§ 18. Mr. Liddell-Grainger
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the production of ordnance in the UK. 
§ Dr. Moonie
Royal Ordnance Defence, the UK's major producer of munitions to the armed forces, has been operating against a background of sharp decline in the world-wide demand for defence equipment over the last 15 years. Like any other commercial company competing in world markets, it has had to take the hard decisions necessary to optimise its manufacturing capacity to remain viable and competitive in this sector. The Ministry of Defence is aware that the company is currently conducting a manufacturing review, focusing particularly on its sites at Birtley, Bridgwater and Chorley.
While the final result of this review is not yet known, I am able to inform the House that Royal Ordnance Defence has recently announced that it intends to pursue a consolidation option at the Birtley site. Although, regrettably, there will be some job losses over a period of years, the company expects that this option will secure the future of the site as part of its core business.
They have also informed MOD that they intend to invest heavily in a number of sites across the United Kingdom. Royal Ordnance Defence are retaining expertise in the crucial areas of propellant charge design at Bishopton, ordnance engineering design at Leicester, and small arms ammunition design and manufacture at Radway Green near Crewe, as well as investing substantially in its filling, assembly and packaging plant at Glascoed. There is no doubt that the company does possess and plans to retain world-class research and development personnel and production facilities in the United Kingdom.