HC Deb 26 January 1999 vol 324 cc173-4W
Ms Drown

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people are employed by Government departments and agencies to assist in supporting and promoting defence exports; and at what cost. [66038]

Mr. Spellar

I have been asked to reply.

The Defence Export Services Organisation DESO within the Ministry of Defence is principally responsible for co-ordinating Government support for British defence exports. For Financial Year 1997–98, DESO employed some 680 staff and the gross expenditure was £55.8 million. This was offset by receipts of £34.6 million from customer governments to meet in full the cost of Project Offices dealing with Government-to-Government programmes. Of the remaining £21.2 million, £6.8 million was covered by receipts, leaving a net operating cost attributed to the DESO budget of £14.4 million.

DESO costs are more than offset by benefits to the defence budget arising from DESO activity: Around £50 million annual cash receipts on average over the last five years from Commercial Exploitation Levy. About £70–90 million cash annually from disposal sales receipts over the last five years. Around £400 million in the last financial year saved on procurement costs by spreading fixed overheads across longer production runs.

Other Government Departments carry out activities which support British defence exports but the information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.