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HMS Sultan

Volume 518: debated on Monday 8 November 2010

7. If he will assess the merits of putting to use the spare capacity at HMS Sultan in Gosport as part of his review of the defence training estate. (22168)

Following the announcement on 19 October of the decision to terminate the defence training rationalisation procurement, work has now begun on alternative options for the location or locations of future defence technical training. Changes to technical training and estate requirements arising from the strategic defence and security review will be taken into account and HMS Sultan will be considered as part of that process.

As the Minister knows, HMS Sultan already provides engineering training not just for the Navy and the Army, but for commercial organisations such as Network Rail. It recently had an excellent Ofsted report, and the good news is that it has spare capacity to do even more. Does the Minister agree, therefore, that in the spirit of good financial common sense, the Department should consider consolidating all existing military engineering training at that excellent site in my Gosport constituency?

I am happy to pay tribute to the work that goes on at HMS Sultan and congratulate everybody involved on the excellence of the training that is given. It would not be practical to bring all defence technical training together at that site but, as I stressed in my earlier answer, we are looking at location or locations, and HMS Sultan will be considered fully as part of that review.