28/10/2010

St Athan Expensive runway

How much is the runway at St Athan costing to maintain? It already has cost the Welsh Assembly  £6.5 million.

The dream is over the Barry newspaper tells us...but it was always a misconceived grand new labour project ...we did keep telling you...
time for the welsh assembly to stop flogging the dead donkey/aerospace
dream and learn from the St Athan  disaster and the red dragon disaster
and stop throwing money at doomed projects. Time for the government to look at creating sustainable green jobs. Will someone tell the AMs and the staff at Plas Glyndwr Kingsway Cardiff? See their flashy website here  

20/10/2010

Relief and Joy at St Athan Military College Cancellation

Cynefin y Werin/St Athan Anti-Metrix
press release
19th October 2010
Relief and Joy at St Athan Military College Cancellation

Following today’s Westminster Government Strategic and Defence Review announcement, Campaigners are jubilant that plans for the privatised military training college at St Athan have been scrapped. 
Campaigners had consistently revealed that claims that the military college would bring thousands of jobs to the area were wrong from the start.  The project was in reality job reduction over the three armed services and it is now clear that only a few hundred unskilled jobs could be available for Vale of Glamorgan people. In fact, more job seekers would have come to the Vale than new jobs [1].  Max Wallis from Cynefin y Werin and Barry Friends of the Earth said today:
‘This overblown project is opposed by many local people and has blighted the St. Athan area, as we argued at the public Inquiry [2]. Advance payments from MoD and the Welsh Assembly of many £ millions have been a gravy train for private consultants, instead of funds going to upgrading MoD training facilities.’
Anne Greagsby Cynefin y Werin and Wales Green Party commented:
‘We are jubilant that this shows we might actually halt the militarisation of Wales and the training of military personnel from unsavoury regimes here.’
‘Regarding any further development of aerospace business at St Athan, its viability has to be fully considered by the Welsh Assembly Government. A fraction of the money squandered on this project would have breathed life into many more sustainable green jobs in Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan.’
Max Wallis further added
‘We support the many in the military who wanted to keep all training within MoD, confident this gives better value, flexibility and effectiveness.  As with many PFIs, this one was rigged to favour privatisation over the public sector comparator. Since that, the private sector price has leapt from £11 billion to £14 billion, mainly with financial/banking charges. The Commons Committee Report that over half the £10.5 billion for the FSTA (Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft) PFI will go to profit and banker fees, sets a big question over the cost claims.’

‘We supported the anti-Metrix campaign criticism that the project committed Wales and the UK for 30 years to a consortium in which international weapons suppliers Raytheon and Qinetiq are prominent partners. Such a massive military project on Welsh soil goes against the ethos of sustainable development and international citizenship, which the Welsh Assembly claims to espouse.’

ENDS

Contacts
Bilingual interviews are available:
Stephen V Thomas 02920 666645uk.mc870.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=stephenv.thomas@btinternet.com

stephenv.thomas@btinternet.com

Anne Greagsby 02920 756961 – 07817513610 –
http://uk.mc870.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=annegre@btinternet.com>
annegre@btinternet.com
Notes
The up-to-date St Athan Briefing with myth-busting facts attached or can be
found here
http://www.antimetrix.org/2010/09/st-athan-defence-training-college.html

[1] False claims about jobs for Wales (references given in the Briefing)

At the Welsh Affairs Committee in July 2006, local AM and Welsh Minister,
Jane Hutt spoke of “the creation of 5500 permanent jobs”, while Chris Bryant
upped it to “maybe 6000”. The MoD baseline numbers in DTR1 are 2400
military staff, 1600 civilian staff, 6000 defence trainees (standing
population) plus contractor personnel in catering, security etc.

· At the Public Inquiry (Jan. 2010), Metrix gave 3000 total, of which 700
are military staff and 500 are non-project staff

· The 1800 civilian jobs include 1200 managers, contractor personnel and
trainer staff transferring to Metrix. The jobs available for local job seekers

are in cleaning, maintenance, transport and catering.

· The Inquiry was told military trainee places have reduced from the 6000
to 2700, a figure that could be cut to about 2000 by the Defence Review.

· The 2400 transfers to St Athan will bring in many job-seeking spouses
and family members, estimated as 1200-1900. These job-seekers far outnumber
the few hundred (up-to 600) jobs provided.

[2]The verdict from the Public Inquiry was known at the end of March, but
WAG is sitting on the results. Local people and particularly Llantwit Major
Community Council are highly critical of this (contact Vale Cllr Gwyn John
and community Cllr Bob Gant - see
www.antimetrix.org/2010/09/.....).

18/10/2010

St Athan “gargantuan PFI” is to be reviewed and scaled down

Public Expenditure Review

We are encouraged to see no funds have been allocated for the privatised military training college at St Athan.  It signals that the “gargantuan PFI” is to be reviewed and scaled down, as the BBC revealed [1]
The people of Wales have been mislead about this project from the start when this project was first announced in Jan 2007 with exaggerated promises  of thousands of jobs - it was in reality a job reduction exercise and it is now clear that only a few hundred unskilled jobs could be available for local people.  In fact more job seekers would be coming to Wales than new jobs [below].    
The PR for Metrix – lead partners Sodexo with weapons dealers Raytheon and Qinetiq -  now claim their training would be more effective.  Yet they already lost out on the skilled training (Package 2) retained within the MoD.   Let’s have a fair review, compared with keeping all training within MoD – we are confident this will show better value, flexibility and effectiveness.
As with many PFIs, this one was rigged to favour privatisation over the public sector comparator.  Since that, the private sector price has leapt from £11 billion to £14 billion, mainly with financial/banking charges.  The  Commons Cttee report that over half the £10.5 bn for the FSTA (tanker aircraft) PFI will go to profit and banker fees, sets a big question over the cost claims.
The anti-Metrix campaigner sees the project not just as integration of training for British forces, but committing Wales and the UK for 30 years to a consortium in which international weapons suppliers are prominent partners. Such a massive military project on Welsh soil goes against the ethos of sustainable development and international citizenship, which the Welsh Assembly claims to espouse.
Max Wallis from Cynefin y Werin and Barry Friends of the Earth said “This overblown project is opposed by many local people and has blighted the St Athan area, as we argued at the public Inquiry.  [2] Advance payments from MoD and the Welsh Assembly of many £ millions have been a gravy train for private consultants, instead of funds going to upgrading MoD training facilities.”
Anne Greagsby Cynefin y Werin and Wales Green Party “We are jubilant that this shows we might halt the militarization of Wales and training military from unsavoury regimes here.”
Regarding any further development of aerospace business at St Athan, its viability has to be fully considered by the Welsh assembly government.  A fraction of the money squandered on this project would have breathed life into many more sustainable green jobs in Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan.   
Contact Stephen V Thomas   02920 666645 stephenv.thomas@btinternet.com
Anne Greagsby  02920 756961 – 07817513610 – annegre@btinternet.com
Notes
The up-to-date St Athan Briefing with myth-busting facts attached or can be found here
[1] 22 Sep 2010 ... British Broadcasting Corporation BBC Home. Accessibility links ... will go ahead - but it won't be a gargantuan PFI," said the source. ...www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/.../2010/09/st_athan_the_doubts_grow.
 False claims about jobs for Wales   (references given in the Briefing)
At the Welsh Affairs Committee in July 2006, local AM and Welsh Minister, Jane Hutt spoke of “the creation of 5500 permanent jobs”, while Chris Bryant upped it to “maybe 6000”.  The MoD baseline numbers  in DTR1 are 2400 military staff, 1600 civilian staff, 6000 defence trainees (standing population) plus contractor personnel in catering, security etc.
·   At the Public Inquiry (Jan. 2010), Metrix gave 3000 total, of which 700 are military staff and 500 are non-project staff
·   The 1800 civilian jobs include 1200 managers, contractor personnel and trainer staff transferring to Metrix.  The jobs available for local job seekers are in cleaning, maintenance, transport and catering.
·   The Inquiry was told military trainee places have reduced from the 6000 to 2700, a figure that could be cut to about 2000 by the Defence Review.
·   The 2400 transfers to St Athan will bring in many job-seeking spouses and family members, estimated as 1200-1900.  These job-seekers far outnumber the few hundred (up-to 600) jobs provided.

[2]The verdict from the Public Inquiry was known at the end of March, but WAG is sitting on the results.  Local people and particularly Llanwit Major community Council are highly critical of this (contact Vale Cllr Gwyn John and community Cllr Bob Gant - see www.antimetrix.org/2010/09/.....).

Cynefin y Werin St Athan Anti-Metrix press release 18th Oct 2010

Welsh MPs want crooks Sodexo to run military training

Sodexo is the lead partner in the Metrix consortium


Can Taxpayers Afford Sodexo's Business Practices?
Sodexo's hundreds of millions of dollars of cost overruns in their contract with the US Marine Corps "raises serious questions," according to members of ...

Food service contractor Sodexo's unsavory practices are causing a stir.
This company recently paid a $20 million settlement for overcharging the State of New York. Sodexo's hundreds of millions of dollars of cost overruns in their contract with the U.S. Marine Corps "raises serious questions," according to members of Congress. New Jersey State Representatives have called for an investigation into the company's contracts with public schools.
With millions of tax dollars going to Sodexo, City and County Governments should audit their contracts with the company. We can't afford not to.

Despite the global financial crisis, Sodexo Inc. cleared $1 billion in profits last year, making the food service giant one of the most profitable in the world. But despite that huge profit margin, Sodexo workers earn as little as $8.27/hour, a wage low enough to qualify for food stamps. In response to rock bottom earnings and insufficient beneifts, Sodexo workers across the country have been speaking out and going on strike.
Over the last two weeks, workers have...
Weekly Workers' Round-Up: Sodexo & French Oil Strikes, Unions Get Out Vote ...
In These Times
By Alexandra Markowski Despite the global financial crisis, Sodexo Inc. cleared $1 billion in profits last year, making the food service giant one of the ...

11/10/2010

Assembly keeping mum over St Athan inquiry

Why is Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones keeping quiet about the result of the inquiry that took place in January this year 2010. This was an inquiry held by the Welsh Assembly Government yet they are waiting for the government decision on the St Athan £14bn PFI military training college. Cllr Gant has written to the first minister Carwyn Jones expressing concern about the lack of information about the outcome of the inquiry in Jan this year (2010). Residents are concerned about development outside the wire which we know are unnecessary.
Llantwit council are asking why the secrecy. Cllr John said that the result of the inquiry had been with the welsh assembly since March 26th 2010.
What happened to transparency and openness that the same politicians in the welsh assembly have boasted of in the past?


08/10/2010

Why Cost of St Athan rose to £14bn

RAF St Athan
Defence
Written answers and statements, 4 October 2010

Adrian Sanders (Torbay, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Gosport of 7 July 2010, Official Report, column 254W, on RAF St Athan, for what reason the cost of the new facilities at St Athan rose from £11 billion in February 2008 to £14 billion in July 2010; what effect the increased cost has on the assessment of the facilities' value for money; and if he will identify potential alternatives to the facilities.
Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 4 October 2010, c1317W)Email me when Nick Harvey speaksMost recent apperancesNumerologyFull profile ...

Nick Harvey (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Defence; North Devon, Liberal Democrat)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 6 September 2010, Hansard, columns 158-59W, to Mark Pritchard. Value for Money is tested through a comparison of the costs of the project compared to a public sector comparator; through life mechanisms for ensuring value for money such as benchmarking and market testing and an assessment of the qualitative benefits of the project. The comparisons are kept up to date and incorporate any changes that have occurred.

07/10/2010

Jeff Cuthbert gets no support for St Athan Military college from AMs

Jeff Cuthbert AM
http://www.jeffcuthbert.com/ Last Lone Voice 4 the £14bn unaffordable/unjustified COLLEGE Jeff ..keep up to date ...haven't your friends Bell Pottinger or Chris Bryant not told you...its doomed...but still a  priority for you?

Just jeff cuthbert singing praises of the academy
DadlFer Short Debate ParchueinLluoeddArfog
Respecting our Armed Forces
Jeff Cuthbert New Lab
However, while we always honour the sacrifices of the fallen and fully recognise those made by today’s serving troops, it is important that we also look at the wider role of the armed forces in modern-day society. We need to consider how we in Wales can provide for serving troops and veterans. The army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy all have a presence in Wales at locations scattered throughout the country: Cardiff, Newport, Brecon, Haverfordwest, the Isle of Anglesey, and the site of the proposed defence training academy in the Vale of Glamorgan. I am sure that we all hope that the plans for the academy go ahead in full, despite the inevitable pressures on public finances in the years ahead.
Gush..gush... get me the sick bag....has his constinuency party got a donation from Bell Pottinger? Is he gushing for Raytheon for nothing???
The proposed training academy would provide a rich environment in which those who enter the forces can train not just for their combat careers, but also for post-service careers. ...... A new academy at MOD St Athan would give us the chance to draw all this together in one place, and we must do our bit to make sure that it goes ahead.
Grovel ...grovel...Sad...

Gillan fails to support Metrix's DTI

As Cheryl Gillan has been a prominant supporter of the New Labour Metrix 314bn PFI project , her failure to mention it in her speech at the Tory Conference is highly significant.  It means the government is ready to dump Metrix!!

The two leaks to the BBC ("not this gargantuan PFI") and to the Guardian (likely to be scrapped as Metrix "has not provided what is required") have been preparing the ground. There are Welsh voices who want it scrapped - and are ready to celebrate!

Dweud y gwir am PFI, Metrix a’r Coleg Milwrol yn Sain Tathan

Dweud y gwir am PFI, Metrix a’r Coleg Milwrol yn Sain Tathan

Yn Ionawr 2007 fe gyhoeddodd San Steffan fwriad i greu coleg milwrol newydd yn Sain Tathan. Fe ddathlodd gwleidyddion Cymru'r newyddion fel un o’r pethau gorau a ddigwyddodd yng Nghymru ac i’r economi erioed, gyda deg mil o swyddi, nawr wedi’u profi'n anghywir. Fodd bynnag, bydd y prosiect hwn yn integreiddio hyfforddiant milwyr Prydeinig a hefyd yn gam tuag at breifateiddio rhyfel a militareiddio Cymru. Bydd yn ein hymrwymo am 30 mlynedd i gonsortiwm ble mae masnachwyr arfau rhyngwladol yn bartneriaid amlwg. Y mae partneriaeth Metrix yn cynnwys Cwmni Raytheon, cynhyrchwyr taflegrau Tomahawk sy’n euog o ollwng bomiau clwstwr a sieliau wraniwm hysb.  Y prif bartneriaid yw Qinetiq a Sodexo, gyda’i record dadleuol ym maes rheoli carchardai.
  
Bargen wael i’r trethdalwyr a’r costau’n cynyddu
Pan gyhoeddwyd gyntaf, cost y pecyn CYFLAWN oedd £14 biliwn. Yna hepgorwyd pecyn 2 a gostyngodd y gost i £11 biliwn. Yn 2008 cytunodd MoD i gwtogi oriau gwaith y prentisiaid 25%, ond eto cynyddodd y costau i £12 biliwn. Dywedwyd £13 biliwn mewn Ymchwiliad Cyhoeddus yn Ionawr 2010, ond nawr, yng Ngorffennaf 2010, mae’r Gweinidog Amddiffyn yn nodi £14 biliwn!

Pam nad yw’r Cynulliad a gwleidyddion Cymreig yn gwrthod Metrix?
Mae gan lawer o gwmnïau a chronfeydd pensiwn bolisïau moesegol - pam nad oes un gan y Cynulliad? Bwriad Metrix yw cynyddu eu helw drwy hyfforddi milwyr o wledydd eraill, ar wahân i Brydain.  Gallai milwyr o Bacistan, Malaysia, a gwladwriaethau mwy amheus, gael eu hyfforddi yng Nghymru. Honna gwleidyddion y Cynulliad mai penderfyniad San Steffan oedd Sain Tahan, ond llafuriodd y WDA a gweithwyr sifil yn galed i wireddu’r cynllun, gan roi pob cymorth i Metrix. Gyda’r sôn am ‘swyddi’ a buddsoddiad enfawr, twyllwyd gwleidyddion Cymru.


06/10/2010

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?
Response
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.

04/10/2010

Alun Cairns & St Athan Option

Alun Cairns wrote the St Athan option would save the taxpayer £500m over 30 years (MP’s column Barry & District News, September 23), but can’t give any evidence.  In fact, the £500m figure was first given by Metrix.  All evidence from the £3bn rise since Feb. 2008 or £2bn rise since Sept. 2008 is that the Metrix price is now a £bn or two higher than the MoD’s internal option.
  • Alun wrote he believes the PFI has good military reasons.  Yet no-one can say what the training needs will be until the defence review is completed.  There are good reasons for NOT signing up to a contract when amounts and types of training will change substantially.   Training courses will be disrupted by the move, partly because staff will take redundancy rather than transfer. 
  • Alun like most other Welsh politicians claim it’s highly important economically for Wales.  Yet it’s been highly exaggerated.  It’s a small College (2000-2500 places) and less investment than Cardiff’s new shopping development.  The adjacent aerospace development (the Minister wrongly claimed 'synergy') has collapsed, with firms foced to relocate on the site deciding instead to move elsewhere.
  •  Politicians claim ‘overwhelming’ support from Welsh people.  Yet many local people are critical and the public inquiry showed well-argued cases for changes. 
  • Alun will take along Cllr Jeffrey James, who got a lot of criticism for railroading the project through Committee.  As Chairman Cllr James organised a presentation just before the formal Planning Committee from which objectors were excluded, then pushed the Committee to a quick vote ('Rubber stamped' reported the Glamorgan Gem) without considering the alternatives proposed by local residents and Community Councils.
Like other mega PFIs in Defence procurement, this one will be shown to be excessively costly.  There is now momentum for integrating training across the services – savings will go ahead once Metrix withdraws.  Like the BBC’s informant, we see that St Athan may still have a role but “not the gargantuan PFI. And Peter Collins and BBC please stop repeating the lie that there will be 5,000 jobs.