§ Mr. Streeter
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of area flag officer posts. 
§ Mr. Soames
A consultation document was issued on 2 March 1995 setting out the proposed reattribution of area flag officer tasks. Having given careful and sympathetic consideration to all the views expressed during the consultation period, I have decided to proceed to implementation of the proposals by 1 April 1996. This measure will save about £9,500,000 over the next 10 years. The posts of flag officer Plymouth and flag officer Portsmouth will be abolished and their tasks reattributed to other senior officers. Their representational tasks, which help maintain the Navy's strong links with these cities, will be undertaken by the remaining flag officers as appropriate, by the naval base commanders or by other senior officers if necessary. The post of flag officer Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland will be merged with that of Commodore, Clyde at two-star level and also become the naval base commander, Clyde, and will have a one-star deputy. There will be a small overall net reduction in posts at Plymouth and Portsmouth of 20 service and 10 civilian posts. No reductions will be required in the FOSNNI/COMCLYDE areas beyond those which were announced by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Defence Procurement on 16 February 1995 in his answer to the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Robertson) at column832.