To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) what his policy is towards the two properties leased to BAE Systems in Portsmouth Dockyard once the contract on such buildings expires in September 2014;
(2) how his Department plans to use the shipbuilding shed (a) once BAE Systems finish its current work and (b) after the contract expires in November 2014; and how his Department intends to use other buildings no longer required for shipbuilding work after November 2014.
Following BAE Systems’ decision to consolidate its shipbuilding business on the Clyde, the company has confirmed that complex warship building operations in Portsmouth will cease in the second half of 2014. The Ministry of Defence's (MOD) current planning assumption is that the facilities used for this activity will be returned to the Department.
Separate leases covering the facilities used for the manufacture and repair of the Royal Navy's boats and raiding craft, and for the wider facilities used to support and maintain the Royal Navy's warships, are due to expire in 2014. These activities will continue at the naval base and negotiations regarding extensions to the relevant leases are at an advanced stage.
Operational and security considerations will influence the extent to which the MOD can exploit unused parts of the naval base estate for commercial use, and we are looking at options to support employment-generating activity both in the dockyard and on adjoining MOD-owned land. This work is at an early stage and it would therefore be premature to comment on the options that might be available.