HC Deb 22 May 2000 vol 350 cc319-21W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence under what terms and conditions staff from the DERA workforce will be transferred to a new organisation after the split of DERA; if the conditions of service for those who remain will stay the same; and if he will make a statement. [122380]

Mr. Hoon

Staff transferring to the NewDERA organisation would have their terms and conditions protected under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) regulations. This means that staff transferring to the private NewDERA organisation would transfer with their existing terms and conditions. The Cabinet Office "Statement of Practice on Staff Transfers in the Public Sector" covers the conditions of service for staff remaining in the Ministry of Defence. The principle is that these staff should be treated no less favourably than if TUPE regulations had been applied to them. These matters are part of the consultation process on DERA PPP which is currently underway and which is scheduled to be completed on 9 June 2000.

Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will list the name, size and location of DERA-owned sites within the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement; [122378]

(2) what plans there are to sell part of the land held by the DERA estate before the part sell-off of DERA; and if he will make a statement. [122386]

Mr. Hoon

This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from John Chisholm to Mr. Mike Hancock, dated 22 May 2000: I am replying to your parliamentary questions about the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) estate as responsibility for operational matters such as these fall to me as the Chief Executive of the agency. I attach at annex a list showing the name, size and location of DERA owned sites within the United Kingdom. These sites where the freehold of either all or part of the land has been vested to DERA. You ask what plans there are to sell part of this land before the privatisation of the agency. As you know, the future of DERA is currently the subject of a consultation document. MOD's proposals envisage that around three quarters of DERA would be turned into a company (for planning purposes this is referred to as NewDERA) which would be floated on the stockmarket as soon as its potential is judged to be suitably developed. This could be during 2001, though the precise timing has yet to be determined and will be influenced by the results of the consultation process. In parallel to this process, as part of our normal strategic planning, the estate, as you would expect, is kept under continuous review. This process is expected to continue regardless of any privatisation considerations. As the precise transaction point for NewDERA has yet to be decided, I cannot say whether any currently planned land sales would take place before or after any flotation. We have, however, been planning to sell off the Chertsey and Bromley (Aquila) sites since 1997; these announcements were first made public in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review. The timing of these disposals will depend on progress with respect to the relocation of our staff and our negotiations with the local authorities. In addition, two smaller sites (West Drayton and Farnborough Queen's site) are to be closed in May and September, respectively, of this year. Whilst they are likely to be sold, no firm dates have been fixed for this disposal. Thus, the total number of sites that potentially could be sold prior to any proposed flotation of DERA is four. I hope the above explains the situation.

List of DERA owned sites
Name Size1 Location
Cody Site 150 Farnborough, Hants
Queen's Gate Site 2 Farnborough, Hants
Engine Test Facilities 230 Pyestock, Hants
Communication Station 75 Cobbet Hill, Guildford, Surrey
Boscombe Down Airfield 585 Boscombe Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire
Chemical and Biological Defence (CBD) 2,620 Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire
DERA Fort Halstead 135 Sevenoaks, Kent
DERA Chertsey 120 Chertsey, Surrey
The Maultway 100 Bagshot, Surrey
Aquila 10 Bromley, Kent
DERA Bedford 70 Clapham, Bedford
Christchurch2 3 Christchurch, Dorset
DERA Portsdown 13 Portsdown, Hants
DERA Bincleaves 3 Weymouth, Dorset
DERA Fraser 1 Eastney, Portsmouth, Hants
DERA Funtington 16 Chichester, West Sussex
DERA Haslar2 30 Gosport, Hants
DERA West Drayton 2 West Drayton, Middx
DERA Malvern 30 Malvern, Worcs
Angle 20 Pembrokeshire
Hutton Moor 6 North Somerset
DERA Aberporth 170 Aberport Ceredigion
DERA Pershore 130 Pershore, Worcs
Applecross 2 Highland
Kyle of Lochalsh 2 Highland
Loch Fyne 1 Argyll and Bute
Loch Goil 3 Argyll
Clyde Barons Point 1 Argyll and Bute
Clyde Rosneath 3 Rosneath
Drunmore Harbour pier 0.3 Dumfries and Galloway
DERA Eskmeals2 1,600 Cumbria
DERA Pendine 2,240 Carmarthenshire
Portpatrick 0.1 Dumfries and Galloway
Portland Bill 10 Weymouth
Portland Grove Point 0.1 Weymouth
Rona Ranges 60 Kyle of Lochalsh, Ross-shire
DERA Shoeburyness 17,270 Southend-on-Sea, Essex
Potton Island 400 Essex
Foulness Island 70 Essex
West Freugh 1,850 Dumfries and Galloway
DERA Hurn 260 East Dorset
Llanbedr 465 Llanbedr, Gwynedd
1 Approximate hectares
2 These sites are a mixture of freehold and leased land


Sizes are approximate and have been rounded

Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the extent to which the part-privatisation of DERA will lead to(a) compulsory and (b) voluntary redundancies; and if he will make a statement; [122978]

(2) what arrangements have been put in place to meet the costs of possible redundancies at DERA following the part-privatisation. [122979]

Mr. Hoon

It has never been an objective of the Public Private Partnership for DERA to reduce staff numbers and indeed the opportunities provided by this process to develop new markets for DERA's products should have a positive effect on job prospects.

Staff numbers within DERA have varied in response to customer requirements and changes in the funding available for defence research. There has been such rebalancing in DERA over the last seven to eight years. This process is independent of PPP and would be expected to continue. As a general rule we would seek to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible. However, this would be subject to the need to ensure that the organisation can continue to meet the requirements placed by the Ministry of Defence and other customers.