Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has today announced that over £4 billion will be invested to create a better defence estate for the UK’s Armed Forces and their families.
The ‘Better Defence Estate’ strategy is a review of Ministry of Defence (MOD) 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 back into defence, creating areas of military expertise in specific locations around the country.
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 our 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.
Today’s announcement follows a pledge by Mr Fallon last week to invest over £1.1b in facilities on Salisbury Plain to support troops returning from Germany, meaning, in total, more than £5b has been earmarked to defence infrastructure in the last two weeks.
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.
The Defence Secretary also confirmed the intended future locations for a number of the 35 sites the MOD has already announced are due for release.