§ Mr. Fatchett
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those Royal Navy ships which are in a state of(a) refit, (b) repair and (c) rest, giving the date when he expects each will return to full service.
§ Mr. Freeman
All Royal Navy vessels undergo essential repairs and maintenance as required while remaining part of the operational fleet. The following Royal Navy surface ships are, however, undergoing refit and are consequently non-operational: HM Ships Birmingham, York, Edinburgh, London, Bulldog and Orkney. We expect all of these vessels to be returned to operational service within the next year.
We do not hold Royal Navy vessels in a state of rest. Some vessels are held in extended readiness, thus enabling significant running cost savings to be achieved whilst maintaining assets against the eventuality of adverse changes in the international situation. At present, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Intrepid are in extended readiness. For operational reasons, it is not our policy to discuss when these vessels will be returned to operational service.