St Athan military training academy in Wales is likely to be scrapped

Building an economy aircraft carrier could save £1bn, Cameron to ...The Guardian Tues 5 Oct 2010

......The Guardian has also learned that a £14bn PFI project – one of the largest ever – to finance a military training academy in Wales is likely to be scrapped as part of the strategic defence review, to be published later this month.

The new centre at a 1,000-acre site near Barry is intended to consolidate the three armed services' existing training facilities around the country, able to cater for up to 3,000 students at any one time.

The 30-year contract, awarded to defence firm Qinetiq and US firm Raytheon, covers staff, catering and maintenance. But the cost has already increased from the original estimate of £12bn to a figure closer to £14bn, while the government has made clear its dislike of PFI-style contracts.

One senior defence source described its future as "pretty bleak" and its fate could also be sealed at the national security council meeting. Officials say the work by the consortium – already costing the MoD more than £80m – has not provided what is required.

A spokesman for the consortium argued that it would be "illogical" to scrap the new centre because it would free up 1,200 sailors, soldiers and airmen involved in the military's existing training programme. The first aircraft carrier, which Cameron at the weekend indicated was going ahead, will initially be equipped with ageing Harriers. Each carrier was supposed to be equipped with 69 new Joint Strike Fighters, but the government could slash this number by at least half to make further savings. Each fighter is now estimated to cost at least £100m, a 50% increase, and the price is still rising.

Why has there not been open discussion and monitoring of this project by Welsh Politicians who promoted this project like lemmings even though the information was blatantly misleading.  The jobs figure was always a myth, although the 5,000 lie was repeated again and again by politicians and the media -the BBC news  just the other day.Do they never learn?

What of the Aerospace Business part of the St Athan development? Again Tens of £millions spent with no returns. The Red Dragon project, to provide MOD aircraft servicing and refits, collapsed with nothing to replace it. Gullible Ministers and over-bullish WDA. The “advanced aerospace business” park, promoted as “capable of generating several thousand skilled and high paid jobs in the long term” has dwindled to almost nothing.  Despite the recession and low-carbon economy policy, WAG at the CPO Inquiry in Janauary 2010 was still banking on expanding “aerospace” - a term covering military hardware – including exports from the likes of Raytheon and Qinetiq.

Information on latest WAG spending from a Freedom of Information Request 30th Sept
Perhaps WAG could stop wasting money -Total £5,306,772.81 - Spending on Consultants and companies on the gravy train!! Not including WAG staff costs etc.
St Athan Development Scheme *
Expenditure on External Advisers & Services - 1st April 2007 to 30th June 2010
Avionic Services , W.S. Atkins - Bay Associates - Capita - David Clements - Ecology -
Environment Agency - Enquinn Environmental - Enviros - Geldards - Halcrow - D & S -
Drivas Jonas - King Sturge - Bruton Knowles - Lewis & Lewis - MBP Marketing
- Mott Macdonald - MSS Consulting - OPUS - Parsons Brinckerhoff -
A. Porten - Production Support - Ramboll - Watts & Morgan - Welsh Water -
Western Power - White Young Green - Willdig Lamie - RG & RB Williams - 3Di

"Exclusive of Vat" Where Applicable.
* Aerospace Business Park & Defence Technical College Associated Assembly Government Costs

Question 3 In addition the same document talks of `in order to prepare and progress this Development Brief, a series of working groups has been established under a joint steering group consisting of Vale of Glamorgan officers, and representatives of WAG, Education and Learning Wales (ELWa), and Metrix. These Working Groups have been meeting regularly and have discussed planning, transportation, training, and quality of life issues in the context of the St Athan proposals.' Who are these representatives of WAG and who is paying them?
These working groups were established during the early part of 2006 specifically to help with the preparation of the St Athan Development Brief and to support the case for St Athan as the location of choice for the MoD DTR programme. These working groups no longer exist.
Representatives of the Assembly Government who attended these working group meetings were either permanent senior officials from the relevant departments such as the Head of Transport or relevant officials from partner public agencies such as the WDA Project Director, WDA Head of Planning, WDA Project Manager, WDA Senior Roads Engineer, ELWA Head of Skills Development. These officials were paid by their respective employers, the Assembly Government, WDA or ELWA.
Some of these working groups included external professional advisers retained and paid by the Assembly Government to advise on master planning as outlined in Appendix 1.

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