Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Rise in Army personnel good news for county (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Rise in Army personnel good news for county
12:00pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
This week, the Secretary of State for Defence set out plans for future Army base locations and I was delighted that these reaffirmed the importance of Wiltshire, and specifically Salisbury Plain, in the military footprint.
The Army is preparing for its new 2020 structure and also bringing home the 20,000 troops currently stationed in Germany by 2019.
This move will save taxpayers almost £250 million a year, deliver a £2 billion boost to the British economy and will also provide much greater certainty of future location for forces’ families.
The unique location and attributes of Salisbury Plain have been recognised and a substantial number of new units will relocate to the area with a net increase of more than 4,000 regular Army personnel by 2020, making the Salisbury Plain garrison area the central military location in the UK. The full list of moves is on my website, www.claireperry.org.uk for those who are interested.
Luckily, Wiltshire Council and local military leaders have been preparing for possible increases in troop numbers and so there are already plans for new schools and housing in the area and an active military-civilian integration partnership that is seen as the model for other garrison areas to help with employment for service spouses, and support for those leaving the services to stay and work in the area.
The announcement was accompanied by a pledge of £1bn to build and refurbish accommodation and much of this will be spent in Wiltshire, which is very good news.
Finally, for those who are rightly worried that the Plain may see more training activity, I was reassured by the Secretary of State that the training increase will be minimal as the increase in personnel numbers will be gradual and the current high intensity of training on the Plain, which has been driven by the kinetic pace of activity in Afghanistan, will tail off with the return of our troops in 2014.
We are still waiting for information on basing for the Army Reserves but this announcement was great news for Wiltshire and will deliver a real economic boost to our local economy.
Finally this week, I came up again in the lottery for Prime Minister’s Questions and took the opportunity to ask him to mark the occasion of International Women’s Day tomorrow to pay tribute to the work of Wiltshire Police and Victim Support Services in dealing with the often hidden crime of domestic violence. He was happy to oblige.