§ Mr. Ian Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future of operational sea training for the Royal Navy and Portland naval base.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
As part of our continuing work to achieve the best balance between the front line and support we are proposing to transfer the Royal Navy's operational sea training (OST) base from Portland to Devonport and to close Portland naval base by April 1996.
This proposal will save some £70 million over the next ten years and some £11 million per annum thereafter. Some 550 service and 475 civilian personnel will be affected by the proposal. While every effort will be made to redeploy civilian staff within the Ministry of Defence or with other Government Departments, some redundancies may be unavoidable. Where that is the case, staff will be eligible for compensation under the relevant pension scheme and for counselling on alternative employment prospects.
Some 1,200 naval personnel and 200 MOD civilians will continue to be based at the royal naval air station at Portland, which will remain in operation.
This proposal is the subject of consultation with the trade unions and final decisions will be taken in the light of any representations made by interested parties. A copy of the consultative document has been placed in the Library of the House.