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Warships: Portsmouth

Volume 504: debated on Wednesday 27 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his review of the use of naval bases will include issues other than the relocation of Type 23 Frigates to Portsmouth; when the outcomes of the review will be published; and if he will make a statement. (312853)

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence announced on 6 May 2009, Official Report, column 16WS, as part of work to consider the optimal base-porting arrangements for the less complex variants of the Future Surface Combatant (FSC), the Department would examine whether there is any case to change the base-porting of the Type 23 frigates. Under the Maritime Change Programme, key stakeholders, including representatives from Portsmouth and Plymouth city councils as well as naval base staff, are supporting Warwick university in developing a shared socio-economic model, which will help to greater understand the implications of any potential future change to warship base-porting arrangements at Portsmouth and Devonport.

The contiguous impact of three principal scenarios is to be initially investigated: the move of Trafalgar Class submarines from HM Naval Base Devonport to HM Naval Base Clyde; the decommissioning of Type 22 Frigates and any potential change to the current Type 23 base-porting arrangements. We aim to have this model ready in spring 2010 to help inform debate and decision making. The impact of any proposed base-porting changes across the Defence Lines of Development, including accommodation, support, personnel and infrastructure, will be also assessed during the decision making process.

Currently, no date has been agreed by when an announcement on any potential Type 23 base-porting arrangements will be made. As part of any future announcement, we will be able to confirm that there will be no base porting changes for around five years as we are committed to providing sufficient notice for Royal Navy personnel and their families and the wider community to plan for the future.