§ Mr. Bob Russell
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if the Defence Review will include a reappraisal of the proposal to transfer the Science and Technology Division from Colchester to Bicester; 
(2) what the current estimated capital cost is of the proposed transfer of the Science and Technology Division from Colchester to Bicester; and if he will make a statement;
(3) if he will postpone preparations for the transfer of the Science and Technology Division from Colchester to Bicester until the conclusion of the Defence Review. 
§ Dr. Reid
Any outcome of the Defence Review will retain a requirement for the Armed Forces to be clothed. As a consequence, we assess that there will be an on-going need for the continuing activity of the Defence Clothing and Textiles Agency (DCTA) and the need to retain a research and development capability.
A number of studies have examined the most cost effective way for this capability to be provided. These include the Prior Options Study that preceded the formation of the Agency, specific scrutiny in the Defence Cost Studies and most recently by consideration of private finance involvement in the Agency. Further studies have specifically addressed the collocation of the Agency, including the transfer of the Science and Technology Division from Colchester. These have identified considerable savings and business benefit from collocation. The Strategic Defence Review will not look specifically at the Science and Technology Division of the DCTA, and there are no plans to postpone its transfer from Colchester to Caversfield.
The transfer of the Science and Technology Division from Colchester to Bicester is part of a single project for the collocation of laboratories and workshops of the Defence Clothing and Textiles Agency on a single site. Further laboratories and workshops will transfer from the Quality and Product Support Division currently at Didcot. A major benefit from the collocation plan is to merge the currently duplicated facilities at each site and the project is costed on the basis of providing dual use facilities. Because of this joint development I regret it is not possible to identify separately the capital costs of the transfer for the Colchester element alone.
The cost of the total project has been revalidated recently by a firm of consultants employed by the Defence Estates Organisation. Their report dated 13 June 1997 indicated a cost of £5.9 million for the total project the figure remains very close to the last costing of 425W £5.1 million when savings were forecast at £17.7 million over the Investment Appraisal period of 20 years, in addition to the £6 million per year savings predicated on the new businesses practices that the DCTA can introduce by collocating.