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Now that's a homecoming!


More than £4 billion will be invested to create a better defence estate for the UK’s Armed Forces and their families, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced on  November 7.

This follows a pledge made last week by Mr Fallon to invest more than £1.1 billion in facilities in the south of England to support troops returning from Germany.

It means that, in total, more than £5 billion has been earmarked to defence infrastructure in the past two weeks. 

Some 130 new buildings will be completed on Salisbury Plain in a four-year construction programme (2016-2020). The additional infrastructure will enable the Army to withdraw from Germany and deliver the major part of the Army Basing Programme (ABP)

As part of Project Allenby Connaught (PAC) initiative, the 25-year contract has been awarded to Aspire Defence Limited.

Mr Fallon made the announcement affecting BFG on November 1 during a Defence Select Committee hearing on the delivery of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). 

He said: “Our Armed Forces deserve facilities and housing that match the need of this generation. We’re committed to delivering a better defence estate, and to ensuring our Armed Forces are properly supported and provided for. 

“With our defence budget secure and rising to 2020, we can now properly invest in our soldiers, their families and communities.”

The significant investment on Salisbury Plain and in Aldershot will include new and modern Single Living Accommodation (SLA), with more than 2,600 bed spaces created. 

New and improved technical, office, catering, retail and leisure facilities will also be provided to make sure that soldiers work and live in the best possible environment.

The ABP was set up to deliver Army 2020 as part of the Government’s 2010 SDSR commitments.

The construction programme is scheduled for completion by 2020, meaning all British Army units based in Germany can return to the UK as planned. 

Maj Gen Alastair Dickinson, the Army’s Director of Basing and Infrastructure and MoD lead for the programme, said: “This is a significant step forward in the delivery of the Army Basing Programme. 

“The investment is a major part of our programme to deliver first class facilities and will ensure a high-level of support and service for all those units relocating in 2019.”

Allan Thomson, Chief Executive of Aspire Defence Ltd, added: “Aspire Defence is extremely proud of our successful record delivering first-rate living and working accommodation for soldiers. 

“We are delighted to be embarking on this next phase of development, expanding our provision of high-quality purpose-built accommodation and a best-in-class total facilities management service at garrisons across Salisbury Plain and at Aldershot.”

The £4 billion Better Defence Estate strategy announced this week is a review of MoD’s land headed up by military leaders to deliver a more efficient, modern and capability-focused defence estate.

In the most significant changes to defence land since the Second World War, 91 sites owned or managed by the MoD are set to be sold. Every penny raised from the sales will be reinvested in defence, creating areas of military expertise in specific locations around the country.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “We have been spending billions maintaining a defence estate that doesn’t meet the needs of our Armed Forces. 

“This plan delivers an estate fit for our Forces and their families. By putting money where it is needed, we will provide better facilities to train our Armed Forces and deliver more stability for military families.”

As well as saving the taxpayer money – around £140 million by the end of the decade – the changes will reduce the number of personnel being regularly moved between different bases, providing greater long-term stability and certainty for the Armed Forces and their families. 

The plan will see sites and bases moved to locations that offer better opportunities for military families – increasing employment prospects for partners and spouses, helping them to settle into communities, buy their own homes and have their children benefit from more stable schooling.

More than 32,500 acres of excess defence land is being released, including ten surplus airfields and five golf courses, which will support the MoD in achieving its target to provide enough land for 55,000 homes, helping the Government contribute to its target of 160,000 new homes by 2020. 

There will also be significant economic benefits, providing employment opportunities for construction and the service industries across the UK.

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