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Aircraft Carriers

Volume 476: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2008

I am pleased to inform the House we have completed the necessary alignment of work schedule, commercial arrangements and planned annual expenditure, in relation to the Future Aircraft Carriers. This enables us to move ahead with the companies of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance to progress the contract for the manufacture of the two carriers to be named HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, which will enter service in 2014 and 2016 respectively. Following finalisation of legal arrangements and the formation of the planned naval shipbuilding and support Joint Venture Company, formal contract signature will take place. We have given our written assurance to the VT Group and BAE Systems of our intention to sign the contract once the company has formed.

The carriers will provide our front-line forces with the modern, world-class capabilities they will need over the coming decades. The work on the carriers will create or sustain 10,000 jobs across UK at the peak of its production.