§ Mr. Rogers
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when he last published in a written answer the unit cost of a particular system;
(2) when it became his practice not to publish project unit costs.
§ Mr. Sainsbury
[holding answer 11 January 1988]: The unit cost of a particular system was last published in a written answer on 6 July 1987, at columns 61–2. Information of a similar character was given on 2 November 1987, at column 609.
Last year the practice of publishing unit costs of selected equipments in the annual "Statement on the Defence Estimates" was reviewed. It had long been recognised that publication of prices paid for equipment by my Department could be inimical to the commercial interests of manufacturers in other markets, and representations from the manufacturers themselves confirmed that this was the case. My right hon. Friend accordingly decided to discontinue the publication of such figures. They will, however, be made available to the Defence Committee of the House each year on a classified basis.