Defence Cuts - Telegraph 13 May

#1
Here we go again - but we're starting to hear from the people within the MoD now.......

Forces face 'ruthless' cuts as MoD seeks to save £1bn
By Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 13/05/2004)


The Ministry of Defence's most senior civil servant admitted yesterday that the Armed Forces faced major cuts because of Treasury spending restrictions.

Sir Kevin Tebbit, the MoD's permanent secretary, confirmed last month's disclosures in The Telegraph that 16 MoD committees, known as "work-strands", were looking to save more than £1 billion.

His admission to the Commons defence select committee came as the First Sea Lord, Adml Sir Alan West, conceded that the Royal Navy would have to lose a number of destroyers and frigates.

The loss of up to a fifth of the Navy's surface vessels, originally reported in The Telegraph in January, would leave it smaller than the French navy for the first time since the 17th century.

Confirming that he expected "ruthless" cuts, Adml West said in an interview published yesterday that "there'll be a hit on the destroyer/frigate force".

"We're trying to fit the programme to the cash we've got," he said. "There are going to be some hard choices and ministers will have to review all the implications, including industrial ones."

That implied the threat of job losses and Sir Kevin's admissions to MPs were seen as a joint MoD campaign to put pressure on the Treasury to secure a better deal in the July spending round.

Sir Kevin told the defence committee that, despite the increased demands on the Armed Forces by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Treasury had ordered the MoD to cut its spending over the past year.

The MoD's overall budget remained unchanged, but he admitted that it was under pressure and he had been told by the Treasury to "constrain those activities which generated a cash spend".

The combined attack provoked an angry response from the Treasury, which denied that it was forcing the MoD into defence cuts. "Far from cuts, the 2002 spending review is delivering the biggest sustained increase for 20 years," it said.

But Sir Kevin pre-empted that claim by telling the defence committee that Treasury claims about the improvement in the budget were "more a reflection of how small the increases had been over the years".

The Treasury also claimed yesterday that it was funding the cost of successive campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Sierra Leone in full. But defence sources pointed out that the fact that the Treasury was referring to the campaign in Kosovo, five years after the event, was a reflection of how hard it was to recoup anything like the real costs of military operations.

"Tony Blair wants us to do all these things that allow him to strut the world stage and we are very happy to do them," one source said. "Gordon Brown always promises in public that he will fund it all in full.

"But then he goes through the list of expenditure saying that most of it we would have spent anyway and refuses to pay, not taking into account that we still have to fund all our normal activities as well as fight a war."

Both the Royal Navy and the RAF are expected to take savage cuts in their strength in order to pay for expensive new projects and in particular the Royal Navy's two new carriers and the RAF's Eurofighter/Typhoon aircraft.

The "work-strands" have been told that in particular that they must find ways of closing bases. This is because a new Treasury accounting system known as resource account budgeting penalises departments that hold large amounts of land, something the MoD cannot avoid.

Under proposals put forward by the "work-strands", the RAF would lose all of its 141 Jaguar and Harrier ground attack aircraft, its 39 Puma helicopters and a number of bases.

The Army would lose 50 Challenger II tanks, 50 Warrior armoured personnel carriers, 120 helicopters and a number of bases.

But by far the most controversial of the proposals was the suggestion that two Royal Navy aircraft carriers - Illustrious and Invincible - be laid up and only two frigates sold. Adml West is committed to the new carriers and has infuriated some colleagues by his willingness to sacrifice frigates and destroyers.

Adml West said three Type 42 destroyers and a number of the relatively new Type 23 frigates were likely to be axed. But this was seen as a minimum.

It is far more likely that unless the carriers are laid up, all four of the Type 42 destroyers will go, along with a significant number of frigates.
 
#4
Why not scrap trident, Put nukes (If ever needed against rouge states!) on our Tomahawk, And save about 3 Billion on a weapon system thats never going to be used!
 
#5
Let's scrap the Regular Army altogether, and bring back the home guard.

They are very cheap, and bound to please the nice Mr Brown.
 
#6
These cuts are not because we need a leaner armed forces. They're about Brown's inability to manage the economy, his hatred of spending on defence, and New Labour's cynical attempts to win the lefty vote.

Why is Defence always the target? Why not stop wasting money on ever-increasing numbers of civil servants? Why not manage health and education better so that money isn't wasted as it is now? Why not have an effective policy on immigration that prevents money being wasted on people who shouldn't be here? Why not stop wasting money on public inquiries to appease terrorists? Why not sort out the PC, human rights obsessed legal system, and take real action to cut crime, instead of spending ever more money on social workers and prisons?

Where are the Very Senior Officers' balls when we need them?

New Labour - Old Defence Policy
 
#7
ViroBono, well said sir.

Simon
 
#9
Cpl_ripper said:
Why not scrap trident
What’s the view on scrapping trident or even slashing the nuclear budget? Cold war is over, China is integrating with the global economy and Russia has connections to NATO. Is second-strike capability in this day and age, needed when it is unlikely that any strike on the UK would be of significant size and/or from something that we could actually strike back. Is it worth spending a huge amount of money on what is essentially an outdated prestige weapon.
 
#11
This makes me mad! How does the rt hon president blair expect us to carry out ops in afghanistan, iraq, whichever country georgie w decides to 'liberate' next, as well as carry out commitments to nato and the un, plus ongoing ops around britain with an ever decreasing troops and equipment?
Has this man got ANY common sense? Grrr :evil: :evil:
 
#13
This is because a new Treasury accounting system known as resource account budgeting penalises departments that hold large amounts of land, something the MoD cannot avoid.
?? How stupid is that - land is an asset. It accumulates value - so why bloody sell it off - especially as the government then have to go an rent it of the new owners for a considerably larger fee than what was paid out to maintain it previously.

Idiotic, narrow minded, short sighted f*ckwits.

Do these prats not realise the damage that this will do to morale and the forces effectiveness to do their job. Do they not realise that the world isn't full of people who "want to Chat" about it!!!!

This government are more corrupt and inept than any i can remember - everything they touch goes wrong - just look at health and education (the figures are so bad that the government have instructed the national audit committe and NSO to revise the way that they categorise and display their findings to make the government look better than they should - B.A.S.T.A.R.D.S)
 
#15
ViroBono said:
These cuts are not because we need a leaner armed forces. They're about Brown's inability to manage the economy, his hatred of spending on defence, and New Labour's cynical attempts to win the lefty vote.

Why is Defence always the target? Why not stop wasting money on ever-increasing numbers of civil servants? Why not manage health and education better so that money isn't wasted as it is now? Why not have an effective policy on immigration that prevents money being wasted on people who shouldn't be here? Why not stop wasting money on public inquiries to appease terrorists? Why not sort out the PC, human rights obsessed legal system, and take real action to cut crime, instead of spending ever more money on social workers and prisons?

Where are the Very Senior Officers' balls when we need them?

New Labour - Old Defence Policy

Viro, I am no spokesman for this Govt but as far as I know they are spending more than ever before on Defence and Oliver Letwin's plan is to REDUCE defence spending below what the Govt plans are. They are ALL the same.

People do not like paying taxes & Defence is not cheap. It is a balance and no different from our household budget....no matter what I earn I always spend a bit more than I get each month (and blame the wife for it!).
 
#16
Remember peeps, the Torygraph has a fine record of breaking defence stories that turn out to be utter shite...I call a scare story on this. Most of this, as far as the "workstrands" go, is re-reporting of old news. What matters is which ones they decide to zap.

And yes, it's my view we should give the whole nuclear establishment a dine out and accept that it isn't still 1989.
 
#17
The Army would lose 50 Challenger II tanks, 50 Warrior armoured personnel carriers, 120 helicopters and a number of bases.
Great. Exactly how many helis will that leave us? Not the cleverest thing to do if you are trying to create a "highly mobile force that punched above it's weight" (as we keep being told) you would have thought more helis would have been in order.

And what all this "cut back on activities that create a cash spend" crap. Erm... that would be ALL activities then :evil:
 
#18
What we need to improve this funding malarky is a darn good world war. Who's up for it?

Seriously though back in the days of the cold war and old fashioned war they wouldn't consider scrapping any of our forces unless absolutely necessary, now that the threat is an unseen enemy more resources are allocated to the police, security services and a 'flexible' army that can wipe the enemy out 'swiftly'. If it works then great, but if it carries on the way it is going it only means more work for reservists.
 
#19
To*ssers all of them. More Ops and more overstretch and they decide to do cut backs!

This is only about Brown trying to make up for the cost and on-going cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan etc. Buffoon has no balls to stand up to him as he lost his spinw when he became new Labour and as for the Defence Chiefs of Staff! Where are your gobs! Where are you balls! Make a stand for us before its too late! :evil:
 
#20
Radical plan to save money on the defence budget. :idea:

Use it for defence, not expensive crusades into the selective third world countries, designed to make Bliar look like Churchill. It's not working PM.

The Armed Forces ( Her Majesty's Armed Forces - forget ye that not Prime Minister) are for the defence of the realm and HM's subjects. However sorry anyone feels for the poor saps living under tyranny elsewhere, things are done differently outside the First World. Accept that and we'll save some money.

When you leave the house to chase a burglar, the burglar's mate gets into your unlocked house.
 

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