§ Sir Frederick Burden
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what indications he has been able to give to commercial firms he has sought to take over the Chatham dockyard ropery of possible future orders for the Royal Navy.
§ Mr. Wiggin
We have had informal discussions with a number of rope manufacturing companies with a view536W to the ropery at Chatham being operated commercially following its closure next year by MOD. We would be prepared, on a term basis, to offer MOD orders to a suitable commercial operator. Subsequently, any further MOD orders would be as a result of open tender procedures. At no stage has it yet been appropriate to indicate the possible size of future orders.