Britian’s new coalition government has suspended February’s selection of Team Soteria as preferred bidder to deliver search and rescue helicopter (SAR-H) services to the Ministry of Defence and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency while it reviews the £4.6bn (A$7.8bn) program. The coalition is looking at the spending decisions made by the previous Labour administration in three months leading up to the May general election, accusing it of operating a “scorched earth” policy when it came to spending.
Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander announced in the House of Commons on June 17 that the government had decided to axe 12 projects and suspend a further 12, worth a combined £10 billion. He noted that the SAR-H program, the largest of the 12 programs to be suspended, will be “reviewed as a matter of urgency”.
“The move [to review the program] was not unexpected as the incoming administration had clearly stated its intention to review the major projects approved by the previous government in the last months of its tenure,” said a Team Soteria statement. “Soteria is convinced that they offer the UK a robust value for money solution and they continue to work closely with the customer towards contract award.”
Team Soteria comprises CHC, Thales UK and equity partner RBS and offered the Sikorsky S-92. Planned as a 25 year private finance initiative deal, SAR-H was expected to begin operations from 2012 and would operate around 24 helicopters based around the UK.