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Aircraft Carriers

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his estimate is of the (a) purchase cost and (b) running cost of the two aircraft carriers which he plans to secure for the Royal Navy. [18826]

Dr. Moonie: The purchase of the two new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy is expected to cost up to £2.9 billion. It is too early in the programme to provide definitive figures on the anticipated running costs of the carriers, since much will depend on the eventual design that is selected. Reliable forecasts for the carriers' running costs are being developed to inform the main investment decision on their build, which is currently scheduled for the end of 2003. As the ships are being designed to reduce support costs from the outset and will not undergo long refit periods while in-service, it is our intention that the overall running costs for the enhanced capability that CVF will offer should be less than that for the current class of ships.


Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on external expertise and advice in connection with the flotation of QinetiQ. [18242]

Mr. Hoon: Since work began on a PPP solution for the future of DERA following the Strategic Defence Review in 1998, external advice has been received on most aspects of the PPP process. This includes advice in support of the detailed options study and the subsequent further work on selected options, legal and financial aspects of the split of DERA and on the eventual transaction. £6.4 million has been spent so far. These costs are subject to continuous scrutiny to ensure that the services of advisers offer value for money. The costs of QinetiQ's advisers are being met by the company.

Historic Buildings

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) heritage and (b) historic buildings are owned by his Department; and what is their value is in each case. [18812]

Dr. Moonie: I have placed in the Library of the House a list of the historic and heritage properties and scheduled monuments, which are in the Ministry of Defence's care. I regard these properties as very valuable in both national and departmental terms, and we seek to maintain them to the highest appropriate standards.

Valuation of such properties is, however, difficult whether in terms of the contribution they make to our business, or in open market terms. For MOD accounting purposes we record only the replacement value of operational assets (for instance, an historic building used for administrative purposes would be valued as an office with certain capacity). The National Asset Register records historic/heritage properties as having nil value. Given the number of properties in the keeping of the MOD, as well as their often unique history and location, the information required is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost, which would in any case be of questionable practical use.

5 Dec 2001 : Column: 353W

Defence Spending

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his estimate is of the additional planned spending which would be needed to stabilise the share of UK defence spending in relation to UK gross domestic product at the 2001 level until 2005; and if he will make a statement. [18815]

Mr. Ingram: Using the resource based figures announced in the 2000 Spending Review, defence budget expenditure is expected to represent the following share of GDP for 2001–02 to 2003–04:

Financial yearPercentage GDP

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 30 October 2001, Official Report, columns 565–66W, which reported the figures for 2001–02 and 2002–03.

Those figures imply that a further 0.1 per cent. of GDP would be required in 2002–03 and 2003–04 to maintain UK defence spending at a constant percentage of UK GDP, though the figure for 2001–02 includes estimated conflict prevention funding (which cannot be forecast for subsequent years). The defence budget will, however, increase in real terms over each of these years. The defence budget for 2004–05 will be agreed during Spending Review 2002.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what his estimate is of total United Kingdom defence spending over the last 25 years; what value for money assessment of defence expenditure he has conducted; and if he will make a statement; [18818]

Mr. Ingram: Defence spending for the last 25 completed financial years was as follows:

£ million


These figures are not adjusted for inflation

5 Dec 2001 : Column: 354W

The following underspends/overspends were recorded during the period 1996–97 to 2000–01:

Year£ million

(33) Overspend

(34) Underspend

More detailed breakdowns are available in the Department Appropriation Accounts, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is committed to the pursuit of efficiency and value for money. The MOD's Public Service Agreement was published in December 1998, and set key targets for the period 1999–2000 to 2001–02, reflecting the outcome of the Strategic Defence Review. The PSA set many challenging value for money targets, and the Department has made good progress against these. MOD's Departmental Performance Report (DPR) was recently published and set out in detail progress against each target. A copy of the DPR has been placed in the Library of the House.


Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the orders for new warships which he has (a) placed and (b) plans to place for delivery prior to 2015; what his estimate of the cost of these new ships is; when the in-service expected date is in each case; and if he will make a statement. [18795]

Dr. Moonie: This Government are undertaking the largest programme of new warship building for many years. Since May 1997 the Ministry of Defence has placed:

(a) contracts for four Alternative Landing Ships Logistic (ALSLs) at an overall value of about £300 million, expected in-service between late 2004 and late 2005. The ALSL class is now expected to be in service earlier than previously envisaged, due to good co-operation between the two shipbuilders (Swan Hunter Tyneside and BAE Systems Marine) concerned;

(b) a prime contract, valued at about £1.3 billion, for three new Type 45 Destroyers, the first of which is expected to enter service in 2007. We announced earlier this year our intention, subject to commercial negotiations, to amend this contract to increase our commitment to a total of six ships.

(c) a lease contract for three new offshore patrol vessels, expected to enter service between autumn 2002 and autumn 2003. The total cost of the lease package is approximately £60 million.

5 Dec 2001 : Column: 355W

(d) a contract for two Survey Vessels, at an approximate cost of £130 million for the vessels and 25 years of support, expected in-service in winter 2002 and summer 2003.

As to our future plans, we expect to purchase two new Future Aircraft Carriers, for which an order is planned in 2004, costing up to £2.9 billion at outturn prices. We currently plan that the first ship will enter service in 2012. Other orders over the next few years will include further ASTUTE class submarines and Type 45 Destroyers.

Our longer-term plans include the future surface combatant programme to replace the current Type 22 and Type 23 Frigates and a variety of other vessels. We are also investigating options to replace the capabilities currently filled by those ships in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary fleet which are scheduled to leave service towards the end of the decade. It is not possible to provide accurate details of the cost or individual in-service dates of these vessels at this stage.

It remains our policy that all new warships will be built in the UK.

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