St Athan latest news - next meeting

1.Next meeting Mon 8th Sept 6pm Temple of Peace

2.Cosford letter to audit office

3. MP Calls for St Athan Rail Stop (oh yeah!)

4. Defence Training Review Over Budget

5. See the Private Eye article ...

The full article can be viewed here.

1. Look forward to seeing you at the next meeting at Temple of Peace 6pm Mon 8th Sept...please send items for the agenda.

2. Cosford letter to audit office

please download or use this copy below and send in and a copy to your AM and MP would be useful

Telephone Please reply to:


To: Tim Burr
Comptroller and Auditor General
Private Office
National Audit Office
157-197 Buckingham Palace Road


Dear Mr Burr,

I am writing to you concerning Package One of the Defence Training Review (DTR) Transformation programme, which is a programme worth some £12 Billion allegedly. It will be one of the most expensive PFI/PPP’s project ever undertaken by the Ministry of Defence and will be amongst the largest partnering arrangement ever undertaken in the United Kingdom and yet to date the NAO has never reported on this matter. I am extremely concerned about the escalating cost to the taxpayer that this project is incurring. I am aware to the vast amount of money being spent on consultants, some of whom are being paid at £1200 a day. The contract’s length of 30 years and the unheard of first breakpoint at fifteen years is a recipe for spiralling costs and a major impact upon the public purse.

I believed the MoD option selected for delivery of defence training would depend upon what is best for defence, combining both operational and value for money considerations. Work on this programme has been going on since 2001. To date every deadline has passed with announcements of further delays, which must increasingly mean additional expenditure of public monies. In July 2008 in the House of Commons, Minister Bob Ainsworth said “the financial appraisals have thrown up some difficult issues” ! He also talked about “affordability issues”, presumably the same “affordability issues” as mentioned by his predecessors Tom Watson, Don Touhig and Ivor Caplin who also knew that this programme is unaffordable.

You should also be aware that public monies were spent on Package 2 of DTR in trying to get a PPP/PFI solution, only for this to fall apart on “affordability issues” How much public money was spent on this failure and considering that the MOD have just given another few hundreds of millions pound to Package 2 to develop a different approach, it is disturbing to know that you have never audited the accounts of the MoD on this matter. Indeed your own literature states”The role of the National Audit Office is to audit the accounts of all government departments and agencies as well as a wide range of other public bodies, and report to Parliament on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which these bodies have used public money.”

Therefore I would request that as a matter of urgency the NAO conduct an enquiry or investigation into this programme as you had originally timetabled for in 2008/2009.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

3. MP Calls for St Athan Rail Stop

Published by Cheryl under Cosford, MoD

Yesterdays article reported that the cost of the Defence Trainining Review had now increased by £1bn to £13bn. An article on WalesOnLine reports that Vale of Glamorgan MP John Smith is calling for a dedicated rail stop to be built at St Athan, which will add more cost to the project. He thinks this will benefit the Welsh economy and ease congestion:

A DEDICATED rail stop should be built to serve the Defence Technical Academy in St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan MP John Smith has said.

Thousand of trainees from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force will attend the £13bn academy.

Mr Smith said: “In order for the Welsh economy to take full advantage from this record investment, the St Athan site must be served by an improved transport system.

“There are operational railway tracks running within very close proximity to the site. I believe there is a very strong case for building a dedicated rail stop at the academy. It will help reduce road traffic congestion, and prevent commuters and visitors to the academy the inconvenience of having to get off at Rhoose or Llantwit Major stations and transfer to a bus shuttle service.

“I will be writing to the Welsh Assembly Government, the local planning authority and the consortium responsible for building the academy asking them to consider building a rail halt at the site for the good of the Welsh economy.”

In addition WalesOnLine reports that a proposed road link that will service St Athan could cost up to £135m of tax payers money. Currently there are approximately 600 Civil Servants plus many military and private sector workers employed at RAF Cosford, the majority of these staff would be expected to move from Cosford to St Athan if the Metrix plans go ahead. Cosford is situated 800 meters from a motorway and already has it’s own railway station.

Is it right that so much taxpayers money is needed to support the Metrix bid is surely a question that needs to be asked. This is another reason that we are asking members to write to the NAO and get them to scrutinise this project which has already cost the tax payer millions in wasted consultant fees.

No responses yet

Aug 22 2008

4. Defence Training Review Over Budget

Published by Cheryl under Cosford, MoD

The latest edition of Private Eye reports that Brigadier Geoff Nield has let it slip that the cost of the Defence Training Review programme had gone up and is now over budget.

At a local “Stakeholders” meeting in the Vale of Glamorgan, home to a proposed new defence academy, the Ministry of Defence’s officer in charge, Brigadier Geoff Nield, let slip that the price had gone up from £11bn to £ 12bn. As the deal was slated to save the MoD just £400m at the old price, it seems the scheme will not only expose the armed forces to serious operational risks (see Eye 1213) but will actually cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions more than keeping training in-house.

The increasing delays to implementing the project has led to the National Audit Office (NAO) pulling its plans to investigate the deal. Members are encouraged to write to the NAO requesting that they undertake a review of the public monies spent on DTR. There is a link to a sample letter below, this can be amended as you feel fit.

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