§ Mr. Murphy
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the private consultants employed by his Department in each of the last five years; what projects they were involved with; and what was the total cost in each year. 
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
Individual budget holders in my Department have delegated powers to employ external consultants as they think fit within the limit of their resources and consistent with all requirements for propriety and value for money. The information required has not been held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The hon. Member will however wish to note that my officials are currently collecting data from all areas of the Department to establish the total expenditure on external consultancy. The exercise covering financial year 1995–96 is nearing completion. Once the information is to hand I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.