HC Deb 17 December 1970 vol 808 cc408-9W
Mr. Madel

asked the Minister of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the future Army command structure in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Ian Gilmour

To meet the needs of the Army in the 1970s, it has been decided to abolish the present three geographic Commands and one functional Command in England, and to establish one Army Command for the whole of the United Kingdom.

This Command will be called United Kingdom Land Forces and its headquarters will be located at Wilton near Salisbury. It will become effective on 1st April, 1972 when the present Headquarters Southern Command (at Hounslow) will close and Headquarters Army Strategic Command (at Wilton) will be absorbed into the new Headquarters United Kingdom Land Forces.

Headquarters Northern Command (at York) and Headquarters Western Command (at Chester) will close later that year. Headquarters Scotland and Headquarters Northern Ireland will remain in being at their present locations and for most purposes will come under command of Headquarters United Kingdom Land Forces during 1972.

The number of Districts will be reduced by two during 1972–73 by combining the present Eastern and East Midland Districts into one new Eastern District with its Headquarters at Colchester; and by amalgamating the present Northumbrian, Yorkshire and North West Districts to form two Districts—North East and North West Districts, with Headquarters at York and Preston respectively.

These new arrangements are designed to improve efficiency by streamlining methods of work and to achieve considerable economies in manpower and other resources now devoted to the administration of the Army in this country.