Declare this project dead

Article from Shropshire Star yesterday
quote in there from Mark Pritchard MP

“Government ministers need to come clean and declare this project dead”

Shropshire Star Article

NEWS reaches Portmouth!

Hopes rise that Sultan will get a stay of execution

Published Date: 15 December 2008 By Matt Jackson Defence correspondent

HOPES are rising that the under-threat HMS Sultan in Gosport could be offered a stay of execution.

Last year ministers announced the engineering school would be shut by 2017 with all training moving to St Athan, Wales. But now unions think 170 jobs in the area could be saved after a company in the project pulled out of the deal.

Land Securities Trillium, which has already invested more than £20m in the scheme, said the prospect of cost increases was the reason for it withdrawing from the £11bn scheme.

Geoff Lange, an instructor at
HMS Collingwood and Portsmouth South branch secretary for the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: 'With Land Securities pulling out the development part of this plan has to be called into question.

'Workers could see the silver lining of this bec
ause it means the project planning will drag on, but I see it as confusing and worrying for them.

'They have wasted lots of public money on consultants and we need clarity about what is supposed to be happening.'

In July, The News reported tha
t a leaked e-mail had revealed the project could be delayed for up to eight years. Metrix, the consortium behind the new training centre in St Athan, was said to be considering keeping Sultan open until 2025. If this falls through, the Ministry of Defence could be forced to retain training sites across Hampshire including Sultan, which is home to the Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival School.

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, who sits on the Defence Select Committee, said: 'With Land Securities pulling out this must seriously damage the entire project.

'It was never financially viable and this is great news for sites in our area. I would expect to see Sultan open for a good time to come.'

An MoD spokeswoman said there was 'no question whatsoever' about the future of the project, but added that nothing had been decided as to when Sultan would close.

She said: 'Changes in the consortium structure in a project of this scale are not unusual.

'Land Securities Trillium's withdrawal is a consequence of adjustment to their parent company's strategic priorities as a result of the current economic circumstances.

'The MOD, Metrix and QinetiQ are committed to delivering the project at St Athan, considerable progress has been made and the main project milestones remain in place.'

Metrix spokesman Christopher Moseley said: 'We are working very closely with the Ministry of Defence to deliver this on time.'

News reaches manchester too! Eco home plan bust too!

Just 1700 homes for Deepcut site?
Get Surrey - Manchester
Deepcut was one of the casualties of the MoD’s Defence Training Review, which aims to close and relocate several Armed Forces bases in the South East. ..

And Mark Pritchard has demanded a statement from the Ministry of Defence regarding the decision by Land Securities Trillium to withdraw from the Metrix consortium, the lead bidder for the Defence Training Review (DTR). A spokesman on behalf of Trillium stated that the company had invested a considerable amount of money on the project, but due to the significantly increased bid costs which were carried at risk by the bidders they would now have to withdraw.

11 December 2008 : Parliamentary Debate
Defence Training Review
Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The defence training review is the largest private finance initiative in British history, worth £11 billion-indeed, the costs have increased in the last six months to £12 billion. I seek your advice, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because in today’s Financial Times it was announced that Land Securities Trillium, one of the major backers of the defence training review package, has pulled out of the project altogether. This has major implications for the future training of our armed forces not only in the short term, but in the medium to long term. Is it not a disgrace that, yet again, the Government hav e chosen to leak this information to the Financial Times rather than bring it to the Floor of the House?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I can only repeat that Mr. Speaker considers it extremely important that all important matters on which this House should have a view should be brought before the House, but I am sure the hon. Gentleman will find ways to pursue these matters himself, and the points he has made are on the record.

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