St Athan Deal collapsing?

RAF base may stay open due to DTR
Monday, September 15, 2008
The future of RAF Cosford is even more unclear than it was a few months ago due to the struggles of the Defence Training Review (DTR).

The £11bn training programme was awarded to St Athan, Wales over the RAF base in Shropshire. Many officials expected that this would mean the closure of the airbase. A formal announcement on the base's future is expected later this month.

However, as reported on Friday, the DTR is facing an extended period of difficulty and a full blown financial review because its financing was dependent on the sale of surplus MoD land.

Now the MoD may have to keep the RAF Cosford open as a contingency plan in case the deal at St Athan collapses. RAF Cosford had a number of advocates behind it during the bidding of the DTR including the unions representing the trainers and a number of high profile MPs. The base's infrastructure and close proximity to major cities and airports continues to make an attractive option. If the deal at St Athan were to fall through, the MoD would need a backup site for the programme.

Funding the continued operation of RAF Cosford may pose additional challenges to the MoD. A few months ago all signs pointed to it being closed and sold off. Keeping the base open will not only cost additional money but force the ministry to keep certain jobs there.

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