§ Mr. Fatchett
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the total cost of running the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down in each of the last five years; what is the planned expenditure for each of the next three years; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Soames
This is a matter for the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment Porton Down, under its framework document. I have asked the chief executive CBDE to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Graham Pearson to Mr. Derek Fatchett, dated 6 February 1995:1. Your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence asking what has been the total cost of running the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down in each of the last five years; what is the planned expenditure for each of the next three years; and if he will make a statement has been passed to me to answer as Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment.2. In providing the gross cash budgets for CBDE Porton Down over the past five years, it is important to recognise that there have been significant changes in accounting and financial practices.
- a. From 1990/91 onwards, the figures include works and property management costs as MOD untied from PSA on 1 April 1990.
- b. From 1 April 1991, CBDE became a Defence Agency under the Next Steps programme and our annual accounts are in accruals format to a Treasury Accounts Direction.
- c. From 1 April 1991 some expenditure previously control:led centrally was desegregated to CBDE causing the gross cash budget to increase.
- Consequently the figures provided for 1989/90 and 1990/91 are not directly comparable with those in the published Annual Reports because of the changes in the accounting and financial procedures.3. The gross cash budgets for CBDE in each of the last five years at 1994/95 price levels was as follows:
Year Gross cash budgets £ million 1989–90 23.4 1990–91 26.7 1991–92 33.4 1992–93 35.0 1993–94 34.2
The apparent increase in cash budget is primarily due to the changes in accounting and financial procedures resulting in the inclusion of the works and property management costs which vary from year to year depending on the works programme. In addition since becoming an Agency CBDE has successfully won contracts from outside the MOD thereby increasing the gross cash budget.
4. The intention is that from 1 April 1995 CBDE Porton Down will become part of the proposed new Defence Evaluation and Research Agency and operate on a trading fund. From this date, CBDE will no longer receive direct vote funding. Its level of expenditure will therefore be determined by the income which it attracts from a number of MOD budget holders. It is consequently not possible to make a definitive statement about the expenditure for the next three years, although it is not expected on current plains to change significantly.