Alun Cairns & St Athan Option

Alun Cairns wrote the St Athan option would save the taxpayer £500m over 30 years (MP’s column Barry & District News, September 23), but can’t give any evidence.  In fact, the £500m figure was first given by Metrix.  All evidence from the £3bn rise since Feb. 2008 or £2bn rise since Sept. 2008 is that the Metrix price is now a £bn or two higher than the MoD’s internal option.
  • Alun wrote he believes the PFI has good military reasons.  Yet no-one can say what the training needs will be until the defence review is completed.  There are good reasons for NOT signing up to a contract when amounts and types of training will change substantially.   Training courses will be disrupted by the move, partly because staff will take redundancy rather than transfer. 
  • Alun like most other Welsh politicians claim it’s highly important economically for Wales.  Yet it’s been highly exaggerated.  It’s a small College (2000-2500 places) and less investment than Cardiff’s new shopping development.  The adjacent aerospace development (the Minister wrongly claimed 'synergy') has collapsed, with firms foced to relocate on the site deciding instead to move elsewhere.
  •  Politicians claim ‘overwhelming’ support from Welsh people.  Yet many local people are critical and the public inquiry showed well-argued cases for changes. 
  • Alun will take along Cllr Jeffrey James, who got a lot of criticism for railroading the project through Committee.  As Chairman Cllr James organised a presentation just before the formal Planning Committee from which objectors were excluded, then pushed the Committee to a quick vote ('Rubber stamped' reported the Glamorgan Gem) without considering the alternatives proposed by local residents and Community Councils.
Like other mega PFIs in Defence procurement, this one will be shown to be excessively costly.  There is now momentum for integrating training across the services – savings will go ahead once Metrix withdraws.  Like the BBC’s informant, we see that St Athan may still have a role but “not the gargantuan PFI. And Peter Collins and BBC please stop repeating the lie that there will be 5,000 jobs.

No comments: