Folks, these are the cuts of the former CDS's speeches. Read in detail what they're saying and you see how bad it really is for us. I'm going to multipart this so we get the words out. The link to the whole speech is here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldtoday/05.htm Lord Boyce: My Lords, I too welcome this debate. It allows me to pay tribute to all our armed services for the outstanding work they are doing, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but also all around the world. They are rightly admired in all quarters for how they go about their business, whether it is war fighting, peace keeping or defence diplomacy, and this country derives huge hidden benefits from that in all sorts of ways. In particularthis can be inferred from the speech of the Minister in the debate on the humble Addresswhen this Government have been sitting at various international top tables, they have been especially pleased to bask in the glow of the fine reputation of our Armed Forces as they have engaged over the past 10 years in levels of activity that far exceed defence planning assumptions. But I am afraid that the merciless trading on the good will and professionalism of our soldiers, sailors and airmen has not been matched by anything remotely approaching the same level of commitment by the Government in cash or in kind. We see this best when observing the deflation of the defence budget as a percentage of gross domestic product versus inflation in activity against the assumptions of our defence policy, and inflation in the cost of defence equipment, which is running at something in the order of 8 to 12 per cent. And the so-called year-on-year increases that the Government continue to boast about have first to be measured against the initial under-funding of the defence aspirations set out in the Strategic Defence Review. It is an absolute fact that none of the year-on-year increases has closed that initial gap, let alone provided for the concomitant rise needed to match the soaring levels of activity which are taking a matching toll on man and machine. As for the derisory Comprehensive Spending Review settlement that defence was given in July, let us examine the detail of that 1.5 per cent budget increase that the Government were so pleased to announce. First, the Minister will no doubt be extremely reluctant to remind us that the replacement strategic deterrent will have to be absorbed into that 1.5 per cent. This really does display a cynical observance of the promise made by the then Prime Minister that the cost of the Trident replacement would, not be at the expense of the conventional capabilities that our armed forces need.[Official Report, Commons, 4/6/06; col. 23.] I said in this House at the time of the debate on the nuclear deterrent replacement that: We will have to examine the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review with great care to see whether the Prime Minister has kept his word.[Official Report, 24/1/07; col. 1163.] I leave your Lordships to draw your own conclusions. But further to this, can the Minister confirm that the ring-fenced defence modernisation fund and the operational welfare package benefits that the Secretary of State for Defence was trumpeting about in last weeks Sunday Telegraph are also to come out of that 1.5 per cent? I submit that they are, and the fact is that the smoke and mirrors work of the Government, and in particular the Treasury, actually means that the core defence programme has had no effective budget rise at all. If one could cut to the truth, which is a really challenging task, we would find that it is in fact negative, especially if one extracts the £550 million to be spent on slum accommodation that should have replaced years ago. This negative budget is why, if you go to the Ministry of Defence today, you will find blood on the floor as the system slashes the defence programme to meet what is a desperate funding situation. You will findI know thismeasures being examined to cut the future equipment programme, as well as reducing the present front line and its support. I fear in particular for the Royal Navy, where already the destroyer/frigate force level has haemorrhaged to 25 from the required 32 set out in the Strategic Defence Review of nine years ago. It seems that further reductions are likely, and these on a fleet that is still damaged by the savage moratorium on fleet support that was instigated by this Government a couple of years ago and from which, although lifted earlier this year, it will take at least a decade to recover, if at all. Incidentally, I hope that the Minister can assure us that the Ministry of Defence is still not clinging to the strategically illiterate opinion that network enabled capability allows for a reduction in basic force numbers. Such a theory, of which Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was such an unfortunate and dangerous exponent, has been comprehensively trashed by experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. Network enabled capability and force reduction certainly do not apply in the maritime domain where I remain to be convinced that the Ministry of Defence has woken up to the fact that a ship cannot be in two places at the same time, and that the importance of presence, which is so fundamental to conflict prevention, demands more and not fewer hulls. On thatif the Minister does not already know, she will find outthis Government have ordered only eight warships since 1997, of which only four were destroyers and frigates. In the same period, 57 ships have been disposed of, of which 13 were destroyers and frigates, the workhorses of the fleet. Some of those disposed of were in fact younger than the ships they replaced. I believe that the destroyer/frigate level is far too low to meet the challenges of the long term. Perhaps the Minister can tell us what is going to happen to Nos. 7 and 8 Type 45 destroyers, and whether the Future Surface Combatant will be brought into service to fill the place of the Type 23s as they start to age out in the next decade? On further specifics, such as the equipment for our people in theatre in Afghanistan and Iraq, no doubt the Minister will trot out the line that all they require has been met, as the Secretary of State attempted to imply in another part of his piece in the Sunday Telegraph. However, let us remind ourselves that to achieve this, some £2.2 billion has had to be spent on urgent operational requirements, demonstrating the impoverishment of the defence programme. But what the Prime Minister, the Treasury and Defence Ministers need to realise is that, as the noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, said, we are seriously endangering our people because of the lack of money being given to equip, train and support properly those in the second line preparing to rotate to the front line, not least because such units have been robbedI use the word advisedly because it is a technical expression for cannibalising, known as store robbingof the equipment they need to train on so as to arrive in theatre properly prepared; and they have been robbed of that equipment because it has been used to furnish those already in the front line. The additional danger into which this puts our Armed Forces is entirely down to a shortage of cash, a shortage that could easily be remedied if the Government was so minded. Let me turn for a moment to the future. I worry that, with the inadequate budget that the Armed Forces have, there will be a not unnatural focus on shoring up what is required to fight todays war. The noble Baroness, Lady Park of Monmouth, to whom I am also grateful for having initiated the debate today, has already mentioned this. We are at serious risk of undermining what we may require to fight tomorrows war, and we can be fairly sure it will not be the same war as we are engaged in today in Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope that there is recognition of the need to think beyond a hand-to-mouth policy, which is where we are today. Let me, for example, dwell on the sea. It remains the way by which the world conducts most of its trade; it is the only undisputed access to areas of strategic interest that can be guaranteed; and it remains crucial to the United Kingdoms economic vitality and ability to protect our interests. Early crisis management cannot depend on host nation support and over-flying rights, and maritime forces are likely to be the principal way to apply decisive influence and force in any early stages of a crisis. However, I suspect that with the overall shortage of money for defence, there is a danger of the Navy being raided to pay for todays land-centric operations. I ask the Minister to reassure the House that this fear is not justified. The message is clear: the Government, especially the Treasury, still have a completely peacetime mentality. For all the Governments platitudes about commitment and caring for our Armed Forces, the visible sign of this is conspicuous by its absence when we see a budget that so inadequately resources our Armed Forces levels of activity. Certainly commitment is starkly absent when we see the appointment of Ministers who are not devoted solely to their task, as shown by the double-hatting of the Secretary of State and the previous Minister for Defence Equipment and Support. I make absolutely no apology for raising this subject again; it is very serious. It is seen as an insult by our sailors, soldiers and airmen on the front lineI know because I often have reason to speak to themand it is certainly a demonstration of the disinterest and, some might say, contempt that the Prime Minister and his Government have for our Armed Forces. It shows an appalling lack of judgment at a time when our people are being killed and maimed. It is not for nothing that the Chief of the General Staff has said that his people feel undervalued. They really do deserve far better from the Government.