Friday, December 11, 2009

Major Defence Cuts Are On the Way

Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News is about to break the news that major defence cuts are on the way. They will be announced next week, including the closure of at latest one RAF base and a scaling back of the British base in Cyprus. The cuts should have been announced in the PBR this week but the MoD couldn't agree the details in time.

According to Channel 4 News...

The cuts have been caused by a six billion pound overspend, mainly on the procurement of new aircraft, submarines and ships. A senior official at the MOD told the programme that the department was in 'real financial trouble.' As well as the closure of an RAF base and the Cyprus reduction, Channel 4 News understands there will also be cuts in IT, human resources and back office functions, and more controversially the MOD Police. Senior Whitehall sources have admitted to Channel 4 News that the futures of the Navy's two new aircraft carriers and the A400M aircraft are in doubt. Defence could face cuts of up to 16% over three years because of the government's decision to half the deficit.


If all this is true, this could dominate the news over the next few days.

24 comments:

Irene said...

Yes, I saw it on Channel 4 - nobody else seems to have yet, apart from you of course!

strongholdbarricades said...

Who will carry the can

probably not bob-a-job ainsworth

tris said...

We really will hae to try to stop going to war every time America tells us to.

WE CAN'T AFFORD IT

Jess The Dog said...

I was told, in 2004, by a senior officer fresh from MoD, that the department was effectively bankrupt.

They earmarked my base for closure (so I resigned) and then had to reverse the decision...after blowing money on working up another station.

Bill Quango MP said...

Someone ordered some aircraft carriers.
Why, Brown, did you order Aircraft carriers that you couldn't afford to build, without the crews available to man them, without the planes available to fly off them , without the support ships available to sail with them or the logistics to support them.

And why, Brown, did you order aircraft carriers to fight in our current desert and mountain wars when everyone in the country was saying there was a need for some helicopters?

Anything to do with Scottish shipyards? Really? do you think?

I know Brown denied that was the case, but he denied wanting to replace Darling with Balls, or Miliband with anyone else, wanting to push the spending lever to the max, ending boom and bust, ever seeing the biscuit question, reading opinion polls or a multitude of other u-turns and lies.

Admiral Brown to the rescue. Throw some more money money into the furnaces and go full stream ahead.

DeeDee99 said...

Defence Procurement is obviously a basket case; as is Ministerial Oversight.

Well that's the Armed Forces voting anything but Labour then.

Unsworth said...

@ DeeDee99

...and their kith and kin, too.

Jabba the Cat said...

The A400M's should have been dumped a long time ago in favour of American aircraft that are cheaper, more reliable and would be delivered on time. Similarly we should have purchased American helicopters for the same reasons instead of persisting with the technologically backward local offerings.

Pogo said...

One would have thought that getting shot of 50+% of the MoD would have saved much more money and,possibly, made the armed forces much more efficient.

Gallimaufry said...

Yippee! A chance to cancel the £95million each overweight A400M.

Leslie said...

Just look where the money's going. When we're spending over £200 billion p.a. on welfare handouts and bloated pensions for the holders of public sector make-work jobs, exactly how will shorting the armed forces (in a time of war no less!!!) achieve a thing?

chaz said...

Iain,

The fact that this will get no more than a desultory comment from the Conservative Party leadership, and perhaps not even that, is truly a scandal. In spite of the Labour Party's unprecedented engorgement – to ape Dan Hannan - of state spending in the last decade, defence has been singularly ill served. That we have fought two wars, and involved ourselves in three other conflicts at the same time makes this situation all the more indefensible.

It is not enough in the case of defence spending to say simply that we can do more with the money available. This is true, as the Gray report makes clear, but the money required to do the job in hand has never been there in the first place. Not only to fight and win in Afghanistan, and Iraq before that, but also to prepare for the next conflict and the one after that. Aircraft carriers which are a fifty year capability are a prime example of this. 25 years ago a world without the Berlin Wall was difficult to comprehend; it is a brave and foolish government who can predict what sort of military capability we will need in twenty years time, let alone fifty.

That we are not prepared to stand up and make a case, at the very least for maintaining defence spending is, however, a symptom of something much broader. That we will not say so is due to the pledge to protect spending on the NHS, which is just the most striking example of a lack of political courage and an unwillingness to make an argument that cannot be boiled down into a fifteen-second sound bite. Terrified of the Labour retort, we mindlessly pledge to match that which this government has done – good and bad – with regards to the NHS. One result is that the armed forces are almost certain to have to do without at a time when they need more not less.

One of the first things David Cameron will have to do if elected will be to write four letters, one for each of the Trident-carrying submarines, instructing them what they are to do in the event that all contact is lost with the UK. Whilst seemingly a hangover from the Cold War, one would imagine that writing such a batch of letters would impress upon anyone the gravity of the responsibilities they then held. It has long been time for the party to grow out of the occasional petty opportunism and short-sightedness of opposition and act and argue as if they are ready to govern. Getting serious about defence would be a welcome step in this direction.

pete-s said...

Bill Quango 8:49

A perfect description of the actions of a Traitor. Gordon Browns name will rank along that of 'Kim Filby' for treachory.

Conand said...

I seem to remember that one of the arguments put forward for attacking Iraq was that RAF Akrotiri might be under threat from Saddam's long range rockets.
It appears that the threat wasn't from the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party after all.....

Sam Tarran said...

Defence cuts wouldn't matter at all if the Ministry of Defence had actually been administered properly. In fact, they may have even have been able to make them some time ago.

Before we start deploring cuts, let's bear in mind the vast quantities of public money that have been poured cheerfully into bureaucracy, into extravagant and ill-advised projects, and sometimes even into the building itself.

Who knows - maybe the cuts will get the MoD to get its act together!

Peter said...

Yet another reason to get out of Afghanistan!

tyger said...

Imagine there will be a body count/cost analysis going on somewhere. Tickety boo.

Ronald said...

And Yet Brown can find an extra £500000000 a year to give as charity to Africa. One quarter of the European total despite our economy suffering more than most.

(Their response 'we want even more')

If I was selling junk at a car boot sale Brown would be my perfect customer he is an idiot with no negotiating skills.

Hurf Durf said...

How about we cut all the money going into that bullshit con AGW? Oh wait, sorry, it serves the international Left's agenda. Sorry. Futureproofing the Navy and giving the Army the resources they need? Nah, the Gallagher family need their dole money.

Clive said...

Scrapping the A400M would be an excellent move to start with. Buy C17's now at half the price with twice the capacity instead of paying over the odds for a transport aircraft that might just make it in to service in 2015.

Switch the aircraft carriers to nuclear power, fit proper catapults and don't bother with the F35B nut instead buy a cheaper, more capable aircraft.

Scrap Trident replacement. Mothball current Trident fleet.

Withdraw from Afghanistan.

Stop messing around trying to turn a cold war fighter (the Typhoon) into a ground pounding attack aircraft (tranche 3).

That's just for starters.

Man in a Shed said...

They are again playing politics with the country's interests.

Brown knew Cyprus was to be cut back - hence the offer on Cypriot reunification earlier.

But he really wants to use the carriers to get the Labour vote out in Scotland - and hopefully get the Conservatives questioning them.

Its all games, no leadership, no responsibility.

Gerry57 said...

Labour say that they have already accounted for the £500m a year pledged at Copenhagen. So now we know where they are going to get it from.

Still on the subject of defence, I've learnt from a relative of a soldier in Afghanistan that our soldiers are underfed and are going hungry. They desperately rely on food parcels from their relatives.

King Athelstan said...

If they wanted cut price armed forces they should have settled for cut price foreign policy. Every day the caledonian cretin remains in office is a disaster for the country.

Mirtha Tidville said...

Defence spending does need to be sorted out. Too many bad decisions and way too many civil servants. It needs to be restructured then the budget needs to be massively increased. Anymore reductions brings us frighteningly closer to the ` Mujahedin in Penge High Street` syndrome.....