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MPs claim UK defense spending on Falklands 50% down in six years

Tuesday, March 2nd 2010 - 22:08 UTC
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Tory MP Andrew Rosindell, secretary of the all-Party Falkland Islands group at Westminster Tory MP Andrew Rosindell, secretary of the all-Party Falkland Islands group at Westminster

Defense spending on protecting the Falkland Islands has plunged by 50% cent in just six years, it was claimed by a report in London’s Daily Mail.

New figures published by the UK government show the budget for stationing the Armed Forces 8,000 miles away from Britain has plummeted from £143million in 2005-06 to £69million in 2010-11.

On Monday MPs warned that the apparent slump in defense spending on the Falklands had encouraged Argentina to raise the pressure over its right to the Islands.

UK Ministry of Defense said the fall was because of changes to 'accounting policy' - omitting costs such as military equipment, servicemen's pay, repairs and communications from the budget.

Defense spending peaked in 1982, the year of the Falklands War, when Argentina invaded the islands before a UK taskforce seized back control.

By 1989-90, the territory's defense budget had slumped to £60million, but by 2000-01 it had more than doubled to £143million - which happened to be the same amount spent in 2005-06. But the following year, it fell to £65million and has risen by just £4million for the financial year starting next month, claimed the newspaper article.

The UK has 1,000-plus troops garrisoned on the islands, plus four state of the art RAF bombers on standby at the international-standard Mount Pleasant airport. Royal Navy ships are also currently on patrol in the South Atlantic.

Andrew Rosindell, the Tory MP and secretary of the all-Party Falkland Islands group at Westminster, said: 'It is dangerous for the Government to give any kind of indication that Britain is not ensuring adequate defenses of the Islands.

'To seemingly cut defense spending while Argentina is saber-rattling sends out a very bad message.'

Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell called for increased defense spending on the Falklands 'to make sure that we are fully prepared, especially as we have a smaller Royal Navy'.
But Armed Forces Minister Bill Rammell said: 'There is some variation between years caused by what categories of expenditure were included.

'For example, in recent years figures do not include military equipment, military personnel pay, service children's education facilities, estate works and maintenance, IT and communication, maritime visits or air charter.'

Last week, the Argentine government tabled a UN resolution condemning Britain for allowing oil exploration off the Falklands.

President Kirchner issued a decree last month forcing ships sailing to the Falklands from Argentina to seek a permit after learning that a rig was to start drilling. She has also secured backing from 32 Latinamerican nations during a meeting in Mexico.

The administration of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner all along has states that Argentina will keep its claims in the framework of international law and based on US resolutions.

“We have no intention of stopping ships in high seas. We’re not in that business”, Mrs. Kirchner was quoted a week ago.

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  • Hoytred

    The British have plenty of well trained and battle hardened troops in the Middle East should we need them ....... and if the Americans try to get involved those troops may suddenly become very available !

    Mar 03rd, 2010 - 01:30 am 0
  • Geoff

    I'm sure the Tory MP didn't say“..cut defense spending whilst Argentina is saber rattling....”. He would have said“...cut DEFENCE spending whilst Argentina is SABRE rattling...”
    Also this article is poorly researched. The difference in Defence spending has to be due to the accounting. No significant cuts have been made in Forces or equipment numbers on the ground or at sea-if anything Defence is significantly enhanced by the Typhhon fighters that have replaced the Tornado. Also the Typhoon is predominantly an air defence/air superiority fighter-not a 'bomber' although it does have an air to ground capability.

    Mar 10th, 2010 - 10:11 am 0
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