Coalition to cut MoD costs by quarter
20 May 2010
Ministry of Defence running costs are to be cut by 25 per cent, with savings potentially used to fund the refurbishment of armed forces' accommodation, the coalition government has announced.
The full text of the policies agreed between Conservative and Liberal Democrat negotiators has now been released, and plans for cuts in the MoD have already been criticised by one union, which said defence capability could be "hamstrung" as a result.
Steve Jary, national secretary of trade union Prospect, said it was "irrational" to announce the cuts ahead of the strategic defence review (SDR).
"Liam Fox plucked the 25 per cent figure out of the air last year. It is based on no analysis at all," said Jary. "We urge the government to step back and complete the SDR before finalising its spending plans."
However, defence industry body ADS has said it will to offer "sound advice and services" to help the government achieve its 25 per cent target. ADS welcomed the government's plans to boost defence exports, which will be targeted at countries using equipment for "legitimate purposes", rather than "internal repression".
Among the governments other plans for defence are several amalgamated policies from the Lib Dem and Conservative manifestos.
The Liberal Democrats had called for the Trident nuclear deterrent to be included in the forthcoming strategic defence review, but the final coalition agreement commits the coalition to proceeding with the replacement nuclear deterrent programme. The coalition has agreed to scrutinise the programme costs closely, while Liberal Democrat MPs will be allowed to "make the case" for alternatives.
The government has also committed to pressing for continued progress on multilateral nuclear disarmament and will also push for a full international ban on cluster munitions.
The Conservative pledge to double the operational allowance for Armed Forces personnel serving in Afghanistan has been adopted, and armed forces pay is to be included in government plans for a fair pay review in future.
The plans also include a pledge to treat injured personnel in dedicated military wards.
Both parties have agreed to "rebuild the military covenant" through a series of welfare measures including:
• ensuring that rest and recuperation (R&R) leave "can be maximised";
• Providing university and further education scholarships for the children of servicemen and women killed in action since 1990;
• Supporting service leavers to study at universities;
• Creating a "troops for teachers" programme to recruit ex-service personnel into the education sector;
• providing extra support for veterans' mental health needs.
HAVE YOUR SAY
20 May 2010
Laudable. However, our armed forces personnel must always be fully equipped and trained prior to the event too! Its fine to know that you, your service to your country and families are highly valued and will have the best support available but it helps a great deal when you also have faith in your equipment and training and those politicians who may ask you to use it.
Norman - UK
22 May 2010
Doubling the Op allowance will be a nice little 'thanks' when returning, its enough for a well deserved family holiday, a car or towards a deposit on a house. Well done Conservatives and thanks, a step in the right direction at last...from a Military man!
Scott - Exmouth
25 May 2010
This is playing into the hands of all the CND and peace types. It's not possible to cut current MoD capacity by 25% and still deliver complex procurement and logistical programmes to time and cost.
The new government may as well cancel plans for the F35 JSF, carriers, future surface warship, and Trident successor and be done with it. There is no way the programmes will succeed without adequate support.
And then what will the armed forces be left with to defend us with?
Michael - Bath
14 June 2010
This is worrying. Especially the 25% bit. This seems like the typical 'Off the top of the head' figure. My own take would be, to allow a set budget to maintain, equip and train the services. Any wars, actions and deployments brought on by politicians should be paid for by them and not take money out of the original pot. We certainly need a review, but it must be driven by actual military requirements, not budgetary ones.
Cap - Darlington
25 September 2010
why bother having armed forces make them any smaller will not be able to defend the ile of skye
gary dowling - shildnon uk