Defence: British Steel - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:36 pm on 30th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Sterling of Plaistow Lord Sterling of Plaistow Conservative 2:36 pm, 30th April 2019

My Lords, in 2014 I commissioned a special document from the London colleges in connection with the value of defence procurement being sovereign and not overseas. The suggestion I read on Monday—that these three ships will be designated supply ships and therefore should be open to competition—is to my mind complete nonsense. In practice, they are supply ships going into action and have to be armed. Four of the countries of Europe, including France, are building very similar ships, which are designated as warships. It is absolutely ridiculous to consider otherwise. Also, it supports the view on steel, because some 100,000 tonnes of steel is involved. Further to that, it leads to jobs and, on the education side, continues the drumbeat that we need to build up the manufacturing companies. Will the Government re-examine this issue? This is another example of the Treasury being in love with cost and not value for money.