On October the 9TH 2008, when Minister of the Armed Forces, (whoever it happens to be after this week after the reshuffles) makes another long awaited announcement, PCS hopes he is thinking very carefully about what the Metrix consortia (made up of Raytheon, QinetiQ, Land Securities Trillium, Dalkia, Sodexho and a host of many other companies and Education experts including the Open University) states on its website. “Within the consortium we bring the benefits of very large scale commercial infrastructure programmes to the MOD for the first time, and the proven confidence of the financial markets” ! Like so many other Metrix aspirations, they seem to have their fingers truly off the pulse again. Any wonder for PCS concerns over this failing and flawed PPP/PFI ?
In the recent months we have seen intense negotiation between the Department and Metrix. Presumably Metrix have been trying to make sure that they will still be able to make a considerable profit out of a deal worth some £12billion over the next 30 years. Brigadier Nield, head of the DTR IPT seems engrossed in worrying about his ratings in the Private Eye magazine and in trying to keep any news as an official secret.
Meanwhile the BBC on Fri Oct 3rd gave details of just how bad the current housing is at St Athan. Never one not to miss an opportunity to promote the Metrix bid , John Smith, the MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, said he had asked the Ministry of Defence to investigate the accommodation at St Athan. “I am deeply concerned. The problem here appears to be that the property was absolutely filthy and that could not have happened 20 or 30 years ago,” he said. “The entire housing stock of the Ministry of Defence was sold to a Japanese bank some 10 or 12 years ago and what that means is the liaison officer on camp has limited control over the standards of these properties. “What John Smith MP carefully didn’t mention is Japanese bank Nomura or actually Annington Homes was a PFI deal which was heavily criticised by the audit office for selling the houses for between £77 million and £139 million less than they were worth.
It is going to change at St Athan because with the new technical academy being built - the housing accommodation and just as importantly, the single person accommodation, is going to be transformed.” (can PFI deliver 2nd time around?)
I am sure that our serving Military colleagues share his concerns and must also remain sceptical about moving from perfectly good housing to “renovated flea infested accommodation.
PCS await the announcement with interest. H O;Harney PCS Specialist Instructional Officer said “The fact that Metrix and the Department are aware that 98% of staff are unwilling to move to South Wales and want to remain as Civil Servants, the risk involved in this programme are huge. It is not too late to a lot of save money and seek a common sense solution which will see Armed Forces Training not being threatened with potential disaster. Some people’s ego’s and greed seem to the main driving factors now within DTR Package 1”.Minister of state - Bob Ainsworth
Minister of state - Lady Taylor
Parliamentary undersecretary of state - Quentin Davies
Parliamentary under secretary of state - Kevan Jones
Full list brown government here