Bell Pottinger ghosted article

St Athan defence college would be good for Wales propaganda 

DEFENCE Secretary Liam Fox is no doubt embroiled in “interesting discussions” with colleagues at the Treasury over whether the coalition Government will commit to a new single-location training facility for the Armed Forces in the Vale of Glamorgan.Read
I would point out this is not "breaking news" but an opinion piece ghosted by a journalist and originating from the PR company Bell Pottinger on behalf of Metrix.  It was placed in "business" columns to answer a properly reported piece in the news columns of the same paper a week ago.
It uses this cover to attack Plaid Cymru and their elected MEP and Assembly Members.
We expect the PR company is mis-using Wales on line Website to get the case for their Client through without attribution.  This strategy was disclosed by Private Eye 4 August issue.
Massive PR campaign to save Defence Training College (DTC)
Documents leaked to Private Eye disclose a “massive PR campaign” using PR company Bell Pottinger “appealing to the baser instincts of influential parliamentarians”.   [Private Eye, 4th August:  Defence PFI “In a Spin”]

This started with “congratulation letters”, drafted by Bell Pottinger to the re-elected MPs, followed by “message development” setting out that “there would be a series of good news events eg openings year by year  to 2015 if DTC goes ahead… (But) there would, be contrast, be a considerable backlash in Wales if it did not”.  Supportive Lib Dems in Wales were targeted as “a route through to David Laws and Nick Harvey”.

Nick Harvey is Lib-Dem armed forces Minister and David Laws, replaced by Danny Alexander, is Lib-Dem Treasury Minister.

A subtle media campaign was also on the cards, say Private Eye: “Background meetings only – no on the record sources… with a selection of senior commentators/financial specialists”.

Recently MP Chris Bryant took £2,500 from Bell Pottinger...

Worry at massive St Athan cost rise‎
WalesOnline - James McCarthy - 20 Aug 2010
QUESTIONS have again been raised over the future of St Athan's defence training college after it emerged costs have rocketed by £3bn in two and a half years ...


Metrix Mouthpiece

Metrix mouthpiece = article fronted by Sion Barry in the Western Mail of 27 August St Athan defence college would be good for Wales – and UK taxpayers Aug 27 2010 by Sion Barry,

 Numbers of Trainees.....Metrix has been briefing MPs on 20,000 trainees per year, as the trainee places have shrunk from 6000 to 2700.  Thus courses shortened to 5 or 6 weeks average.  The Western Mail equates 20,000 short-term stayers to a town like Risca, but a large Butlins holiday camp is a better analogy.  Like at Butlins most of the food and other supplies come from far away, and most of the leisure activities are on-site, while employment for locals is in cleaning, security and maintenance.

 Value for Money

Metrix mouthpiece says “inflation has pushed the cost of the project slightly northwards” instead of 30% upwards, to still claim £500M saving over the alternative.  There is no updated financial assessment – the Minister gave £400M more to use the Cosford, Blandford and Gosport sites, with upgraded facilities (2008 Private Eye). Now, with reduced numbers, only two sites would be needed and their cost has inflated perhaps by 10%, so could be £1500-2000M cheaper. The saving through some “1000 military personnel being released back to active duties” comes under any integrated training option (the MoD says 1200 saving).


What alternative ?

Metrix mouthpiece says “the upkeep of its aging existing facilities across nine sites”, but the specialist ‘Package 2’ training is remaining within MoD, while the ‘Package 1’ affects 9 sites and allows 2 to be vacated.  Depending on the forces reductions in the Defence Review, Package 1 training would be accommodated on one or both of Cosford or Blandford, plus Gosport Navy training that is to be retained till 2020 or longer in all options.


What prospects for WAG’s Aerospace Business Park ?

Metrix mouthpiece says it is hoped “to leverage significant investment from its close proximity to the college – a gross value added of more than £500m annually would be generated”.  This is repetition of the WDA’s failed speculations.  They used to claim “synergy” with DARA, then “complementary” to the Training College , and here only ‘proximity’.  

… aerospace in recession;   no longer in favour with WAG’s low carbon transition.


worry at massive price rise

Worry at massive St Athan cost rise‎
WalesOnline - James McCarthy - 20 Aug 2010
QUESTIONS have again been raised over the future of St Athan's defence training college after it emerged costs have rocketed by £3bn in two and a half years ...


Question over St Athan plan as costs rise £3bn

Question over St Athan plan as costs rise £3bn Article by James McCarthy Western Mail today It doesn't say that Chris Bryant MP continues to lobby for the Metrix PFI having been paid £2,500 so far by Bell Pottinger their PR firm. And he gets a free dinner - Chris is hosting a dinner for Metrix at his party conference!


Huge Metrix Bell Pottinger PR machine

Private Eye has an article today highlighting how much of a fan of the £14bn Metrix project is Chris Bryant labour MP! This new college is now to have many fewer trainees than first expected down to 2,500 and just a few hundred jobs not the 5,000 he continues to claim!! And now we know why as he had a nice cheque for £2,500 from Bell Pottinger lobby group for Metrix  (Raytheon, Serco, Quinetiq, Sodexo/Kalyx) "However money in the shape of the imminent strategicc defence and security review rather than common sense is the biggest threat to the contract prompting Metrix to launch a public relations campaign of military proportions  through PR advisor Bell Pottinger." from private eye 20 Aug - 2 Sept!

We have also heard that a new all party parliamentary group pro Metrix has been sponsored by Chris Bryant of course and Tory MP Alun Cairns!

And then theres the Party conferences happy to take funding and a free dinner from anyone it seems. Metrix are busy organising invites to conference dinners! Kirsty Williams Lib Dem leader seems happy to host a dinner on Metrix behalf. Jenny Willott Lib Dem MP Cardiff Central is one of the first to be invited to the Metrix conference dinner on the 19th July at the lib dem conference in Liverpool. Others on the invite list are Nick Harvey MP, Danny Alexander MP and his special adviser Julia Goldsworthy who as a fromer MP spent over a grand on a rocking chair! 
No money spared from the pro metrix lobby! Where are the democrats?

We are not surprised Chris Bryant Lab MP will be hosting a METRIX dinner at the Labour conference in Manchester or that Alun Cairns MP will be hosting a METRIX dinner at the Tory conference!   

This whole project should be rejected given the huge cost and the fact it is a PFI with no flexibility plus outdated planning for a massive college which isn't needed now the number of trainees is greatly reduced and could be catered for elsewhere in existing military bases such as Cosford. And there is the risk to our forces whose training will suffer at the hands of Metrix members Raytheon and Serco who have just been booted off a huge immigration contract because they were unfit for the job!


New St Athan Defence Training College Planning Applcation

big planning application gone in 26th July to the Vale of Glamorgan Council on the
details for the DTC from Metrix (includes Raytheon) and Sodexo whose subsidiary Kalyx runs Harmondsworth
Seems they plan to rush it through in the office (delegated
powers) but Cllrs can call it to planning cttee (in Sept.).
Application number : 2010/00707/RES
Defence Technical College : Zone 6 Picketston South, MOD St Athan Metrix UK Ltd. and Sodexo Ltd.
Metrix UK Ltd. and Sodexo Ltd Details here

VoG officer to contact Mr. S. J. Ball 01446 704602 email SJBall@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk
Attachment Name Created Date Who are they planning to consult?...No Consultations found for this Application just a mention of neighbours on Picketston Close...!! This is a huge mistake given that it is an extravance the country can't afford and can not be justified1 See article from Eye below! 

PR loads of taxpayers money bonanza see table!
Metrix and sodexo give there address as 10, Great George Street, 2nd Floor, London. W1P 3AE
Application Form, Supporting Letter and List of Documents 27/07/2010

Planning Statement (incl. detailed explanation of submissions) 27/07/2010

Plan illustrating Reserved Matters Zones 27/07/2010

Location and Layout Plans 27/07/2010

Picketston Sport Building - Plans 27/07/2010

General Arrangement Plan 1 (including landscaping) 27/07/2010

General Arrangement Plan 2 (including landscaping) 27/07/2010

General Arrangement Plan 3 (including landscaping) 27/07/2010

General Arrangement Plan 4 (including landscaping) 27/07/2010

General Arrangement Plan 5 (including landscaping) 27/07/2010