§ Mr. Best
asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what effect the sale of Royal Ordnance factory, Leeds will have on his policy of competitive tendering as it relates to battle tanks;970W
(2) what will be the effect of the sale of Royal Ordnance factories on the competitive tendering policy with regard to main battle tanks.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence indicated in the House on 24 July, full national competition for main battle tanks is not a practical long-term aim when the likely value of business cannot justify or sustain competitive industrial capacities required. The change of ownership at Leeds and the new investment should however in themselves ensure greater efficiency in satisfying our orders as well as enabling the factory to offer even more effective performance against the foreign competition and to participate more powerfully in collaborative ventures. Competition at the important sub-contractor level will of course continue. The prospective sale of the remaining Royal Ordnance factories should have no effect upon competitive tender opportunities in the main battle tank field.