§ Mr. Alex Carlile
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many serving members of the Royal Air Force and civilians working ancillary to the Royal Air Force are employed in Wales; and if he will make a statement on the future of the Royal Air Force in Wales;
(2) how many serving members of the Army and civilians working ancillary to the Army are employed in Wales; and if he will make a statement on the future of the Army in Wales.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
There are currently 4,646 established RAF posts and 2,643 civilians employed at 53W RAF units in Wales, while the Army presence comprises some 650 trained service personnel and 550 civilian employees. A strengthening of this presence in future would be consistent with wider Government policy on relocation; and certainly we shall take account of the natural advantages offered by Wales, especially for training, in our planning for any redeployments. We are, however, contemplating a significant reduction in the long-term size of our forces under "options for change", and the impact of this is bound to be felt to some degree in Wales as in other parts of the United Kingdom.