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Warminster's DSG sold to Babcock for £140million

(December 19, 2014)

WARMINSTER'S Defence Support Group (DSG) has been sold to UK firm Babcock for £140 million.

While government spin doctors have praised the deal, local workers, many of whom have worked at DSG for many years, have been dreading the news. So have serving Army officers.

Understanably none wants to be quoted but say that as the DSG trading operation has been softened up for sale the facility has slid backwards and many important staff left while they had the chance.

The deal is feared to provide a poor long term return and could compromise quality after it is completed on, appropriately, 1 April 2015. It has  been compared to the infamous government cock-ups involving private finance initiatives and the sale in the 1990s of MoD homes to Annington.

Steve Dancey added: "I've spent many years looking at the operations of the MoD and while I have the greatest respect for the Army's officer class when it comes to military operations, they are amateurs when it comes to business.

"As for ministers who sealed this deal? They are Conservatives desperate for re-election and would lease off their own grandmothers for 10 years if it would bring in a modest reduction in this year's Public Sector Borrowing Requirement."

The Defence Support Group (DSG) maintains and repairs key military equipment and manages the storage of the land vehicle fleet - it has operated as DSG, ABRO and as the former REME 27 Command Workshops used to employ 800 people in the town in skilled jobs.

The deal includes a 10-year contract with Babcock for the maintenance, repair, overhaul and storage of current military vehicles and light weapons.

The contract award follows the announcement of the preferred bidder last month, and will see Babcock continue the services DSG currently provides.

As well as the £140 million that the sale will generate upfront, the Army hopes it will benefit from considerable savings over the next 10 years, seeing a transformation in the way its vehicles such as Challengers and Warriors are maintained.

The government spin machine put these words of nonsense into the mouth of a Conservative ministerial talking head....

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne MP said “I am delighted with the successful outcome of this transaction. Signing this deal with Babcock will put the Defence Support Group on a sustainable long-term footing and will transform the equipment maintenance and repair support that the Army relies on both at home and overseas.

Babcock will provide market-leading engineering and fleet management expertise to optimise vehicle availability to the Army at better value for the taxpayer.

The £140 million proceeds from the sale and the significant savings over the life of the contract represent outstanding value for money for the tax payer and will allow us to continue to focus our resources on the front line.

Contract completion is planned for 31 March 2015 and the service provision contract will start on 1 April 2015

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