Don’t squeeze defence to pay for foreign aid..

Don’t squeeze defence to pay for foreign aid, warns ex-security chief
Times Online Link
Britain’s newly retired intelligence supremo has questioned whether the country spends too much money trying to alleviate poverty in the Third World and not enough on its own defence.

Sir Richard Mottram, who was chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and the Government’s security and intelligence co-ordinator until his retirement last month, has revealed his concern that the current “squeeze” on the defence budget could have repercussions for the fight against international terrorism.

In his first public address since leaving the posts, Sir Richard questioned whether the Treasury had given sufficient funds to the MoD and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to play a proper role in tackling the threat from al-Qaeda.

He pointedly referred to the significant extra resources that have been given to the Department for International Development to help to fight global proverty.

Giving the annual Demos security lecture, Sir Richard said: “It would perhaps not be revealing a great secret to add that the rest of Whitehall, particularly in the international sphere, has looked on enviously as extra resources have been allocated to DfID in successive spending reviews and wondered if this represented the best use of scarce resources.”

Sir Richard, a former Permanent Secretary at the MoD, added: “As the administrative and broader budgets of MoD and the FCO come under pressure, there is a risk that their contributions to wider Government effort on security issues and intelligence will be squeezed at the same time as Government is investing more elsewhere in related fields.” Under this year’s Comprehensive Spending Review, the MoD’s budget is to rise by 1.5 per cent in real terms in each of the next three years, lifting expenditure from £33.4 billion to £36.9 billion. The Foreign Office budget will rise by only £100 million over the next three years, from £1.6 billion to £1.7 billion. But the DfID’s budget is rising by 11 per cent each year over the same period, increasing from £5.4 billion to £7.9 billion in 2010.
Nice to hear someone fairly senior (well not anymore I suppose) raising such questions about defence spending.

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