defence-academy-bbcThose of you who have been following me for some time will know I have a particular interest in Defence issues.  One of the campaigns I have been involved in is about proving that the move (and privatisation) of Defence Training to a new Academy in Wales is not the best option for serving our troops nor the defence of our nation nor even the most cost effective option.

In  January 2007, RAF Cosford learned that their bid for the Defence Training Review contract had failed.  Following that announcement there have been many delays and setbacks, causing the proposed move to St Athan to go over-budget and behind schedule.  No surprises there then!

You can follow some of the twists and turns of the campaign here.

Over the weekend it was reported that although planning permission for building the new academy had been granted by Vale of Glamorgan council in September 2009, the decision to go ahead has been delayed until July this year.  After the general election…

From Wales Online:

David Cameron attacks Government over St Athan plans Jan 09 2010

CONSERVATIVE leader David Cameron yesterday attacked the Government for not making a clear decision about the future of the proposed £13bn Defence Training College in St Athan ahead of this year’s general election.

He did not pledge to support the landmark project – predicted to create more than 5,000 jobs – but condemned Labour’s stance as “disingenuous”.

On Thursday, the MoD confirmed the final sign-off would not take place until after the election, meaning the decision may fall to an incoming Conservative government.

Armed Forces Minister Bill Rammell said: “Plans have advanced considerably, but the work has exceeded the assumptions made in 2008 and hence the change to when the investment decision will be taken…the project is on track for an investment decision in the summer.”

Mr Cameron said: “We recognise the importance of this project and totally see the logic of bringing together these services. I think the Government is being disingenuous with their announcement.

“They are still the Government and they have had plenty of time to make a decision about this. After all, the Vale of Glamorgan council granted planning permission for the scheme last September.

“We will have a proper strategic defence review if we win the election.”

This drew a fiery response from Labour Rhondda MP Chris Bryant.

What Chris Bryant said

He said: “He’s the man who’s been refusing to sign on the dotted line. He’s the person committed to swingeing cuts.

“He’s the person who’s been saying that in this present year we should be making cuts.”

Mr Bryant was adamant the proposed training centre, which was suggested as a possible target for cuts by Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Vince Cable last year, would save money.

He said: “It wouldn’t save any money not to do it, which is why I think Vince Cable was so daft when he said what he said and why I think Cameron and the Tories have not understood the situation.”

From BBC News:

A final decision on a proposed £12bn defence academy will not be made until the summer, the UK government says.

The Defence Technical College (DTC) is set to create more than 2,000 jobs at St Athan, by providing specialist training for all the armed services.

Armed forces minister Bill Rammell said extra work on the deal meant a delay to plans to make a decision in the spring.

Vale of Glamorgan MP John Smith said there could be “no doubt whatsoever” at UK ministers’ commitment to the scheme.

Planning permission for the DTC was granted by Vale of Glamorgan council in September last year, although the final say on the go-ahead rests with the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Construction was due to begin late this year, with the college billed to provide specialist engineering, communications and information systems training to all the UK’s armed forces, bringing them together in one location on new premises.

4 Comments CherryPie on Jan 13th 2010

4 Responses to “Decision Delayed on St Athan Defence Training Centre”

  1. jameshigham says:

    He did not pledge to support the landmark project – predicted to create more than 5,000 jobs – but condemned Labour’s stance as “disingenuous”.

    Says it all – making himself look good and Brown look bad but not actually doing anything – a Blair clone.

    • CherryPie says:

      It does James. I have been disillusioned for a long time with the shallow political play just to gain power at the expense of everything else.

  2. Phidelm says:

    So obviously a bad move, privatisation simply doesn’t make sense in this sphere. If implemented, the whole exercise would degenerate into the usual mess resulting from imposing business models derived from sales/marketing operations on the public sector.

    • CherryPie says:

      You are quite right Phidelm, what sane person would put the defence of our nation in the safe hands of a private industry that might be sold off to the enemy?

      And yes those business models that just wouldn’t work for this situation.