HC Deb 10 January 2000 vol 342 cc93-4W
Mr. Key

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in respect of the Joint Services Adventure Sail Training Fleet(a) what have been the running costs in each of the past five years, (b) what is (i) the current market value and (ii) the replacement cost of each vessel in the fleet and (c) if he will consider replacing the fleet with a PPP arrangement with leased yachts and instructors. [103409]

Mr. Spellar

[holding answer 21 December 1999]: The running costs for the Joint Services Adventure Sail Training Fleet in each of the past five years are:

Year £ million
1994–95 0.890
1995–96 0.920
1996–97 1.017
1997–98 0.996
1998–99 1.238

These costs include low level and routine maintenance and repair. Higher level upkeep (levels 3 and 4 maintenance) figures for the previous three years are:

Year £000
1996–97 1383
1997–98 2756
1998–99 2654
1 Upkeep only
2 Upkeep and repair

The figures for 1997–98 and 1998–99 include the cost of upkeep (major refit) work to comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Code of Practice for Sail Training Vessels. Costs for earlier years can be provided only at disproportionate effort since funding specific to JSASTC can be isolated only by examining all bills received for minor warship repair work in this period.

The training fleet currently operates 14 × Victoria 34 and 8 × Nicholson 55 sail training craft. The market value of each vessel will vary according to individual condition and the availability of similar vessels also on the market. The current market value for the Victoria 34s is estimated at £60,000 and £100,000 for the Nicholson 55s.

Replacement costs are estimated to be £150,000 for a Victoria 34 and £800,000 for a Nicholson 55. These are current market prices (new) and include VAT. No replacements are included in the current procurement programme.

We have no plans at present to replace the fleet with a PPP arrangement.