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Ministry Buildings

Volume 300: debated on Wednesday 12 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of his Department' s plans for modernisation of the MoD Main Building in Whitehall. [16062]

My Department continues to examine options, under the Public-Private Partnership scheme, for the long overdue modernisation of the Main Building and its subsequent support. The building was constructed in the 1950s and does not meet today's needs. A major programme of work is required to correct the many current deficiencies and to provide a modern working environment, flexibility for the future and more cost effective use of space.Following the recently completed evaluation of outline proposals, I have approved the next stage of the project which involves the issue of an Invitation to Negotiate to a shortlist of three consortia: Amey/Kvaerner, MoDeM (led by the Bucknall Group) and Mapeley Defence (led by the Nations Bank).I am keen to see the project proceed, and I am encouraged by the outline proposals put forward by the three selected consortia. The next stage challenges the consortia to work closely with my Department to demonstrate their ability to come up with a winning and good-value-for-money scheme.Detailed responses from the consortia will be closely reviewed in the course of the next year as the competition proceeds. Final approval to sign a contract for the scheme will, of course, depend on satisfactory evidence that overall value for money can be achieved.