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Reserve Forces

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

3. What his most recent assessment is of the adequacy of training facilities for the reserve forces; and if he will make a statement. (296683)

We have adequate training facilities for the reserve forces, but they are not organised in the most efficient way. That is why, as part of ongoing efficiency work, we are seeking to identify several rationalisation measures.

When I asked a written question last week about the future of the Browndown training facility in my constituency, I was told that there was a review of operations and several rationalisation measures had been identified. If rationalisation means the closure or restricted use of training facilities, it would have a devastating effect on cadet and reserve activity. What future can we look to for cadets in particular, as they are so important for future recruitment?

I know that the hon. Gentleman has taken a real interest in this issue within his constituency. I do not believe that his statement that the rationalisation measures will have a devastating effect will be borne out by the evidence. It is a reality that as a part of ongoing efficiency work and a Department-wide exercise to deliver savings, we have conducted a review of operations and identified several rationalisation measures. Browndown camp has been included in that review, and while at this stage no firm decision on the future of the facility has yet been taken, I can give him the reassurance that whatever our eventual decision is, it is anticipated that parts of Browndown, in particular the dry training area, will continue to be used.