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Armed Forces: Facilities

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what incentives are given to garrison commanders and unit commanders to generate income from the hire to the public of military facilities for non-military purposes; and if he will make a statement. (137916)

Under the Treasury’s Wider Markets Initiative, garrison and unit commanders—in common with the rest of the armed forces, the Ministry of Defence and other Government Departments—are encouraged to exploit commercially those assets which need to be retained but are not fully used.

The Treasury allows Departments to keep, and use as additional expenditure, the revenue they earn from Wider Markets. Within the armed forces and MOD, the extra income can be used both towards achieving core objectives and, at budget holders’ discretion, funding ‘quality of life’ improvements at the workplace of the unit concerned. Incentives to generate income can be summarised as:

Better value for defence, resulting from this extra contribution to running costs.

More efficient use of irreducible spare capacity.

A benefit to public relations from working more closely with industry and the public. An opportunity for personnel to acquire commercial skills.