Britain ditches plan to outsource military buying


LONDON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Britain has abandoned plans tohand responsibility for its 159 billion pound ($260 billion)military equipment buying programme to a private firm, DefenceSecretary Philip Hammond said on Tuesday.

The plan hit problems when one of two bidders for thecontract pulled out on Nov. 19, leaving only a consortium led byU.S. engineering group Bechtel, and with PA Consulting andPricewaterhouseCoopers, in the competition.

"We do not have a competitive process. I have thereforeconcluded that the risks of proceeding with a single bidder aretoo great to be acceptable," Hammond said, confirming earlierreports of the cancellation.

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