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Base Workshops, Bicester

Volume 79: debated on Monday 20 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what progress he has made in recruiting skilled men required to operate base workshops, Bicester.

The base workshop at Bicester is not due to start taking on the increased work load planned for it in the REME static workshop review until towards the end of 1985. As the build-up will be gradual, there is no need to recruit until men can be usefully employed. However, present indications are that there should be no difficulty when the time comes to do so.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give the total cost of the expansion of the test houses at Bicester, as a result of the closure of 38 Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers workshops.

REME is now in the process of finalising its "statement of requirement" for the expansion of the test houses at Bicester, on the basis of which the Property Services Agency will invite tenders from appropriate firms. This task of specifying the user's technical requirements was initially concentrated on the Bovington and Old Dalby workshops, with Bicester to follow later. I cannot, therefore, add anything to the letter which my noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces, wrote to my hon. Friend on 15 January.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the extra cost of tranferring FV432 repairs to Bicester above original estimates on which the closure of 38 Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers workshops was based.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Kingston Upon Hull North (Mr. McNamara) on 16 May, columns 210–211, and can only add that, as the repair of FV432s needs the support of no major facilities beyond those already at Bicester or scheduled for installation there as a result of the REME static workshop review, any extra cost will be minimal.