My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
The Question was as follows:
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make a statement as to why the National Enterprise Board together with other members of the consortium of Rio Tinto-Zinc and GEC was unable to compete with the price submitted by the Mitsubishi Electric Company of Japan for the construction of a power station and desalination plant near Dubai.
My Lords, the pricing of the British tender for this contract was not a matter for the Government; it was entirely for the commercial judgment of the consortium. This is a highly competitive field and there can be many reasons why tender prices may cover a wide range.
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether he does not agree that this is a very important contract? Unfortunately we missed it. Can no further arrangements be made to get other partners in the consortium with the National Enterprise Board to further efforts in this direction?
My Lords, it was a large contract and I agree with the noble Baroness that it is a great pity the consortium's bid was not accepted. Certainly the National Enterprise Board, on my understanding, would be ready—if their commercial judgment considered it a wise move—to go in for similar consortia in the future.
My Lords, could we be told the value of this contract and whether delivery dates had any effect on the Japanese success in this direction?
My Lords, as I said in my original Answer, this was not a matter for the Government. I am not aware of the value of the contract under consideration. I have no information that would suggest that the delivery date affected the outcome of the tender one way or the other.