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Arms Exports

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on Britain's arms dealings with Israel. [131364]

Export licence applications for items to be exported to Israel are assessed by the DTI on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated European Union and national arms export licensing criteria in the light of the circumstances prevailing at the time.The Government's procurement policy is laid out in the Defence Industrial Policy reference OP DEF 2002/1, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent by his Department in each year since 1997–98 on promoting British military equipment and arms sales to foreign customers. [131111]

The Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) plays a fundamental role in implementing the Government's policy of supporting legitimate United Kingdom defence exports.Operating costs for DESO in each year since financial year 1997–98 are as follows.

£ million

Financial year



Net operating costs


Main sources of offsetting income for DESO are three Government to Government project offices, where the customer country pays MOD costs, and the Disposal Services Agency where costs are met from revenue.

DESO raises other sources of income from charging industry for activities undertaken on their behalf where Government independence from industry is not essential and when costs can be directly identified calculated and recovered from individual companies.

Savings to the defence budget come from spreading the fixed overhead cost of equipment over the longer production runs generated by exports, from the sale of surplus military equipment to overseas governments and from Commercial Exploitation Levy receipts on exports of equipment developed using public money.