§ Mr. William Powell
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement about progress with development of the Clyde submarine base required in support of Trident.
§ Mr. Freeman
The Property Services Agency of the Department of the Environment, which acts on behalf of the Secretary of State in matters of design and construction, is today letting a major contract for construction of a shiplift, berthing and other support facilities at Faslane. This is a very significant step in the development of facilities to support Trident, and it marks the beginning of the main construction phase at Faslane, where site preparation and advance works have been under way for some 18 months.
By the late autumn we expect to have let three more large construction contracts for Trident facilities at the armament depot at Coulport, the PSA will have invited tenders for the floating explosives handling jetty. When that contract, too, is awarded the great bulk of the development of the Clyde submarine base will be under way.
The contract announced today is worth some £120 million, but with further work for sub-contractors still to be settled the value of the overall package will rise to around £150 million. Construction of the shiplift brings with it some 600 jobs to the west of Scotland as well as important orders for suppliers of equipment and materials in other parts of Britain.