§ Mr. Hoon
This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Defence Procurement Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Robert Walmsley to Mr. Robert Key, dated 19 April 2000:I am replying to your questions to the Secretary of State for Defence asking for estimates of the sums to be spent each year on the new carriers until they enter service and their annual operating costs. This matter falls within my area of responsibility as Chief of Defence Procurement and Chief Executive of the Defence Procurement Agency.Our estimates of annual procurement costs for the new carriers are projections of equipment costs for internal planning purposes and furthermore their disclosure could damage the competitive process. I am therefore withholding the information requested under exemptions 2 and 7a of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. As to operating costs, annual estimates for the support of the carriers have still to be established.I am able to confirm, however, that the estimated total procurement cost of the future carriers is broadly £2Bn with operating and support costs of around £3.5Bn over the life of the programme. Both these figures are at 1999 prices.