£18 million Army headquarters move "absurd" says York MP

THE change of a headquarters for a North Yorkshire Army brigade would cost £18million, a York MP has claimed.

The Government made the decision to merge Headquarters 15 (North East) Brigade - currently based at Imphal - and Headquarters 4th (Mechanised) Brigade, as part of the Chancellor’s plan to save £900 million from military funds, and form the Adaptable Force Brigade Headquarters in the north-east, based at Catterick.

Hugh Bayley, MP for York Central called the plans “absurd”, claimed the creation of new accommodation and adapting old buildings at Catterick would cost £18m, and has pledged to bring the matter before Parliament and the Ministry of Defence.

He said: “It is absurd to spend £18 million on office space at Catterick to accommodate the Adaptable Force Brigade when there is perfectly adequate high quality accommodation already available at Imphal Barracks in York.

“It would be a gross mis-use of public funds to move the newly merged Brigade to Catterick with all the premises and personnel costs that would be involved, especially at a time when the Government is cutting the defence budget.”

Mr Bayley will also ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans were in place to increase the number of Army reservists to 30,000, and how many staff currently based at Imphal would be made redundant.

An Army spokesman said: “As these questions have been tabled for the Secretary of State for Defence, they will be responded to formally and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment.”

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