HC Deb 17 May 2004 vol 421 cc672-3
13. Hugh Bayley (City of York) (Lab)

What(a) civil service and(b) military responsibilities he plans to relocate from London and the south-east to the northern regions of England. [173161]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram)

The Ministry of Defence continually examines ways of improving military capability and value for money for the taxpayer, including the size and location of our estate. We are now undertaking further examination of where estate rationalisation may be possible, and we will, of course, take account of the Lyons Review.

Hugh Bayley

Will my right hon. Friend pay tribute to the important role performed by the Defence Vetting Agency? Does he recall how efficiently the agency created its new headquarters at Imphal barracks in York and the assistance it got from the York Inward Investment Board, or york-england.com as it now calls itself? Will the MOD continue to work with the York Inward Investment Board on the possibility of bringing more jobs to Yorkshire?

Mr. Ingram

My hon. Friend is right. The Defence Vetting Agency is a good example of the transfer of staff to the regions, in this case York. He refers to york-england.com, which is very active in ensuring that there is a collective view on how the opportunities that Yorkshire and the northern region for which it has responsibility can best be served. There was a meeting between MOD personnel and york-england.com at a seminar on 5 May, and relocation opportunities were discussed in the light of the Lyons report. Those ongoing contacts will be maintained.

Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York) (Con)

To assist the Minister with that task, should he not be aware of the number of military personnel and civilian personnel at the four existing defence establishments in the Vale of York? Will he therefore reconsider his reply to me and give me those figures at the first available opportunity?

Mr. Ingram

I do not have the figures to hand. There is a significant military presence, with a good number of military bases, within York and the immediate surrounding area. I think there are about 14,000 military personnel in and around the York area. I shall write to the hon. Lady with the precise figures.

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