HC Deb 17 February 1972 vol 831 cc605-6
19. Mr. Farr

asked the Minister of State for Defence if he now has plans for building a further Polaris submarine.

Lord Balniel

No, Sir. But the option to provide a fifth Polaris submarine remains open and is kept under continuing review.

Mr. Farr

Will my right hon. Friend agree that there is an obvious tactical advantage in possessing a fifth vessel and that, additionally, it would give much-needed stimulus to employment in the area where it was built?

Lord Balniel

Yes, but from the defence point of view we have to consider whether the strategic nuclear deterrent is capable of inflicting a totally unacceptable degree of damage on any potential aggressor. This certainly is the case. This matter is kept under continuing review in the light of modern developments.

Mr. James Hamilton

If the Minister decides to have another submarine, will he ensure that the steel for its manufacture is British steel? Will he have discussions with the British Steel Corporation on the production of the necessary steel and so save the importation of American steel?

Lord Balniel

That is a hypothetical question, but I take note of what the hon. Gentleman says. It is our practice always to use British steel, where it is available, in the building of British ships.

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