The national shipbuilding strategy made it clear that, as non-warships, the fleet solid support ships will be subject to international competition. There are clear cost and value-for-money advantages from maximising competition, which remains the cornerstone of defence procurement. UK companies are welcome to participate in the competition.
Daewoo, of South Korea, which is currently building the Tide class tankers for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, has benefited from unfair state aid assistance from the South Korean Government. Will the Minister give assurances that for the next batch of fleet solid support ships, any shipyard worldwide that is benefiting from unfair state aid will be excluded from the competition? Even better, will he make a commitment that UK shipbuilders will be able to bid for that on that basis?
I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. The point I made in my initial answer is very clear: we believe that competition is a good thing. That means fair competition, so we will be more than happy to look into the details of his comments. However, we do believe that competition on this issue is the best way forward.