Tories promise Cosford move review

Tories promise Cosford move review***
Gem 29 January 2010
Mr Smith said: “I welcome Carwyn Jones’s firm commitment to the St Athan project.
“I want people here in the Vale and across Wales to remember that both the UK Government and the Welsh Assembly Government are fully behind the Defence Technical College going ahead at St Athan.
“They have repeatedly backed up their words of support with deeds. To date, the Government has underwritten over £110 million of essential works linked with the project to get the site ready for construction.

Half of this £110M is for Metrix/Sodexo preparations and studies for training reorgn and for developing the site.£60M  is for infrastructure, half supposed to be for the DTC and half for the ABP, the latter met by WAG.

.. yes, they've spent money like water, though the advantage of PFI was supposed to be that the private sector carries the risk.  Land Securities Trillium pulled out after spending their own £20M, but Sodexo when taking over seem to have got a guarantee that the MoD would cover its spending prior to go-ahead.
What about plan B  - the MoD's contingency plan to continue to use the Blandford base which has sufficient housing and support services (200 experienced managers plus local suppliers) for the reduced-size DTC (under 2500 tri-service trainees) now planned by Metrix/MoD?

I hope Welsh leaders are qwuestioned on this...and as for Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones seems to have forgotten that his party policy opposed PFI projects when he said it was vital to maximise the employment prospects of people already living in the area.He said: "The knock-on effect of such a large project on the community will require great investment in health, education and transport services and it is therefore essential that the government invests adequately in the area." And this is about job relocation not job creation! Many Plaid C are opposed to the DTC in principle and in practice, because they oppose the militarisation of Wales but Plaid Cymru gets in to bed with New Labour and didtches its principles! 
For the Lib Dems, Vince Cable also said the College might have to go because it was so expensive at a time of recession, though the Welsh branch of his party disagreed with him and weren't consulted on the matter and so he was quickly shut up. Welsh politicans all ignote the elephant in the room!

***Thursday 15th April 2010, 12:47PM BST
Controversial plans to transfer jobs from RAF Cosford to Wales would be reviewed if the Conservative Party came to power, it was claimed today.

Mark Pritchard, Tory prospective parliamentary candidate for The Wrekin, said the government's Defence Training Review "would be reviewed and examined in fine detail" if David Cameron became Prime Minister.

As part of the programme the Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering (DCAE), based at the airbase near Shifnal and providing training for aircraft engineers and tradesmen across the British armed forces, will move to St Athan in Wales from 2014.

It led to fears the Shropshire site could be "mothballed" with hundreds more jobs under threat as civilian staff based there would have nothing to do.

Last month the Ministry of Defence said plans to move troops based in Germany to Cosford, to replace those leaving, had been delayed by two years.

Defence Minister Bill Rammell said the planned movement of 2,600 troops and their families from Germany to Cosford as part of Operation Borona, due to start in 2016, would now not take place until 2018.

Military chiefs blamed the need to "accommodate other defence resource priorities" for the delay in moving 102 Logistic Brigade to Cosford.

Mr Pritchard, who has been campaigning to secure the future of the 70-year-old base, said today: "If the Conservatives form the next government we are committed to a major Strategic Defence Review which will examine every major defence spending commitment by Labour ministers.

"This will include the flawed Defence Training Review programme which will tear the heart out of Cosford and the local community."

Mr Pritchard's Back RAF Cosford campaign on Facebook has attracted more than 700 followers.

By Wayne Beese

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