Army headquarters move to Catterick branded a gross misuse of public money (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Army headquarters move to Catterick branded a gross misuse of public money
MOVING an Army brigade headquarters 40 miles across North Yorkshire would cost up to £18m and be a gross misuse of public money, an MP has warned.
York MP Hugh Bayley says the costs come at a time when the Ministry of Defence is facing further drastic budget cuts of £900m.
He is calling on the Ministry of Defence to justify the 40 mile move from York to Catterick Garrison and has tabled ten parliamentary questions for the Secretary of State to answer.
The Army is planning to merge the Headquarters 15 (North East) Brigade, currently based at Imphal Barracks in York and the Headquarters 4th (Mechanised) Brigade into a new centre at Catterick, to create the new Adaptable Force Brigade headquarters.
Mr Bayley said: “It is absurd to spend £18m on office space at Catterick to accommodate the Adaptable Force Brigade when there is perfectly adequate high quality accommodation already available at Imphal Barracks in York.
"It would be a gross misuse of public funds to move the newly merged Brigade to Catterick with all the premises and personnel costs that would be involved, especially at a time when the Government is cutting the defence budget.”
In the parliamentary questions for Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Defence, he is asking how many staff will be transferring and how many will be made redundant.
He is also asking for details of what responsibility the new brigade will have for planning and co-ordinating operations in response to floods, major weather events, major fires and other civil emergencies.
The MP is also calling for clarification on what feasibility studies have been carried out on the costs of staying in York or transferring to Catterick.
It is understood the new Brigade will be involved in managing the recruitment of reservists, and Mr Bayley is calling on the Secretary of State to reveal how many of the 30,000 extra reservists will be coming from the Yorkshire and Humber region, and how many are currently based there.
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