HC Deb 09 May 1989 vol 152 cc425-6W
Mr. John Marshall

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what improvements in efficiency have been achieved since his Department adopted a policy of increasing the number of contracts subject to competitive tender.

Mr. Sainsbury

[holding answer 27 April 1989]: The increased use of competitive tendering is at the heart of the MOD's more commercial approach to defence procurement. This approach continues to bring substantial cash savings, and to encourage better quality and more timely delivery of equipment. It also continues to promote improvements in the efficiency and competitiveness of the British defence industry, contributing to its recent export successes, and its position as the world's third largest defence exporter.

The use of competitive tendering for defence services, since 1979, has led to a net financial saving now running at some £50 million a year, has improved efficiency and has permitted service manpower to be redeployed to front-line tasks. Large savings have been made in areas such as cleaning, catering, grounds maintenance and security guarding, but contractors also manage many other support activities and facilities for the services, including the royal dockyards. More details are given on page 35 of the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1989".