HC Deb 04 February 1992 vol 203 cc152-3W
Mr. Devlin

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has completed his studies into the future of his Department's quality assurance laboratory services.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

My Department announced on 6 August 1991 that "Options for Change" reductions had made it necessary to review the plan announced in 1989, to relocate the Ministry of Defence's quality assurance staff at the Preston farm site on Teesside. A study was set in hand to compare the costs and benefits of that course with the alternative option of merging the quality assurance laboratory services with those of the Defence Research Agency on sites operated by the latter.

The study has now been completed. The impact of reductions in the defence programme for the 1990s is such that the most economical and operationally effective way ahead for the quality assurance technical support division is for it to be dispersed and consolidated into the Defence Research Agency, which will have considerable spare capacity on its existing sites. This will result in capital savings of more than £40 million and running costs savings rising to £9 million a year.

The Ministry of Defence has therefore been able to release the site at Preston farm which will be available, through the Teesside development corporation, for commercial development. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment is today making an announcement about future developments on the site.

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