Tory U-turn on defence cuts

This from today's Times. This from the people who started the cuts back in 1994.

By Michael Evans, Defence Editor

THE Conservatives reversed their policy to freeze defence spending yesterday, and announced a scheme by which efficiency savings made by other Whitehall departments would be handed over to the Armed Forces.

The only ministries exempted would be health and education, Nicholas Soames, the Shadow Defence Secretary, said. The deal for more money for the “grossly overstretched Armed Forces” had been agreed by all his fellow shadow ministers, Mr Soames said. As a result, a Tory Government would spend £2.7 billion more than Labour on frontline defence up to 2008.

He accused the Ministry of Defence and two key agencies — the Defence Logistics Agency and the Defence Procurement Agency — of wasting huge sums in bureaucracy. A lot of “sacred cows were going to be slaughtered”, he said.

With the money from other government department’s savings and efficiency moves at the MoD, Mr Soames said that he would reinstate the four battalions of infantry that Labour announced in July that it would axe. This would increase the Army by 5,000.

Mr Soames also said that he would scrap the idea of merging the smallest regiments into larger formations, as outlined in July by General Sir Mike Jackson, the Chief of the General Staff.

Mr Soames, a former Defence Minister and former 2nd lieutenant in the 11th Hussars, said: “We find ourselves in profound and respectful disagreement with the Army Board. We’re not going to cut the infantry at a time when its obligations have never been greater.”

The Tories’ announcement came after a review by David James, the former boss of the Dome, who has identified potential savings across Whitehall, including £1.6 billion from “back office elements of the MoD budget”. The other £1.1 billion to be earmarked for defence would come from the rest of Whitehall.
Interesting, and from a former 2Lt too...
Even if the Tories have had a change of heart, can anyone see the Sir Humphreys of this world meekly implementing a cull of parts of their own empire in Whitehall? Grasping Gordon's been trying to achieve a cut in civil service numbers for the past few years with a singular lack of success.

"Cutbacks, Minister? Well, we'll have to set up a consultative committee to advise on a commission to identify possible areas of surplus capacity or duplication. We could have a report on your desk in say......four or five years."

The permanent civil service IS the Establishment. Politicians come and go. The Whitehall mandarins are there through regime changes and wield the real power to delay, obfuscate and frustrate.

That apart, remember Options for Change, Front Line First(a real joke), SDR? Weasel words, methinks.
the fundamental flaw in this , is that a tory has proposed it , like you say without "dear maggie" (the mad old cnut) this wouldn't be as advanced as it is now , i wouldn't trust a sleazy tory as far as i could throw him/her , and in fatty soames' case that would be zero inches !!!
We did an ex on salsbury plain in 69 and Soames was a subby with the armourd squadron. must be honest i thought he was shiny tenth!


bodyarmour said:
I Wonder what is BFT Time was ?
The only way fatboy Soames would ever have passed a BFT is if he'd been allowed to do it vertically after being thrown from a plane :)
And yet.................... 8O so why are we making snide comments about Mr Soames when what he has proposed is in our interest............ :?

If your still serving then I think that such proposals might well carry some those of you who are out....with respect you are not carrying the burden of shoite eqpmt and the operational merry go round anymore.

Harrumph if you like....your not in and we are and we are the ones livivng with the crap :D :D :wink:
Better than nothing I suppose. At least the intention to help is there.

Labour know no mercy, lib/dem have no clue and the BNP will axe the gurkhas and send all the immigrants "home".

Greens might finance electric tanks but I'm not convinced they would have quite the same psychological impact. Organic hemp dress uniforms anyone?
Letterwritingman said:
And yet.................... 8O so why are we making snide comments about Mr Soames when what he has proposed is in our interest............ :?:
'Cos he's a politician. You can tell he's lying when his lips move(when he ain't stuffing his fat face, that is.) By definition and the history of his party's broken promises to the forces, he's just another opportunist carpet-bagger trying to cash in on an issue of the moment. Do you seriously imagine he'd keep his word in the unlikely event his mob got back into power? Porco volante!
Soames - Minister of Food, early nineties...thanks for the BSE! So - now, the Tories are committed to spend whatever Labour would on health and education whilst cutting government spending overall, but also giving more to defence. I notice Fatty didn't give any numbers, just this gabble about efficiency savings. Probably sensible, as the one thing everyone knows about "efficiency savings" is that they always = whatever the politician involved needs to fill in the books exactly and never arrive.
Would be quite possible - all they have to do is get rid of a lot of the excessive middle managers, fire some of the budgetally incompetant senior managers and stop buggering around with new contradictory policies every other month.

(They could also save vast amounts and cut disease by ripping out all the carpets in wards and corridors within NHS hospitals and replace them with mop-able floors - instant removal of a major disease fermation area and reduction in maintenance costs).

People are never fired in either education or the NHS they are just moved to another job, where they can continue to screw things up without being accountable...

Biggest thing about efficiency saving is that they remove the time / budget / staff that is used on maintenance activities to keep things running smoothly and then reallocate it to directors salaries - this means that buildings, equipment etc are run till they are broken down beyond repair and then replaced at a huge financial cost...the joys of blairite / brownite economics :evil:
So it looks likely that my home regiment, The Royal Scots will get the chop?

The oldest regiment in the British Army and a history second to none.

It really gripes my shiit that this New TBLiabour are so willing to destroy anything military in their quest of their new Britain.

They first did away with the Royal Tournament, the Field Gun crews now some of the most historic regiments we have. Whats next? Replace us all with socalist soldiers whose loyality to the Dear Leader is unquestionable?

I am off to my walk-in fridge for the second time in 2 days :evil:


War Hero
Book Reviewer
It does not really matter what Howard or Soames say, don't say or are 'confused' about. There is not chance of these tossers getting into Government anyway. Until a credible party comes along to oust NeuArbeit Labour we are stuck with them. BTW PtP Lib Dems are not a credible party for Government IMOH. :wink:

Still once the great British populace hear about the Arrse Party then all will change.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
dui-lai said:
So it looks likely that my home regiment, The Royal Scots will get the chop?

The oldest regiment in the British Army and a history second to none.
Thank you for that DL. It was, and I feel still is, my Regiment so my emotions are quite high at present. They are not quite the oldest Regt in the British Army as the Monmouth Engineer (TA) are. Still we are the oldest foot Regiment and were established long before any of the Guards were even thought about. The next senior Regt were the Royal West Kents but they have disappeared in various amalgamations to become 1st Bn PWRR, I think.

It looks like a done deal now and for me that is very sad. I am not looking forward to the farewell parades and amalgamation parade.
sandy_boots said:
I don't think there'll be an amalgamation parade. I believe that 1RS will do the honourable thing and disband. 1GH intend to do likewise I understand.
Interesting, didn't see that in the Regtl Colonels' recommendations, as reported. Logically, RS disbanding would leave KOSB in being.

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