We engaged in the Public Inquiry in January/February this year, so have up-to-date information..Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat) - the Minister's answers on 5th July do not give us confidence that he is undertaking a proper review.
Questions the minister needs to answer as the Minister's answers on 5th July do not give us confidence that he is undertaking a proper review.
a) “obvious synergy” with other work at St Athan
b) “add considerably to the final cost”.
# Has he up-to-date cost estimates for a scaled-down College for 2700 trainees (given at the Public Inquiry in January) or for 2000 Trainee places (possible figures after the Strategic Defence Review)?
# Could he give a breakdown of MOD expenditure to date towards the Metrix development, both as capital, for re-design and preparation of new courses and towards site preparation costs?
Note - At the public inquiry, the Welsh government was unable to justify synergy with the training project;
- they did claim synergy between the Aerospace Business Park and the Red Dragon aircraft refitting and maintenance
- there’s none with the Training College , just providing security and Service Families accommodation for staff seconded to the training function
- the “superhangar” built for servicing large aircraft is to be converted to create the College, so new hangars have to be built for future ABP servicing contracts
- the aeroengine testing facility has to be closed as too noisy near the College, and would have to be re-built elsewhere
- The Training project has been scaled down from 6000 trainees to 2700 (at the Inquiry) and 2000-2200 after expected SDR cuts.
- Much of the £830M capital cost would be saved by using existing bases (including £370M on new accommodation at St Athan) and upgrading existing sports, eating and admin facilities (see attache jpg image).
- little MOD money has been spent, apart from ~ £60M to Metrix to cover course redesign and office costs (not be lost if they sited the training elsewhere). £60M capital costs have been authorised shared 50/50 with WAG, but only design and consultancy parts of this have been spent; the major roads contracts have not been let.