HC Deb 04 February 1999 vol 324 cc729-30W
Mr. Maude

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what responsibilities which his Department had prior to the Comprehensive Spending Review are to be(a) discontinued by his Department, (b) transferred to another department, (c) transferred to an executive agency and (d) added to his Department over the period 1998–99 to 2001–02. [68402]

Mr. Doug Henderson

The Strategic Defence Review, which was a policy-led, fundamental reassessment of Britain's security interests and defence needs, considered the roles, missions and capabilities of our Armed Forces in the light of the changed strategic situation. The Review also constituted the Ministry of Defence's contribution to the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).

The overall responsibilities of the MoD remain unchanged. Accordingly, under current planning assumptions, for the period 1998–99 to 2001–02 no responsibilities held by the Ministry of Defence before the CSR will be discontinued by this department or transferred to another department. Nor is it planned that any new responsibilities will be added to those held by the Department over this period.

A number of responsibilities will, as announced in the Strategic Defence Review, be transferred to new agencies. These are as follows: the Defence Aviation and Repair Agency will take on the aviation repair activities currently performed by the Naval Aircraft Repair Organisation and the RAF Maintenance Group. Both these old agencies will then cease to exist.

Responsibility for the storage, processing and distribution of non explosives will be taken up by the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency. On launching this agency, the Army Bases Storage and Distribution Agency will cease to exist. All explosives storage and distribution will be handled by the Naval Bases and Supply Agency.

The Defence Transport and Movements Agency will be an amalgamation of the Defence Transport and Movements Executive, the Air Movements Executive and the Joint Transport and Movements Staff and will take on the current responsibilities of these organisations. The Procurement Executive is due to become the Defence Procurement Agency and will also subsume the activities of the Specialist Procurement Services Agency.

Also as part of the development of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency's relationship to the private sector, the Defence Diversification Agency began operating in December 1998. This agency aims to encourage the transfer of technology to and from industry.

Although not part of the Strategic Defence Review, the Defence Housing Executive is due to launch as an agency on 1 April 1999.