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Cameron: defence spending is protected. Hammond: no it isn’t

31 January 2013

After Cabinet tensions on the matter, David Cameron was trying to reassure those worried about further defence cuts while visiting Algeria. The Telegraph reports a senior government source saying the Prime Minister will honour his pledge to increase defence spending from 2015. The source told the newspaper:

‘The Prime Minister does not resile from anything he has said about defence.’

But rather less reassuringly, Philip Hammond decided to clarify that reassurance this morning. The Defence Secretary told Sky News that the PM was only referring to the equipment budget, and that he would continue to make the argument for maintaining the ‘resources that we need to deliver Future Force 2020′:

‘I think what the Prime Minister was referring to was the pledge that was made – which Treasury ministers have repeated – that the equipment plan, the part of the defence budget which funds equipment, will rise by 1 per cent a year in real terms after 2015. And the Treasury has re-confirmed that commitment since the announcements in the Autumn Statement.’


He then added that when it comes to negotiations for the 2015/16 spending review, ‘I will be arguing the case in that spending review to maintain the resources that we need to deliver Future Force 2020′.

The PM’s reiteration of his pledge was partly designed to placate military chiefs worried that another round of cuts would hit the special forces. But if Hammond’s clarification is right, though equipment spending is important, that fear about long-term damage to the SAS will continue to grow.

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  • SmithersJones2013

    Given that dysfunction seems to be the normal state of government these days (SNAFU) possibly the most noticeable thing about this piece is using the crass branding of ‘Future Force 2020′. Is this seriously the pitiful level that the British Government has delved to? Gerry & Sylvia Anderson thought of better names for their puppet shows in the 1960’s. Talking of puppets……..

    • Colonel Mustard

      SNAFU? I see your SNAFU and raise you FUBAR.

  • Tom Tom

    The main thing is to cover the disastrous procurement of the MILITARY chiefs with projects such as FRES and cover for Lord Dannat etc even if it means resoprting to part-time TA volunteers to carry rifles and do SAS training so that Defence Conractors continue to offer good retirement jobs to senior officers who have never done any actual fighting beyond wargaming

  • dalai guevara

    Defense spending protected – no it isn’t
    no NHS cuts – yes there bleeding are
    Debt growth halted – no we haven’t
    Austerity – what austerity
    This government will enter the history books for being the least decisive government in post-war history. Then again, there is a second scenario:

    Nuclear power – why continue to subsidies it, now that storage cannot be resolved and cheaper forms of energy are abundant?
    Trident – why keep this outdated deterrent that was never more than a joke? Let’s face it, we always needed the US…Enter the history books for halting the biggest money wasting scheme in post war history.

    What will the legacy be?

    • Colonel Mustard

      Actually the need for the US was kind of manufactured by the US.

      • dalai guevara

        a manufactured reality, I give you that.

    • Tom Tom

      DEFENCE this side of the Atlantic

      • dalai guevara

        A change in emphasis indeed, as I do not recall the late General Schwarzkopf taking British citizenship before sorting out our former colony.

  • lee taylor

    Come off it Isabel.
    The PM was never directly quoted as making any kind of pledge yesterday.
    In fact the only time I can find where he made any pledge to increase spending was in July 2011 when he said that equipment spending would go up by 1% after 2015 which was later reinterated on the 7th December 2011.
    Phillip Hammond is just reinterating that same pledge today.
    At no point has either the PM or anyone else for that mater ever said that the whole budget would go up by 1% and you know it.
    To claim otherwise is deeply dishonest of you Isabel.

    • HooksLaw

      Careful – the truth and common sense are not treated well in these pages.

      The equipment budget goes up 1% in a protected defence budget. The defence budget even so will have to, like the rest of the government. continue to make efficiencies.

      The NHS are currently going through 20 billion efficiencies programme. All as outlined in the manifesto – the labour party manifesto.

      Meantime the defence chiefs who were complicit with labour over making an absolute horlicks of the defence budget launch scare stories about the SAS. So concerned are they about the SAS that they commit us to 2 giant aircraft carriers and billions worth of exotic aircraft instead.

      • lee taylor

        It’s not treated well anywhere it seems.
        The hacks no how easy it is to provoke criticism where even they know it isn’t really warranted.

      • Tom Tom
      • Tom Tom

        “The NHS are currently going through 20 billion efficiencies programme.” I doubt it will be “efficiency” simply cost-saving. The management calibre is dire in the NHS and it has no interest in efficiency simply turf wars and contractor straitjackets of PFI

  • Russell

    Another non-story of a split which isn’t there from Isobel!

    Cameron previously stated defence spending will rise year on year after 2015 and a government spokesman says nothing has changed.

    The defence minister says the equipment plan (which is part of the defence budget) will rise year on year after 2015.
    As expected from this journalist an attempt to spin a non event and reflect badly on the Conservatives/Cameron.

    • lee taylor

      Exactly. ‘after 2015′ usually means 2016 and beyond to most people but it seems Isabel and her fellow hacks don’t understand basic English.

    • telemachus

      There is a split
      Cameron rightly wants good kit with its economic spinoff
      Hammond wants folk- he is already in the pockets of the Generals

  • William Haworth

    The SAS takes about 1 in 100, or about 1 in 10 of those who actually have the courage to try Selection. If they haven’t got enough to select from, how can they have enough men to do the jobs that they’re asked to do? It’s not rocket science, but it seems to be beyond the Coalition.

    It’s all down to the apparent fact that the first duty of Government is to provide benefit payments for Polish children and anyone else who turns up, rather than the protection of the British people from external threats.

    • telemachus

      Disingenuous sir
      The type of folk who end up in the SAS will enter the forces anyway and then the stats will be 1 in 80 or similar
      We do not want or need more soldiers to massage Blair/Cameron egos around the world

      • Colonel Mustard

        You have a fundamental misperception of the military and especially of the notion of an elite and how it is formed. It is not just about numbers.

        As for Blair (Labour) and Cameron (emulating Labour) the old adage was never more true. Speak softly but carry a big stick. Both were/are intent on speaking loudly – and too much – whilst paying scant regard (or treasure) for the stick they carry and which they insist on using at every possible opportunity, no matter how weak the justification. That way lies national humiliation – as we have seen.

        The idea that soldiers massage the egos of those two is preposterous. Over promoted defence bureaucrats wearing uniforms in Whitehall might have told them what they wanted to hear but soldiers? No. More factually both were/are too immature and ignorant of the realities of warfare, seeing the commitment to it in terms of such moral simplification as to recklessly endanger not just the lives of our soldiers but of the nation itself.

        • telemachus

          I genuinely think you misunderstand what I meant
          The egos are massaged by foreign adventures and they need troops
          We watched the revisionist Blair glorying in his Afghan adventures and the Iraqi debacle. We were askance at the triumphalism of Cameron in Libya ending in the inglorious television pictures of the demise of the Colonel
          Let us let the numbers whither to a norm for our size and position of peace and stability

        • Tom Tom

          The reality is that Clinton told Blair to stick close to Bush who went intio election pre-9/11 wanting to shrink the US defence footprint and close foreign bases. But for Bin Laden the Us would have withdrawn which is why the Document The New American Century was drawn up to keep Bush engaged globally – he wanted to end Clinton’s “nation-building” initiatives and that scared the Europeans. Blair basically sold Britain as a mercenary army to keep the US on board because without the US military allioance Britain has nothing. Obama is now fed up of being dragged into Libya, Syria etc by France and Britain whise military are trying to resist defence cuts. If Hammond wants to save money he should revoke Brown’s stupidity of levying a capitral charge on MoD Inventory which is what has caused major kit shortages

          • telemachus

            In other words the troops massage the Blair/Cameron ego
            Kit shortages are due to over stretching the troops number wise and money wise therefore pinching the kit budget
            Brown who had the country interests at heart never embarked on ego massaging

      • Tom Tom

        Cretin. It is T R A I N I N G that requires T I M E and they don;t have it. You don’t simply waltz into these units

  • Guru McKenzie

    J.o.i.n.e. d U.p G.o.v.e.r.n.m.e.n t

  • George_Arseborne

    Confusion! Confusion! Confusion! Cameron keep running his mouth all the time without thinking. What sort of a PM is this. This nation since 2010 has been govern in a half baked policies manner.Cameron never got a vision and does not have a clue on what a Prime Minister is. We aare doomed until 2015

  • Colonel Mustard

    Is ‘resile’ a new bubble buzz word? It seems to be creeping in everywhere with usage slightly misconceived from its original meaning.

  • The Red Bladder

    Oh dear – when thieves fall out eh?

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