§ Patrick Mercer
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the two Gurkha reinforcement companies. 
§ Dr. Moonie
Both of the remaining Gurkha Reinforcement Companies are due to be disbanded, the first by July this year and the second by March 2004.
Improved infantry manning levels mean that the requirement for the Gurkha Reinforcement Companies has reduced. Notwithstanding this we intend to maintain Gurkha force levels at around 3,500 and plan to create two additional permanent Gurkha sub-units.