HC Deb 14 January 1986 vol 89 c918
19. Mr. Jessel

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if, pending the report of the Public Accounts Committee, he will make a statement on the new figures for the costing of military schools of music given in his evidence to the Committee on 4 December by the permanent secretary, Sir Clive Whitmore.

Mr. Lee

The group set up to implement the decision to establish the defence school of music at Deal reported in March 1985 that the estimated construction cost had risen from £5.8 million to £10.6 million. We are now examining the requirement for instruction and buildings in order to bring the cost down to the earlier estimate.

Mr. Jessel

As there is not now much difference between the cost of continuing with the present system and that of setting up a joint services' music school on the coast, will the Government examine carefully the report of the Public Accounts Committee when it is published, and reconsider the view of the previous Secretary of State for Defence, as the high standards of British Army bands, which are the envy of the world—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—are linked inextricably with the first-class training they receive at Kneller hall, Twickenham?

Mr. Lee

My hon. Friend has obviously struck a welcome note. He has waged a tireless campaign for Kneller hall, and all credit to him. However, there is no change in our fundamental decision to go on a tri-service basis to Deal.