BAE Systems

Part of Backbench Business — [Un-allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 1:03 pm on 24th November 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence 1:03 pm, 24th November 2011

The short answer to that question is yes. I have obviously discussed the future of the sector with the company, but I have not done so in specific detail about Brough—in general terms, yes, but not specifically about Brough. If the hon. Lady wishes to make a suggestion to me, I will happily take it forward.

The Government need an efficient defence industry, and I make no apology for saying that. Another line in the letter to hon. Members seems to suggest that we are in some sense to blame for wanting BAE Systems to be more efficient. We want it to be more efficient for the sake of taxpayers and also for the sake of export opportunities. I make no apology for demanding that efficiency of our suppliers.

Although using open competition on the global market is the MOD’s preferred option and its default position for purchasing defence capabilities—I listened carefully to what my right hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden said in that respect—in certain situations, the MOD has had to enter into single source procurement for some of the capabilities we must have in the UK. In these situations, we use the yellow book—it is called that because it is yellow—or “Government Profit Formula and Associated Arrangements” to give its full title. The yellow book covers the pricing arrangements to be used in single-source, non-competitive procurement. That can include reasonable rationalisation and redundancy costs, provided they are associated with a reduction in work related to single-source procurement.

The yellow book arrangements have remained largely unchanged for more than 40 years, which is why in January this year I commissioned Lord Currie of Marylebone to undertake a root-and-branch independent review of it. The MOD is currently undertaking a consultation, which runs until the new year, on Lord Currie’s proposals. No decisions will be made on his proposals until the consultation has been completed.