Schools of Music

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th February 1987.

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Photo of Mike Hancock Mike Hancock , Portsmouth South 12:00 am, 24th February 1987

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the future of the Defence schools of music.

Photo of Mr Roger Freeman Mr Roger Freeman , Kettering

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence expects to announce a decision soon.

Photo of Mike Hancock Mike Hancock , Portsmouth South

Will the Minister explain to the people of Portsmouth what is delaying his decision? Is he aware that he has written to them on at least three occasions, the first as far back as July last year, saying that the decision is imminent? Will he make a decision also about the use of the land that the Ministry of Defence is holding at Eastney? Will he explain to the people of Deal, Portsmouth and Uxbridge what the problem is and what information is still needed for the decision to be made?

Photo of Mr Roger Freeman Mr Roger Freeman , Kettering

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would agree that it is far better for us to reach the right decision, however long it takes. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the amount of surplus land and married quarters is monitored closely and constantly. It is our intention to dispose of all surplus land and married quarters as promptly as possible.

Photo of Mr Peter Pike Mr Peter Pike , Burnley

Will the Minister recognise that, as the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) said, major difficulties are caused in both Deal and Eastney? Would it not be better to take a speedy decision? Have the Government not had long enough to think about it? Should not early decisions be taken?

Photo of Mr Roger Freeman Mr Roger Freeman , Kettering

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would be the first to criticise us if we reached too rapid a decision.