§ Mr. Michael Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the future of the Army Static Workshop Organisation.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
The changes in the size and shape of the Army following from "Options for Change" will result in a considerable reduction in the volume of repair work undertaken by the Army's base and district workshops. Accordingly, a wide ranging review has been618W undertaken to assess the numbers and locations of workshops which will be required to support the Army in the future from the financial, engineering and operational viewpoints.
The main recommendations of that review are that 39 district workshop, Bridgend, 41 district workshop, York, and 42 district workshop, Liverpool, should close by 31 March 1993; and that 23 base workshop at Wetter in Germany should close by 31 March 1994. These closures will remove surplus capacity from the organisation and they will also lead to a substantial increase in the volume of contract repair undertaken by British industry. Overall, they are expected to achieve savings in operating costs of some £7 million per year.
The German authorities have been informed of our intention to close 23 base workshop. We will consult with them fully throughout the closure process and we will follow normal procedures with the Works Council. In the United Kingdom we are about to start a full period of consultation with the relevant trade unions over all the proposed closures. A final decision will be taken in the light of any representations.