30/10/2008

mercenaries more expensive

Auditors: Private security in Iraq cost over $6B 30 Oct 2008 It appears a good chunk of the money being spent to 'rebuild' Iraq went to private security mercenary companies protecting the people doing the rebuilding. The exact cost still isn't known, but auditors think the U.S. has paid private security companies well over $6 billion to guard diplomats, troops, Iraqi officials and reconstruction workers in Iraq. The inspector general also says there's probably more contractors that haven't been counted yet, and so the $6 billion is almost certainly not the full price.

DTR funding tied to eco-town plans

story at http://www.defencemanagement.com/

DTR funding tied to eco-town plans
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The government is in line to make hundreds of millions of pounds from the sale of excess MoD land as part of its eco-town plans despite the property market bottoming out it has been revealed.

The troubled Defence Training Review (DTR) is to be largely funded through the sale of excess MoD land as certain estates close down in order to move facilities to the new training site in St Athan, Wales. Recent news reports and revelations by armed forces minister Bob Ainsworth indicate that the sale of excess land will continue to be a key part of the funding strategy for the DTR.

Many of these soon to be vacant MoD estates will be part of the government’s plan for eco-towns. The Treasury stands to make at least £275m from the sales of 15 vacant land parcels, nearly half of which will come from the MoD. Some of these including a site at Borden are targeted for closure as part of the DTR.

Ainsworth told MPs that due to the property market crisis, valuation of the site at Borden was "prudent." While it is unclear how much the government and the Metrix consortium will make off the sale, other sites including the Royal Engineers depot at Long Marston have already been valued. Sources indicate that the Treasury could collect £84m from the sale of the depot by itself to eco-town developers.

Critics of the programme have argued that the DTR is being moved ahead despite widespread concerns over its viability and affordability in order to fund eco-towns and give profits to the Treasury and MoD.

Meanwhile the DTR programme, which is already £1bn over budget and has been forced to develop a new business plan, will not come under investigation from the National Audit Office or Comptroller, yet. Since the final financing agreement has not yet been formulated, the DTR has yet to enter the MoD accounts. Therefore the NAO cannot investigate the programme’s affordability and financing according to Ainsworth.

28/10/2008

What has Privatising military training got do with eco towns?

The financing of the DTR (defence training review) site has been rocked by the shaky economy. The Metrix led consortium had planned to fund the project through the sale of surplus MoD land but with the housing market hitting rock bottom, predicted revenues are now substantially less than first believed. Rising inflation has led to a ballooning of costs to £12bn. (1)

There was an article in the telegraph in June Government in line to make millions from selling Ministry of Defence land for eco-towns By Vikki Miller and Patrick Hennessy, Political Editor 29/06/2008 “The truth behind Gordon Brown's flagship eco-town policy can be disclosed, with the Government set to raise millions from the schemes while watering down their green credentials. The Sunday Telegraph can report that the Treasury stands to make about £275million through land sales, because six out of the 15 shortlisted sites are on property either sold or earmarked for sale by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Critics claim the Government is forcing the unpopular eco-towns on the public to make more money from the land and say the process by which the final locations are to be selected is flawed, because ministers will have a vested interest in choosing the MoD sites.”


A similar story appeared in the Independent on the same day. Eco-towns could net Treasury £275m By Sadie Gray Sunday, 29 June 2008 (2) "Government plans for new eco-towns could make £275m fo the Treasury in land sales, as almost half the shortlisted sites are on MoD land marked for disposal. Five eco-towns are to be built by 2016 and a further five by 2020. Of 15 potential sites, six are on MoD land that is either for sale or has already been sold. Critics claim that ministers charged with deciding on the locations will have a vested interest in picking the MoD sites, according to The Sunday Telegraph.


In the case of the former Royal Engineers depot at Long Marston, the Government stands to make up to £84m from a clawback agreement giving it 50 per cent of the land's increased value if chosen for an eco-town. MoD clawback clauses typically demand between 30 and 50 per cent. A spokesman for the Communities and Local Government Department said: "If surplus public-sector land is available in the right area, then it is right to consider development on such brownfield sites in preference to the green belt."


SOUTH EAST ENGLAND DEVELOPMENT AGENCY BOARD MEETING ON 19th JUNE 2008 ITEM 8 Eco Town Proposals in the South East

SOUTH EAST ENGLAND DEVELOPMENT AGENCY tells us that the Green Town Vision proposals to expand the town onto the MoD site (which predate the eco town initiative), have been developed over a number of years ...(3)


....Whitehill / Bordon is a garrison town where the Ministry of Defence presence makes a large contribution to supporting the local economy and social fabric. The MoD have announced their departure as part of the Defence Training Review (estimated date 2012-2015, possibly phased). The town will be hugely sensitive to the withdrawal, which will exacerbate issues of economic activity rates, unemployment, housing mix and quality and social cohesion.

The Green Town Vision proposals to expand the town onto the MoD site (which predate the eco town initiative), have been developed over a number of years with full public consultation, and have strong community support. Up to 5500 homes and between 2800-5600 jobs are proposed.

Handy idea to use a bit of greenwash to try and sell some land that isn’t moving

But the government insist the eco towns and the proposed privatisation of military training will go ahead as planned. They didn’t factor in the credit crunch. Both projects are now almost certainly doomed.



(1) http://www.antimetrix.org/2008/09/leaked-mod-memo-bad-news-for-st-athan.html
(2) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ecotowns-could-net-treasury-163275m-856667.html

(3) www.seeda.co.uk/About_SEEDA/Board_members/board_meetings/papers/June2008/Item8-EcoTownsBoardReport.doc


DCLG denies weekend eco-town reports
Regen.net (subscription), UK -
... that officials at the DCLG have concluded only 'one or two' of the 15 shortlisted projects are genuinely viable. It said the Eco-Towns Challenge. ...
CLG claims eco-towns are on track Inside Housing
Government vows to push on with eco-towns despite credit crunch Birmingham Post
Collapse of eco-towns plan denied Local Government Chronicle
Public Servant Online

...............................................

St Modwen and co-developers the Bird Group have already announced their intention to make Middle Quinton one of the most sustainable communities in the country, if they get Government approval to turn the 600-acre former MOD depot into an eco-town.

.................................
The majority of residents in the small village of Long Marston are thought to be against building an eco-town on disused MoD land nearby.

Government paid charity to produce eco-town 'fact' leaflets

07/09/2008 00:32AM BST | By Vikki Miller | News | Relevance: 92.69%

Government paid charity to produce eco-town 'fact' leaflets. Gordon Brown's eco-towns scheme was embroiled in new controversy last night as a housing charity admitted it had been paid to produce information leaflets setting out the Government's case.. ..

Armed Forces: Training

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the impact on Defence Training Review project financing of levels of demand from residential developers for his Department’s land at (a) Aborfield and (b) Borden. [217395]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Defence Training Review (DTR) Package 1 Project plans to improve and rationalise phase 2 and phase 3 technical training. As a consequence of this rationalisation both Bordon and Arborfield Garrisons will be released for sale from 2012 onwards.

MOD has sought recent independent valuation advice for both sites as part of financial appraisals for DTR which uses prudent levels of values in its assessments.

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contingency plans have been agreed by his Department for managing affordability gaps identified in the Defence Training Review. [217725]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Department continues to work constructively with the Metrix consortium on a range of issues on DTR Package 1 to achieve an affordable, value for money, acceptable and deliverable project. Cost growth and the implications of the credit crunch on borrowing have been a significant factor. The Department has been working jointly with Metrix to drive the price down to seek to eliminate the affordability gap without materially affecting the scope of the project.

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to discuss with the Comptroller and Auditor General the treatment of the financing of the Defence Training Review programme in his Department's accounts. [217726]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Ministry of Defence has not yet entered into a contract for the delivery of Defence Training with the Metrix consortium. The treatment of the financing of the Defence Training Review (DTR) programme does not therefore appear in the Department's accounts and consequently there are no plans to discuss DTR with the Comptroller and Auditor General. One
14 July 2008 : Column 164W

minor entry for a contingent liability of £9.5 million will, however, be included in this financial year's account. This undertaking was laid as a departmental minute before the House for 14 working days on 29 January this year.


Defence Training Review Executive Board

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the minutes of the last meeting of the Defence Training Review Executive Board. [217394]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I am withholding the information requested as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interest.




24/10/2008

Tony Ben "Privatising training for the Armed Forces morally abominable"

TONY BENN GIVES HIS SUPPORT TO PCS CAMPAIGNS

On Thursday 23rd October 2008 Tony Benn, who was an MP for 51years and still a much venerated figure of the Labour Party, spoke at a public meeting in the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton. Branch members from DCAE Cosford took the opportunity to meet with Tony to gain his support for their on –going campaigns against the DTR privatisation and pay dispute.

On DTR, Tony Benn said “The thought of privatising the training for the Armed forces was morally abominable” and he made reference to the disgraceful mercenary company Blackwater in the USA.

23/10/2008

Rhodri get your facts right!

This is a PCS draft letter for their staff to send our Rhodri!
PCS Shropshire Area Following the confusing information that was included in the latest DTR IPT newsletter a letter has been sent to Assembly Minister (AM) Rhodri Morgan. It addresses certain issues on which the AM seems to be misinformed. If members have additional concerns they could write letters of their own seeking answers to their concerns regarding the Defence Training Review (DTR):

DTR MOVE TO WALES

Dear Mr Morgan

I am writing to you reference your misinformed article which was included inthe latest DTR IPT newsletter. After reading your article I thought I should respond since I believe that, as a Civil Servant who is going to be privatised and asked to move to Wales, I presume I am one of your target audience.

I am surprised that you make reference to DARA since as you are well aware hundreds of jobs were lost when work was moved to Front Line units leaving the Red Dragon Hangar as a White Elephant and the need for you to find an alternative use for it. You also mention superb links to the M4 ?

I am afraid last time I drove to St Athan I can assure you no such link exists. Perhaps the fact that a £130 million of public money is required to build these links has slipped your mind ? I am also aware that John Smith MP would also like to see additional taxpayers funds spent on a railway station.

You also referred to the Halifax Building Society Survey saying the Vale of Glamorgan was voted one of the top ten places to live in Britain. Again, as you must be aware this is factually incorrect. Two areas in South Wales appeared in the 20 worst places to live in Britain ! Vale of Glamorgan was included in top 10 places to live in Wales, so please get you facts correct prior to making such statements.

You can find full details of the survey at: http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/buying_and_selling/article2676578.ece

In your newsletter you refer to instances of Government Departments relocating to Wales with great success. Maybe it has slipped your mind that those Civil Servants moving with Civil Service packages remained as Civil Servants. In the DTR programme Civil Servants will have been TUPE'D to the Private Sector some 4 years before any moves to place. New Metrix employees will not have "Civil Service support packages" that you refer to. You also seem to think that staff will be moving from London to the DTA. The majority of staff being asked to move will be from Cosford, Blandford, Bordon and the Portsmouth areas and already relate to the "high quality of life" in their present locations.

Finally the DTA may, if it ever happens have the finest buildings and training facilities available. Sadly without the instructors or training support staff it could be another White Elephant. Could I suggest that if you want staff to move to Wales that in future your research Department does a better job before you put out any further Newsletters.

R MORGAN doesn't understand

PCS challenge Defence Training Review news

The online journal Defence Management report that PCS have challenged a statement in the latest Defence Training Review (DTR) newsletter:

In a statement responding to the DTR’s latest newsletter, PCS officials criticised the integrated project team (IPT) for what they deemed as “wishful thinking.”

Armed forces minister Bob Ainsworth recently admitted that the alternatives to privatised training were just as expensive and the current financial plan for the DTR has been hurt by the economic crisis.

“The DTR IPT is seeking to become a master of spin,” PCS said in a statement. “The question of the fall back position being more expensive than the privatisation starts to look like a rather sorry attempt to save the privatisation at a time of major financial pressure on MOD budgets.

The full article can be viewed here.

21/10/2008

Rhodri doesn't understand the reality of the DTA!!!


A MoD bulletin has recently been issued to advise PCS members on the latest information regarding the deferred decision on the Defence Training Review (DTR). The bulletin focuses on an recently published DTR newsletter that was circulated to all staff:
Rhodri Morgan should get his facts right and so should the other AMs blindly following his lead and supporting this crazy doomed project!

Ministry of Defence

20th October 2008 MoD/BB/112/08

To: MoD Branch Secretaries

Cc: Group Executive Committee

Instructional Officer Committee

DTR. Non Announcement on package 1. Further Delays- further Frustration

Introduction

After the recent delays in announcing anything of substance, members in scope of package 1 of DTR were expecting some clarification on their futures. Any such hopes were dashed by Ainsworth’s statement to the House of Commons.

Meetings with senior officers had previously revealed that package 1 “was just about affordable”. Given this was before the credit crunch, before the fall in house prices and before the fall in land prices, PCS had been hopeful that the MoD would gracefully abandon this foolish enterprise.

Ainsworth Announces

During the defence debate the Minister made the following comments:

“As in all areas of defence, we continue to examine how we can improve training. The House is aware of the defence training review programme. The review will transform how we deliver specialist phase 2 and phase 3 technical training on a defence-wide basis, and, once complete, will help us to adjust to changes in demand, to make more efficient and effective use of training personnel, to improve accommodation and to make better and more efficient use of the training estate… Hon. Members will be aware that progress on defence training review package 1 has been more difficult and prolonged than expected. However, I can report that considerable progress has been made in driving down costs and towards achieving an affordable, value-for-money package 1, which is on track for an investment decision next spring, with the contract signature to come approximately 15 months later.”

IPT Team leader meeting with Trade Unions

Geoff Nield met with the trade unions shortly before Ainsworth’s comments in the House. A part of the information imparted was that the fall back position is MORE expensive than proceeding to contract. This is a staggering confession and beggars the question that if the fall back position is more expensive, then how can it be a fall back position at all? This appears to be more smoke and mirrors from Nield’s team and it is something that PCS will be taking up at the next meeting with the IPT.

IPT issues propaganda rag

Some of you may already have seen the latest DTR Package 1 Update. The eight page “newsletter” includes some useful information sandwiched between thinly disguised propaganda.

The newsletter includes a revised timeline for DTR package 1:

  • Main Gate Approval- Spring 2009
  • Financial close- Summer 2010.
  • Vesting day- Autumn 2010
  • Start of construction- Autumn 2010
  • New service commence- 2014-2015.

This in itself appears to be wishful thinking and PCS expects further slippage to the right as time goes on, as is fairly common with projects in the MoD.

Rhodri Morgan tells PCS members not to worry- they'll love moving

The newsletter, incredibly contains a message from Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister for Wales! The piece is nothing more than a thinly disguised attempt to prepare PCS members for the “inevitable” transfer to St Athan. Rhodri tells readers of presumable success stories in bringing work to the Vale of Glamorgan. He has the nerve to include DARA in this.

DARA's “Red Dragon” hanger is available for redevelopment within the footprint of DTR, not because of success but because the End to End review moved much of DARA’s work to RAF forward bases.

The First Minister waxes lyrical about the transport and communication links to St Athan, but forgets to mention the local MP's (John Smith) call for a new railway station and roads to service the Defence Technical Academy. If links are so good then what is Smith talking about?

Rhodri Morgan also talks glowingly of the relocation of Civil Service jobs to South Wales- in particular he mentions Home Office, Department for Transport, Patent Office, Statistics Office, DVLA etc and how “brilliantly” this has worked for thousands of Civil Servants. What's more he assures readers that there are packages to help Civil Servants make the move...the only problem is that staff in scope of DTR package 1 will NOT BE CIVIL SERVANTS. Obviously it’s too much to expect the First Minister and his entourage to understand the reality of the DTA and PCS members’ opposition to it.

It seems to PCS that “Team Wales” has a lot to learn.

Compression, rationalisation and harmonisation = Job losses

The newsletter contains an article by Steve Krosnar-Clarke that talks about CRH- being Compression, Rationalisation and Harmonisation. These methodologies will reduce the length of courses by 25%.

What Krosnar-Clarke does not say is what that means going forward. If you keep the same number of courses but compression them, then the total number of hours training is reduced and the number of trainers required must, by the same token, be reduced. Therefore CRH is the prelude for redundancies- potentially in the region of 25%.

Given that these plans are already being made PCS will be liaising with experts within the union to ascertain whether or not such a programme is in contravention of the recently signed Cabinet Office Protocol on privatisation and TUPE transfer.

Risky business

The newsletter also contains an article by Chris Brand on risk. It might be a Freudian slip but calling DTR a risky business has been exactly the PCS position for a substantial period of time.

Worryingly, the article's longest paragraph is one about the risks of crossing a road. The article advises that there are risk mitigation plans that are regularly updated. In fact the biggest risk and the one that forced a reappraisal of methodology in package 2- i.e. teaching staff refusing to relocate has the flimsiest of plans attached to it. It seems to consist of begging Instructional Officers not to leave and in the meantime training would be Instructors in colleges around the Vale of Glamorgan.

PCS will be contacting Chris Brand for a full copy of the latest mitigation plans and will circulate them to branches if possible.

Still everything to play for

The DTR IPT is seeking to become a master of spin. This should surprise no one. But it is crucial that PCS members don't believe the hype and therefore consider defence training privatisation a fait accompli. To do so now will be a grave tactical error and one that the IPT would welcome.

Recent articles on Defence Management website state that Hutton is being told to adopt a “more realistic budget” in the wake of the £2 billion deficit and now the hundreds of billion pounds bail out of the banking system. The question of the fall back position being more expensive than the privatisation starts to look like a rather sorry attempt to save the privatisation at a time of major financial pressure on MOD budgets by positioning itself as “value for money” against keeping training in house. Again the contrast to emerging package 2 solutions is notable.

What can you do to support the PCS campaign?

  • There are various activities that branch secretaries can initiate to keep people involved and active. Members can:
  • Write to Rhodri Morgan and tell him that you don’t want to be relocated or privatised.
  • Write to Bob Ainsworth and call upon him to meet with your union officials as he had previously promised.
  • Ensure you have a delegate to IO conference and prime him or her to ask difficult questions of Major General Tim Inshaw when he comes to address conference.
  • Support PCS in its national action to seek fair pay for hard pressed Civil Servants.
  • Write to the National Audit Office and call for an investigation into the financing of the DTR programme.
  • Pass any interesting stories (that do not breach confidentiality) to the PCS Defence Sector Instructional Officer Committee.

PCS will continue to campaign with you and for you.

GOVERNMENT PROPAGANDA HERE


17/10/2008

Raytheon Press Release makes Rhrodri Morgan expert on Raytheon?

Raytheon Company's positive public image stands in stunning contrast to its criminal record, mistreatment of workers, sale of weapons to dictators, and abuse of corporate power. This profile highlights aspects of Raytheon's corporate profile that are glossed over in the company's own public statements and are invariably forgotten or ignored by major commercial media outlets. See also Corp Watch Raytheon .
Cardiff CAAT received a response from the Assembly govt to a Freedom of
Information request regarding Rhodri Morgan's meetings with Raytheon below.
"The first minister met Peter McKee and Steve Lynch
of Raytheon Systems Ltd on
7th Nov 2001.
A thorough search of our files has not identified any
minutes or notes
of that meeting."

'Rhrodri Morgan has not had any formal meetings with Metrix ..
has met with some
members of the consortium at a range of
events and functions.

Minutes where not taken at these functions.'

Where did Rhrodri get his knowledge of Raytheon?
"Rhrodri has build up his knowledge over many years
of experience and discussion.
Part of this includes the statement below released by

by Metrix UK to the media on 5th Nov 2007."

So our Rhrodri Morgans knowledge of Raytheon comes from
a press release...OK
invite anyone into Wales to teach our children when
you don't know a thing about them!




























16/10/2008

MOD reviewing extensive cuts to St athan military academy

From Defence Management today article which is not MoD biased.

Leaders of DTR defend the programme
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The leaders of the integrated project team (IPT) for the troubled Defence Training Review (DTR) have been forced to instil a vote of confidence in the oft-delayed, over budget and controversial project.

A day after armed forces minister Bob Ainsworth indicated that a final decision on package 1 of the training programme would not be announced until next year due to financial troubles, IPT leader Brigadier Geoff Nield defended the project.

Nield said in a lengthy statement that the MoD was committed "to continuing with the current assessment phase".

He acknowledged that there have been affordability challenges and that this has forced Metrix, the leader of package 1, to re-examine its proposal. Numerous MPs have told Defence Management that the DTR's funding is heavily reliant on the sales of vacant MoD properties. The current financial crisis has not allowed the MoD to do this which has delayed a final financial agreement.

The project is believed to already be £1bn over budget and Metrix and the MoD are reviewing extensive cuts to the programme. Ainsworth told parliament that even the alternatives such as moving the DTR to a central location in the West Midlands would be just as expensive if not more costl y.

Although Nield believes that Metrix has come up with a business plan to make package 1 affordable, the MoD's Investment Approval Board will not review the proposal until the spring 2009. A financial close could be delayed until mid-2010.

Ultimately the training programme which was to begin in 2012 at the St Athan site in Wales will now be delayed until 2014 at the earliest.

What is wales and what is it for tells it like it is
Behind the blank statements on St Athan

There was a very upbeat tale in the South Wales Echo yesterday, describing the military training privatisation at St Athan as “‘on track”.......

NOW THE RUBBISH/PROPAGANDA THAT THE PEOPLE OF WALES are getting...


http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2008/10/15/12bn-st-athan-defence-academy-plans-on-track-91466-22033869/

£12bn St Athan defence academy plans ‘on track’

PLANS for the £12bn defence academy at St Athan are “on track”, the Government has confirmed.

There had been fears that the huge project in the Vale of Glamorgan could fall victim to the worldwide economic crisis.

But Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth has confirmed that “considerable progress” has been made on cutting the costs of the project.

The Defence Technical Academy, which was originally called the Defence Training Academy at the former RAF base at St Athan, will be the single biggest investment in Wales.

Since the Metrix consortium won the contract in January last year, there have been mounting concerns that it could be at risk because of savings required by the Ministry of Defence.

This led to the smaller of the two development packages for the base being dropped because costs were too high. The main package, however, was left untouched.

The worldwide economic downturn has increased fears about the development.

But in a statement to the House of Commons, Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth sought to calm nerves.

He said: “As in all areas of defence, we continue to look at how we can improve training.

“Members will be aware that progress on package one has been more difficult and prolonged than expected.

“However, I can report that considerable progress has been made in driving down costs and towards achieving affordable, value for money.

“Package one is on track for an investment decision in the spring of next year, with contract signature expected approximately 15 months later.”

The statement has been welcomed by Vale of Glamorgan MP, John Smith, who said: “This is great news for the Welsh economy and the Vale of Glamorgan in particular.

“This statement puts paid to the neg- ative rumours that have been bandied about by doom-and-gloom merchants.

“The minister’s statement confirms what I have always maintained, that St Athan is the only location that will provide technical training for all our armed forces in a high-quality bespoke environment and purpose-built facilities. We have the skilled workforce, the facilities and the project team to make this a great success.”

A Metrix spokesman said: “We are pleased with the progress that has been made so far and look forward to working closely with the MoD to deliver the Package One programme and the Defence Technical Academy in St Athan.”

peter.collins@mediawales.co.uk

15/10/2008

John smith Academy spin!

£12bn St Athan defence academy plans ‘on track’
WalesOnline, United Kingdom - 6 hours ago
PLANS for the £12bn defence academy at St Athan are “on track”, the Government has confirmed. There had been fears that the huge project in the Vale of ...

Sorry John this is so misleading ...

The PCS Union has been a staunch opponent of the DTR’s move to Wales and the privatisation of military training. Officials pointed out that the MoD had now admitted that the cost of package 1 and its alternatives were growing out of control. An unofficial PCS blog made it clear the union would continue to resist the DTR.

"This is another first for the DTR programme in suggesting that the "fallback posistion" is more expensive than the proposed move to St Athan !! No wonder the Department needs to give Metrix another six months grace to rearrange costings to fit. PCS will continue to campaign against this looming financial disaster," PCS Shropshire said.
PCS Branch Manager H O’Harney said that the non-announcement was not a surprise, considering that RAF Cosford staff had already waited six months: "A £12 billion PFI carrying on in this current financial crisis seems ridiculous given the risks and affordability issues. Our members at Cosford have made it clear that they have no intention to move Wales and the risk to the training of the Armed Forces is still real. It would appear that the MoD want to privatise at all cost despite the huge risks.

14/10/2008

Leanne Wood has mental block

This issue of Red Pepper Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly member Leanne Wood asks
Are the English up for it? Leanne says "we have worked to to develop a progressive Welsh nationalists. Our desire for social justice and equality forms an intrinsic part of our demand for further devolution. And by electing progressive civic nationalists people in wales have shown that the British union is not working for them. ...
In Wales, the Plaid/Labour coalition government has firmly rejected privatisation in the NHS or the organisation of such services on market models. The 'One Wales' programme of government states ' We will guarantee public ownership, public funding of this vital public service'. In both scotland and Wales foundation hospitals, school league tables, beacon councils, selective schools and elite academies have all been rejected.

LEANNE GOES ON.."Plaid Cymru and the SNP are introducing social policies that are clearly to the left of New Labour. Both parties are opposed to the war in Iraq and afghanistan, the removal of civil liberties in the name of security (including the introduction of ID cards) and Trident.....

But what we are seeing is the beginnings of an alternative politics. our civic nationalism is anti-imperialist, anti racist and pro-social justice. ....
All too often, nationalism in wales and Scotland has been dismissed by nay on the left as narrow minded, inward looking an exclusive. Those of us who have worked in the anti-war movement and anti-fascist movements find it frustrating to be viewed in this way.......
There is a great deal of potential to develop a much needed new anti-imperalist, left wing culture in England. Yet there is a very real danger that the far right will fill the vacuum as long as the left maintains its mental block...."

Sorry Leanne - you stand accused of 'metal block' and BEING pro-imperalist when you support with New Labour the biggest, craziest PFI ever - to privatise military training and propose to let the biggest imperialist arms companies - that are the war machine - like Raytheon, Serco and Qinetiq and also incompetents EDS run this ACADEMY!!! Even tory MP Pritchard has called the privatisation of military training " a privatisation gone too far."! John Pilger slates the idea "a British "School of the Americas" is to be built in wales! Any dodgy regime, mercenaries could be trained in Wales!
Private eye has exposed the lack of funding, also the MODs own concerns about inferior training,.

Plaid members are largely against it!! Nic Hodges opposes it and your own president!

Leanne Wood has expressed some concerns about the academy ...but fails to give the right reasons...no mention of becoming a cog in the war machine..she says
"The military academy is clearly a non-devolved issue. However, in the Senedd yesterday I asked the Leader of the House, Carywn Jones AM, to allow us a thorough debate on the issue. The reason I am pursuing this is because if the St. Athan project falls apart, we need assurances that the fallout will not affect Wales' budget or the work of the Assembly. We also need confirmation that the development of the academy will not divert construction resources away from the Welsh Quality Housing Standard, because upgrading housing is the real priority for Wales and is something Plaid Minister Jocelyn Davies is purposefully working for."

Lets hope you get a debate on it...at least...Supporting the war machine and landing wales with a huge global military precence will end the hope of Welsh independance as well
as your new anti-imperalist, left wing culture. It takes courage to stand up and speak out against the academy.

The question is are you up for it?

Wales must not be a cog in the war machine - Daily Post North Wales

“We must not allow Wales to become a major cog in the military machine, and there are very fundamental questions that must be asked about the military ...
www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/2008/.../wales-must-not-be-a-cog-in-the-war-machine-55578-2168526... - 45k -

Wales MEP Jill Evans, who is chair of CND Cymru, said that the commemoration on Monday would also serve as a protest against the St Athan project.

“Wales is recognised for its traditions of peace and reconciliation. Instead the British Government would make us the centre of training for war, putting that training in the hands of multinational arms companies and, at the same time, some politicians continue to make vastly exaggerated claims about the number of jobs they say will be created.”

Mr Iwan, ..said: “When one considers the immense destruction caused by wars and terrorism of all kinds in our world today, it is more evident than ever that we must pursue a more civilised way of settling the world’s problems.

“We must not allow Wales to become a major cog in the military machine, and there are very fundamental questions that must be asked about the military academy at St Athan.”

Pritchard has called the privatisation of military training " a privatisation gone too far."

latest article from http://www.defencemanagement.com/news_story.asp?id=7335

No DTR announcement, delays inevitable
13 October 2008
The MoD has been accused of further delaying an announcement on the Defence Training Review (DTR) after armed forces minister Bob Ainsworth avoided confirmation of the move of package 1 to St Athan, Wales.

Last month Defence Management saw a leaked MoD memo confirming that despite resistance by staff to the move to rural Wales, cost overruns and fears over privatising defence training, the MoD was pushing ahead with the first part of the training- known as package 1. Ainsworth was scheduled to make an announcement last week, but avoided doing so when he came under intense questioning from one of the chief opponents of the move.

MP Mark Prithchard questioned the rising costs of the programme which have ballooned by £1bn in less than a year to £12bn. Ainsworth defended the programme, but admitted that even the cost of the alternatives was now escalating.

"We still have an affordable package that is far cheaper than the alternatives, and that has been worked on over the summer. We will be able to go ahead with defence package 1 and get value for money out of those proposals," Ainsworth said.

Later though he admitted that no financial agreement would be in place until next spring, a delay of a year since the package 1 was awarded to Metrix and by six months from the most recent target date for an announcement on the progression of package 1.
The PCS Union has been a staunch opponent of the DTR’s move to Wales and the privatisation of military training. Officials pointed out that the MoD had now admitted that the cost of package 1 and its alternatives were growing out of control. An unofficial PCS blog made it clear the union would continue to resist the DTR.

"This is another first for the DTR programme in suggesting that the "fallback posistion" is more expensive than the proposed move to St Athan !! No wonder the Department needs to give Metrix another six months grace to rearrange costings to fit. PCS will continue to campaign against this looming financial disaster," PCS Shropshire said.
PCS Branch Manager H O’Harney said that the non-announcement was not a surprise, considering that RAF Cosford staff had already waited six months: "A £12 billion PFI carrying on in this current financial crisis seems ridiculous given the risks and affordability issues. Our members at Cosford have made it clear that they have no intention to move Wales and the risk to the training of the Armed Forces is still real. It would appear that the MoD want to privatise at all cost despite the huge risks."

The crumbling economy and the downturn in the property market have taken their toll on the DTR. The Metrix consortium originally planned to fund the new training centre in Wales through the sales of excess MoD estates that would be freed up when staff moved to St Athan. But the downturn in the property market threw off the entire business plan and financial support for the programme, forcing Metrix officials to examine another way to fund the programme.

To add to the programme’s woes, civilian trainers from RAF Cosford, the base which lost out to St Athans for the training contract, have been resistant to moving from the suburban West Midlands to rural Wales. There have also been concerns over the preservation of the military ethos since the training will be privatised instead of being run by MoD staff and military personnel.

Pritchard has called the privatisation of military training " a privatisation gone too far."

13/10/2008

PFI dying

Ministers insist £12 billion defence training PFI not dead
Public Private Finance - London,UK
The cost of the Defence Training Review has risen from £11 billion to £12 billion, and the deal has been hit by rising construction inflation and problems ...

wishful thinking!

EDS one of the metrix consortium messes up big time AGAIN!!!

Our interview with MoD over EDS missing hard drive
ComputerWeekly.com - UK
A Ministry of Defence official says it is investigating with its contractor EDS whether a 1TB portable hard drive, which went missing from EDS's secure ...

School for mercenaries on hold

From the latest MOD propaganda! Which includes these words of wisdom!

MESSAGE FROM RIGHT HONOURABLE RHODRI MORGAN AM, FIRST MINISTER OF THE WELSH ASSEMBLY GOVERNMENT

I am pleased to contribute to this newsletter on the Defence Training Review Project. Everyone in Wales is looking forward to the DefenceTechnical Academy (DTA).

Likewise I am looking forward to working with Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson and Major General Tim Inshaw on its delivery. I met both of them recently to underline the Welsh Assembly Governments commitment to assisting the MOD realise its plans for the new tri-service Defence Training and school for mercenaries campus at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan

New Service Commencement Date 2014 - 2015

we can't afford it!
A NOTE FROM BRIGADIER GEOFF NIELD, DTR PACKAGE 1 IPT LEADER
As ma
ny of you are already aware a phase of work has been underway to address affordability challenges within Project 1 and update various aspects of the Metrix proposals. This process has unfortunately been more difficult and prolonged than we expected, with certain aspects of Metrix’s proposals requiring more detailed work. This additional unplanned work prevented the Project from proceeding to the main investment decision within the desired timeframe. A contributory factor has been the impact of the current financial situation which has added some complexity to the negotiations between MOD and Metrix.

Over the last six months we have been working constructively with Metrix to overcome these difficulties to try and achieve an affordable, value for money, acceptable and deliverable project.
This has involved both parties working hard to drive down costs without materially affecting the scope of the Project and get the best deal possible for the taxpayer. I am pleased to tell you that the
hard work has paid off and considerable progress has been made. Following a detailed review of the Project and negotiations with Metrix, it is now judged that the Package 1 Project can be made affordable.
The outcome of this work is the Department’s commitment to continuing with the current
Assessment Phase. A Final Clarification and Confirm (‘FC&C’) exercise is now underway, after which Metrix’s revised proposals will be evaluated. Subject to a successful evaluation outcome, and confirmation of affordability, the Project will then proceed to the formal approval point of the MOD’s Investment Approvals Board.

This is anticipated to take place in the spring of next year after which an
announcement will be made. It is anticipated that Financial Close will follow approximately 15 months later.
I appreciate that these last few months may have been an unsettling time for many affected by the Project. Although a Project of this size and complexity is always subject to change, I now believe that the work of the last year has led to some stability in the Project going forward. This newsletter now seeks to clarify the situation and outline anticipated dates to assist with personal planning. I will of course seek to update you as the Project develops.
Finally, I would like to warmly thank the Right Honourable Rhodri Morgan (First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government) and others for their contribution to this newsletter. We aim to have more of these wide-ranging articles in future editions.