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Rescue Services: Helicopters

Volume 505: debated on Friday 5 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contractual provisions his Department has negotiated to ensure that providers of equity capital to the successful bidder for the search and rescue helicopter service private finance initiative contract are required to hold their investment for a defined period of time; and if he will make a statement. (315713)

Under the draft contract the equity providers to the successful service provider for the SAR-H PFI will not be allowed to change their holding in the service provider for a number of years after the service has commenced. After this time, the equity providers may transfer their holding provided they give notice to the Government and the transferee is a suitable third party.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assurances his Department has (a) sought and (b) received that the successful bidder for the search and rescue helicopter service private finance initiative contract will take full responsibility for helicopter search and rescue services and ensure continuity of management and ownership over the period of the proposed contract. (315714)

Assurances have been sought and received from bidders that if successful they will take full responsibility for helicopter search and rescue services and ensure continuity of efficient management for the duration of the contract.

The owners of the service provider will not be allowed to change their holding in the service provider for a number of years after the service has commenced. After this time, the Government restrict the circumstances in which ownership and the principal sub-contracting chain may change.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2010, Official Report, column 206W, on rescue services: helicopters, when he expects the competition for new search and rescue helicopters to be completed; and what progress has been made in the competition. (316070)

The Search and Rescue Helicopter (SAR-H) competition is ongoing. We anticipate making an announcement of the preferred bidder very shortly and, thereafter, working with the preferred bidder to bring the project to contract later in the year.