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Army Storage

Volume 300: debated on Thursday 13 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the rationalisation of the Army's storage estate. [16281]

Work has now been completed on a study, initiated by the previous Administration, on the potential for further rationalisation of the Army Base Storage and Distribution Agency's storage estate. The analysis has show that there are likely to be some increases in aspects of the Army storage task, for example some equipment and stores return from Bosnia, but the overall balance of factors, including the likely impact of the new Government's Strategic Defence Review, indicates that there will be significant reductions in ABSDA's future storage requirement. This reflects the need to drive down the overall size of the Army storage inventory to reflect changes in Defence planning assumptions and to reduce the costs of our storeholdings. Obtaining greater efficiency from Defence spending is a central part of the Strategic Defence Review. All support activities are being rigorously scrutinised against the benchmark of value for money and the need to ensure that we retain only those assets that are essential for Defence needs.I have, therefore, decided to accept, as the basis for consultation with the Trades Unions and other interested parties, the recommendation that the ABSDA sub-depots at Thatcham in Berkshire, and Old Dalby in Leicestershire, should close. This would realise savings of some £35 million in net present value terms over a ten-year period. I also intend to suspend the ABSDA stores division CFQ study for the time being.Final decisions will be taken in the light of representations made during the consultation period. A copy of the Consultation Document is being placed in the library of the House.