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Submarine Refitting

Volume 222: debated on Thursday 2 April 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will name the consultants appointed by him to report on the proposals of the two royal dockyards for refitting submarines;(2) what are the terms of reference of

(a) the financial consultants and (b) the civil engineers, appointed to scrutinise the nuclear submarine refitting bids submitted by the royal dockyards;

(3) if he will publish reports prepared by the consultants assessing the rival bids for the nuclear submarine refitting programme.

A range of specialist consultants have for some considerable time provided advice on future arrangements for warship refitting, chief among these being Coopers and Lybrand (financial and business advice), and, by sub-contracts to Coopers and Lybrand, Allot and Lomax (civil engineering) and the safety and reliability directorate of AEA Technology (nuclear safety). The various consultants provide assessments of, and advice on, those aspects of the proposals from the two Royal Dockyard contractors that fall within their area of expertise. Central to their advice is much commercially sensitive information as well as classified material:, their advice will therefore not be published. We will, however, release as much information as possible, subject to the constraints of commercial confidentiality and security, once we have announced our proposals to the House.