Examination of Witnesses (Questions 280
WEDNESDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2001
MP, MR KEVIN
TEBBIT CMG, AND
280. Once you have let the contract to the prime
contractor, what influence can you bring to bear to ensure that
the prime contractor conveys into reality your sentiments?
(Mr Hoon) Because we are working with the prime contractor,
who in turn is working with Vosper
1 See p. 44.
Thornycroft, to develop a design that is sufficiently
robust then to allow for sensible pricing arrangements to be agreed
on the remainder of the Type-45s.
281. Is it not somewhat bizarre that the prime
contractor then submits a bid over and above, knowing of your
intention to split this work, to build all 12 ships himself?
(Mr Hoon) We are looking carefully at the unsolicited
bid that we received from BAE Systems Marine. It is being evaluated.
Obviously with any proposal that offers value for money to the
taxpayer we have to consider it carefully. It has not in any way
changed our central strategy, which is to ensure that there is
competition and that competition must mean that we have more than
one company able to build Type-45s. Nothing has changed in our
282. Have you met with BAE Systems to convey
to them your strongly held view that they should still be looking
to share that work since that prime contract has been let?
(Mr Hoon) I have certainly had conversations with
leading members of BAE Systems where that view has been very firmly
emphasised to them.
283. Could Vosper Thornycroft put in an unsolicited
bid to build all 12?
(Mr Hoon) They could and we would obviously look at
that carefully as well. One of the things that appears to have
been overlooked in some of the comments I have seen is that Vosper
Thornycroft are very heavily engaged with BAE Systems in the design
stage. A joint team is working to develop a design that then will
form the basis for the construction of the Type-45s.
Chairman: So if I was living in the Portsmouth
284. That is a rather strange comment bearing
in mind that they were not, in fact, consulted about the unsolicited
bid to build all 12 ships.
(Mr Hoon) It is not for me to comment on an offer
by a private sector company. We will evaluate that offer. All
I am saying to you as a matter of fact is there are employees
of Vosper Thornycroft working on the design of the Type-45.
285. If I was living in the Portsmouth area
then I should not be too exercised by the adverse publicity that
somehow all is going to be pinched away from Vosper Thornycroft?
(Mr Hoon) There is no change in Government policy.
Chairman: Thank you all very much for
coming along, it has been a very interesting session. We will,
of course, be seeing you shortly when you come and talk about
European Security. Thank you.