Skip to main content

Returning Troop Costs (Germany)

Volume 522: debated on Monday 31 January 2011

15. What estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of returning British troops from Germany (a) between 2010 and 2015 and (b) between 2015 and 2020; and if he will make a statement. (36750)

The strategic defence and security review stated the Government’s aim to withdraw all forces from Germany by 2020. That objective is now being taken forward within a wider basing study aimed at making the best possible use of the defence estate. The basing study will take into account a range of factors, including cost, and is expected to report in the spring. Any costs incurred as a result of rebasing should be offset by the savings made in the longer term. While on a day-to-day basis it is more expensive to base troops in Germany than in the UK, this policy is not primarily about saving money. It is about enhancing our operational effectiveness and welfare.

I thank the Minister for that answer, but how much will the UK Government need to pay the German Government in compensation or reparations when our bases are vacated by British troops and handed back to German control?

The Government may need to pay redundancy costs to locally employed civilians, depending on circumstances, and costs might also be incurred in buying out any contractual obligations. However, the UK Government are not obliged to compensate either the Federal German Government or local communities for the impact of the British Army leaving Germany. The net injection to the German economy is around £700 million a year, so the hon. Gentleman might like to reflect on whether that might be better injected into the British economy.

The Minister will be aware of the considerable capital investment programme of the past 10 years for garaging and other heated facilities for armoured vehicles of the British Army of the Rhine. Will there be a similar programme in this country, or will the vehicles remain in Germany?

There is a general principle that we do not ask the Army to relocate to premises that are inferior to those in which they are already stationed. It would certainly be our intention to ensure that that is the case when they return to the UK.