My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Des Browne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement:
The defence industrial strategy published in December 2005 set out a challenge to the UK maritime industry to reduce its overheads and invest in the facilities and skills needed to meet the demands of the Royal Navy's future warship programme. The same challenges apply to the naval bases as we look to the future. The naval bases exist to support the Royal Navy's front line. They are complex and expensive organisations. We need to ensure that their capacity is no more and no less than we need to support the needs of the fleet now and in the years to come. I wish to announce, therefore, our intention to conduct an in-depth review of naval base infrastructure requirements. The aim of the review is to ensure that we have the right naval base infrastructure to meet the needs of the future fleet. The review will assess future requirements and examine a range of options, including some that could lead to radical reductions in overheads and naval base capacity. The recommendations from the review, which will be undertaken by the Defence Logistics Organisation, are expected to be finalised in spring 2007.
The trade unions have been consulted on the terms of reference for the review and, while it is too early to predict the impact on jobs, the department will continue to engage with them and other stakeholders as the review is taken forward. Final decisions on the recommendations from the review will be subject to full trade union consultation.