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Ministry of Defence to sell historic War Office

The Ministry of Defence is to sell one of its historic Whitehall buildings as part of a money-saving drive.

A sign for the Old War Office Building, situated on Whitehall in Westminster, central London. Credit: Johnny Green/PA

The Old War Office Building, where military planning took place for conflicts including both World Wars and the Cold War, will be sold on the open market, the MoD said.

It is hoped that the building, which housed figures including Sir Winston Churchill, could fetch £100 million.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "Bringing MoD teams together into one building will save the taxpayer around £8 million a year in running costs as well as generating a capital receipt. It will also enable closer working and collaboration within the department."

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Olympic missile sites confirmed

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that ground based air defence systems will be deployed at the following sites in order to protect the Olympics.

Lexington Building, Fairfield Road, Bow, Tower Hamlets - High Velocity Missile

Fred Wigg Tower, Montague Road Estate, Waltham Forest - High Velocity Missile

Blackheath Common, Blackheath (Lewisham/Greenwich) - Rapier

William Girling Reservoir, Lea Valley Reservoir Chain, Enfield - Rapier

Oxleas Meadow, Shooters Hill, Greenwich/Woolwich - Rapier

Barn Hill, Netherhouse Farm, Epping Forest - Rapier.

Statement from Defence Secretary on Olympic missile defences

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond MP said:

"Whilst there is no reported threat to the London Olympics, the public expects that we put in place a range of measures aimed at ensuring the safety and security of this once-in-a-generation event. Ground-based air defence systems will form just one part of a comprehensive, multi-layered air security plan which, I believe, will provide both reassurance and a powerful deterrent.

“We have undertaken a wide programme of engagement with the communities affected, involving relevant local authorities, landowners, MPs, Council Leaders, and community meetings. These have shown that, while people understandably have questions and concerns which we have sought to answer, broadly speaking communities are supportive of our work.

“A small number of activists object to the deployment of these defensive measures and a legal challenge to the Government’s decision to deploy GBAD has been initiated. The MOD will defend these proceedings vigorously and is confident of defeating them.”

Defence Minister: There is no specific threat to the Games

Defence Minister, Phillip Hammond on the eight-day military training exercise taking place ahead of the Olympics:

“Whilst there is no specific threat to the Games, we have to be ready to assist in delivering a safe and secure Olympics for all to enjoy.

“The fact that our state-of-the-art Typhoons will be stationed at RAF Northolt underlines the commitment of the Ministry of Defence and our Armed Forces to keeping the public safe at a time when the world will be watching us.”

– Secretary of State for Defence, Phillip Hammond