§ 90. Mr. Andrew Mitchell
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what competition takes place in defence support services.
§ Mr. Sainsbury
In order to obtain the best value for money it is our policy to extend competition in defence support services to the maximum extent possible, consistent with operational requirements. The largest single example is the transfer of the royal dockyards to commercial management, but, in addition, over 120 separate functions and activities have been contracted out in various parts of the Ministry of Defence. Since 1979 and up to March 1988 contracting out of services, excluding the dockyards, has resulted in savings of over 13,000 mainly civilian public sector posts and net annual financial savings of some £50 million. Looking to the future, we have in train a rolling programme of market testing which will extend progressively to all parts of the support area.