The South Wales Echo newsroom is celebrating after the Government announced that a £14bn Royal Air Force academy will be built on the newspaper’s patch, bringing 5,000 jobs to the area. It marked a victory for the Echo’s Battle for Jobs campaign to persuade contractors the Metrix consortium to bring the academy to South Wales.
Defence Secretary Des Browne told the Commons just after noon last Wednesday that the academy would be built at RAF St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan, near the Echo office.
First Minister Rhodri Morgan, who popped Champagne corks on the steps of the Senedd in Cardiff Bay while clutching a copy of the special late edition of the Echo, said: ‘The South Wales Echo has a proud reputation as a campaigning newspaper, and this has been one its finest campaigns.
‘Well done for keeping St Athan and the defence training academy at the top of the agenda.’For many months Echo reporter Peter Collins has been covering the bid and Defence Secretary Des Browne told the Commons that the Welsh bid had beaten off a rival bid from RAF Cosford in the West Midlands.
More than 3,600 Echo readers signed the newspaper’s petition, which was presented to the then junior defence minister Derek Twigg at the Ministry of Defence.