House of Commons debates Monday, 20 April 2009
Defence Procurement 9:22 pm
I am very sorry that John Smith is not here, because we have to cover the defence training review. It is one of the biggest items of defence procurement before us, but it is limping towards main gate. Before covering that, however, perhaps we should pause to draw a discreet veil over project Red Dragon and the so-called super hangar. As the National Audit Office reported last month, this spectacular has tipped £134 million down the drain with very little to show for it.
In relation to the DTR, Land Securities Trillium walked away from the Metrix consortium in December, when the bottom dropped out of the property market on which the financial case for the St. Athan project depends. I find that deeply worrying and I am not reassured by the replacement partner, the French catering firm Sodexo. The MOD's website says that contracts will be signed with the newly constituted Metrix for the DTR phase 1 in the summer. Is that the case?
Will the Minister let us in on the DTR contingency plan that the MOD commissioned last year for use in the event of Metrix disintegrating? Will he ditch the fig leaf of "commercial in confidence" and say what cuts to training deliverables we can expect as a result of rising project costs? Can we assume that the DTR second package is now dead in the water? What does the Minister say to the main trade union involved, which has pointed out that large numbers of civilian trainers, who are already in short supply, will not relocate to south Wales and that that will impact on the quality of training produced at St. Athan, at least in the short to medium term?...
So where was John Smith drummer boy for metrix and the silent Adam Price?