asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the implications of putting contracts out to tender at the defence establishment at Shoeburyness following the official visit by the Under-Secretary of State on 28 March.
We have invited tenders to carry out at the proof and experimental establishment, Shoeburyness, the support functions listed in my answer to my hon. Friend on 15 November 1984 at column 344. The implications of an acceptable response is that these support functions, which are currently carried out by civil service and military personnel, will be undertaken by a contractor from 1 April 1986. By this means we expect to maintain and enhance the efficiency of the establishment and the effectiveness of its support to the defence procurement programme and at the same time release military staff for active duty elsewhere.