City MP Stephen Morgan has today used a public hearing of the Public Accounts Committee to quiz the Ministry of Defence’s top officials on a range of issues affecting the Royal Navy.
The Portsmouth South Member of Parliament is a new member of the oldest select committee in Parliament and raised questions of concern to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and his team at the hearing in the House of Commons.
When Royal Navy vessels require parts, the MOD can authorise that those parts are taken from elsewhere – a process known as ‘cannibalisation’ – but little was known about this process until a recent National Audit Office report into the matter.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
“Last year the Public Accounts Committee considered the introduction of the nation’s new aircraft carriers, which will be base-ported in Portsmouth.
Today I wanted to press government officials on these investments and other complex vessels on what will be required to keep them in-service, and ensure the maintenance and support they’d need. The Navy has increasingly had to make difficult decisions to balance its investment and support against cuts to its budgets.
With an increasing trend in cannibalisation across all ships and submarines, it is hugely important we understand why cannibalisation is rising and the threshold beyond which it is unacceptable.
I want to ensure the Navy and other forces have the support to properly plan for any long-term effects and will continue to raise these matters with Government”.
The National Audit Office has said it is difficult to determine whether cannibalisation is at acceptable levels for the Ministry of Defence to make decisions on the trade-offs between investing in spares and making use of the process.
A report with recommendations from Government will follow today’s hearing of the committee.