HC Deb 26 January 1987 vol 109 cc130-1W
Mr. Cohen

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what undertaking his Department has given to the Committee of Public Accounts as to the proposed level of expenditure on an industrial programme which necessitates information about such a project being provided to the Committee; how many programmes have been commenced, completed or are still in progress, whose minimum projected or actual cost amounted to less than £50 million, £50 to £100 million, £100 to £150 million, £150 to £200 million and £200 to £250 million, respectively.

Mr. Younger

In July 1982, following a request from the Committee of Public Accounts to be provided each year with summarised information on the progress and costs of major defence projects, my Department sent to the Committee a table listing 24 defence equipment projects with authorised expenditure in excess of £200 million, and showing cost information in respect of each, and also a separate table relating to nuclear projects. In November 1982 the then Chairman of the Committee wrote to ask, inter alia, fora supplementary annual list of projects where project definition costs have exceeded, say, £10M: or alternative proposals designed to give the Committee early warning of projects during project definition which are likely to exceed the £200 million limit".

In reply, my Department undertook to see what could be done in the 1983 statements to identify projects which might involve substantial expenditure before they had reached the point at which they entered the table. In 1986 the Committee agreed that the threshold for inclusion should be increased from £200 million to £250 million.

The information sought in the second part of the question could not be supplied without disproportionate cost.