount of timber will be used in the project so as to comply with current industry (notably fire) standards. The total cost is estimated by the construction contractor to be in the region of £500,000.

Ministry of Defence policy is that all timber or timber products should be procured from sustainable and legal sources. This is reflected in the PFI contract with Modus Services plc for the redevelopment of Main Building and is in turn in Modus's contract with the construction contractor, Skanska Whitehall.

All timber used in the redevelopment will therefore be from a certified sustainable source.

HMS Coventry

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will commission a ship named HMS Coventry. [34920]

Mr. Ingram: There are many worthy and suitable names deserving of recognition when consideration is given to naming ships. Although there are no immediate plans to use this name, Coventry with her six antecedents and 10 battle honours will certainly merit consideration in the future.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to remove Ministry of Defence police from QinetiQ establishments before the organisation's proposed flotation. [35613]

Dr. Moonie: The Defence Police Federation (DPF) has been consulted concerning the proposal to withdraw the Ministry of Defence police officers from three QinetiQ operated sites: Pendine, Shoeburyness and West Freugh. The consultation was concluded on 25 January 2002, and the withdrawal date has been provisionally set for 31 July 2002. However, I have agreed to meet with representatives of the DPF to discuss this on 12 March.

Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft project. [36175]

Mr. Ingram: The Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) is planned to replace the RAF's fleet of VC10 and TriStar air to air refuelling/air transport aircraft towards the end of the decade. The current fleet is based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. Bids for this prospective PFI programme were received from two

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consortia in July 2001. Both bidders have proposed the continued use of RAF Brize Norton as the main operating base for the FSTA fleet and our negotiations with them are proceeding on this basis. Subject to satisfactory progress in these negotiations, we expect to decide later this year whether PFI offers the best value for money and, if it does, which of the two consortiums is our preferred bidder.


Departmental Expenditure (Publications)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what her estimate is of the expenditure of her Department on newspapers, magazines and periodicals in each of the last four years. [30099]

Mrs. Liddell: The Scotland Office was established in its present form on 1 July 1999.

In the period 1 July 1999 to 31 March 2000, the cost of newspapers, magazines and periodicals purchased centrally by the Department was £9,096. In 2000–01, the cost was £13,639.

Departmental Expenditure Limits

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proportion of the departmental expenditure limit in 2001–02 will be accounted for by salary costs and pension contributions. [32004]

Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans she has to change the Scotland departmental expenditure limits for 2001–02. [36574]

Mrs. Liddell: The Scotland departmental expenditure limit (DEL) will be reduced by £76,755,000 from £17,173,692,000 to £17,096,937,000.

The DEL reduction takes account of the following:

The DEL reduction also includes the following transfers to and from other Government Departments, amounting to a net reduction of £11,883,000. These are:

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All of these changes relate to the resource budget, and the capital budget of £100,000 is unchanged.

An addition to the Scotland DEL for 2002–03 of £13,619 million will be made in respect of adjustments allowed for in the statement of funding policy, in relation to the impact of local authorities' decisions regarding council tax and rents on council tax rebate for 2000–01 and 2001–02.


Ishtiaq Ahmed

Harry Cohen: To ask the Solicitor-General for what reason the Crown Prosecution Service is citing public interest immunity as a ground for not disclosing a document requested in the case of Mr. Ishtiaq Ahmed, HMP Coldingley; and if he will make a statement. [34466]

The Solicitor-General: The case of Mr. Ishtiaq Ahmed is presently before the Court of Appeal following a referral by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. A directions hearing is scheduled to take place on 21 February 2002. The court will deal with the question of disclosure when it gives directions on the future conduct of the case.


Appointments Commission (Roadshows)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the President of the Council when the House of Lords Appointments Commission will announce the timetable for the next round of roadshows and destinations. [34566]

Mr. Robin Cook: The Appointments Commission is still considering its timetable for regional events, and will make an announcement as soon as it has reached a decision.

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