Hangar 'bout

IssueMay 2009
News by Kelvin Mason

I’m at a loss finding the right idiom for this story: Throwing good money after bad? A fool and his money are easily parted? A leopard can’t change his spots…? You decide.

A joint report by the National Audit Office and the Wales Audit Office concluded that the Red Dragon project to build a super-hangar at RAF St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan cost the public £113m and created only 45 jobs instead of a forecast 4,500. It now stands virtually empty.

The problem arose because, when it signed up for Red Dragon, the MoD had forgotten that it had also commissioned a review of aircraft support. The findings signalled the end of the super-hangar project.

Jeremy Coleman, Auditor General for Wales, said: “The Ministry of Defence and the Welsh Authorities failed to collaborate sufficiently throughout the project. The Red Dragon Project highlights the danger in large and complex projects that involve multiple public bodies of insufficient openness and information sharing.”

Always look on the bright side, though. Court Jester to the Welsh Assembly Government, Rhodri Morgan, claims the super hangar is the reason St Athan won the contract for a privatised military academy: “That is now the jewel in the crown,” chortled Rhodri.

The training academy will create 2,500 jobs on site and a further 3,000 in the wider economy.… Hang about: Where have we heard this before? And who is fooling who? You decide.

(Hmm, wouldn’t an empty hangar make a good home for a Wales Peace Institute?)

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