A report is calling on the UK Government to provide clarity about the future defence footprint in Wales and raises concerns around the closure of military bases and the impact that this may have on the local community.

The report can be found here.

“The Committee is calling on the UK Government to work alongside the Welsh Government to ensure that base closures do not result in a reduction of the defence footprint in Wales. The UK Government should consider the potential to relocate at least one of the three Welsh combat units from England to Wales, reverse the decision to move the RAF Training School and provide clarity on the relocation of regiments and plans for MOD St Athan.”

Additionally, the Committee reports concern about the decline in recruitment.

“They were told that although Wales represents 5% of the UK’s population, only 2% of the Armed Forces are stationed in Wales. This could decrease to 1% if base closures go ahead as planned. The Committee asks the UK Government to make an explicit commitment to maintaining the numbers of forces in Wales, similar to the agreement made with Scotland.”

Chair of the Welsh Affairs Committee, David T. C. Davies MP, said:

“The Welsh contribution to the UK defence industry is indispensable, but recent decisions taken by the UK Government jeopardise Wales’ vital role in the Armed Forces. Over the years Wales has proven a significant contributor to the Armed Forces, provided space for bases and training grounds, and has become a centre of innovation within our defence and aerospace industries.

The decision to close the two main army bases in Wales- Brecon and Cawdor Barracks- and the clustering of units in the south of England will have a profound impact on the surrounding communities, who have fostered close ties to the Armed Forces over generations, and the families who have contributed both financially and culturally to the local area. The location of all Welsh combat units outside of Wales poses a very real challenge to the preservation of Welsh connections and identity.

The UK Government must do more to nurture the crucial contribution that Wales, and the Welsh people, have made, and will continue to make, to both the Armed Forces and the defence industry.”

Key recommendations

The report recommends the following options:

  • The UK Government must ensure that base closures do not result in a reduction of the defence footprint in Wales.
  • Decisions about the relocation of regiments currently based in Wales must be confirmed very soon, and the possibility of relocating at least one of the Welsh combat units from England to Wales should be explored.
  • The UK and Welsh Governments must urgently provide clarity about future plans for MOD St Athan, and reverse the decision to relocate the RAF Training School.
  • The UK Government should set specific recruitment targets for Wales and track performance against these targets.
  • Steps should be taken to reduce the distance that applicants to the Army have to travel, including the use of hubs and temporary centres in all areas of Wales.
  • The UK Government should make the bidding processes for contracts less complex and provide more support, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • The UK Government must ensure that any decisions about the wider defence footprint in Wales do not impact negatively on any projects that have been awarded to businesses and supply chains in Wales.

Read the report here.

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peterDaniele MandelliSteve HMatt Cmaurice10 Recent comment authors
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maurice10
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maurice10

Defence should be distributed nationwide to be part of the weft and weave of the country. I would like to see the current Welsh bases remain untouched, as they are a vital component of the local economy. We must also remember the TA and other reserves are based across the nation, and not clustered in a few English counties. Our forces should be seen at work in as many areas of the country as possible, in order to cement a close bond with the general public who pay their wages.

Tony Barratt
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Tony Barratt

The same applies to the North West of England within 10 years there could no military “base”, if for no other reason there should some for aid to the civil power

maurice10
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maurice10

Remember, this clearly is the work of men and women in grey suits, who don’t give a fig about integrating UK nations by distributing our forces amongst them. They simply look at the bottom cost line and nothing else. Such people do more harm than good, resulting usually in an about-face just a few years down the line. What hurts, these base plans are based on long-forgotten Defence Ministers who have either quit politics or are dead!

peter
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peter

Perhaps they should stop privatising parts of the MOD, they never seem to show how this gives better service or cost savings. Think it was more about after dinner speaking and jobs outside politics ?

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

I agree with Maurice. More bases, although at a cost, results in greater exposure to the public and possibly more recruitment. I’m curious about some of the statements in this report. I thought 14 SR ( EW ) at Cawdor Barracks ( old RAF Brawdy ) was announced years back as moving to St Athan? The 4 SoTT is in East Camp on the St Athan site, most of which is now used by non MoD users. Makes no sense being a training unit to move it to West Camp ( Churchill Lines ) on the west side of St… Read more »

Cam
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Cam

There’s dozens of big bases to close from now to 2028! Actually far more than dozens. Our millitary is truly getting smaller!

Matt C
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Matt C

So is every British state and territory going to demand they should host at least one major surface warship, flight of combat aircraft, infantry regiment, or they’ll secede?

It’s high bloody time the Govt said “Yeah well what have YOU done for defence then, eh?”

Maybe that’ll help some with manpower and all.

Steve H
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Steve H

Basing units from Northern Ireland in Northern Ireland, Welsh units in Wales and Scottish units in Scotland is a great idea, it helps them retain their National Identity and tis is extremely important.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Agree, where it is feasible. And is already happening with the ending of the Arms Plot, which MoD made a big thing of years back, although some units are still not settled in long term. Examples – Black Watch at Fort George, RHF at Glencorse, RSDG at Leuchars, all Scots in Scotland. The RIR however is at Tern Hill, due to the particular sensitivities around NI. If these countries only provide a limited number of units predominantly manned by their own there are only so many to base in their home areas. Like the Royal Welsh for example, it is… Read more »