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Hammond: “no going back” on defence cuts and “it will not be easy or pain-free”

Thursday, December 8th 2011 - 20:26 UTC
Full article 9 comments
Labour Defence ‘fantasy’ budgets had ‘spiralled out of control” according to Hammond Labour Defence ‘fantasy’ budgets had ‘spiralled out of control” according to Hammond

The UK Defence secretary Philip Hammond issued a sharp warning that there can be ‘no going back’ on the government’s cuts to the armed forces made in last year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

In his first major speech since taking over following the resignation of Liam Fox, he voiced his determination not to compromise current operations or to constrain future defence capability.

But he stressed that only by tackling the £38bn ‘black hole’ in the defence budget can the UK’s military capabilities be sustained over the long term.

‘Unpicking the SDSR piece by piece is simply not an option,’ he said.

‘This year, our armed forces have shown that - even with the enduring campaign in Afghanistan - they have the capability and the capacity to respond when the national interest requires,’ he said.

Hammond said after the defence budget ‘spiralled out of control’ under the former Labour government, ministers had to take action if the military was not to continue a ‘hand to mouth existence’.

Responding to critics who say the military is becoming too stretched, Mr Hammond said: ‘I am clear that the purpose of the Ministry of Defence isn’t simply to balance the books; it exists to defend the country.

‘But the situation we face now - after the years of political failure to grip the problem - is that eliminating the black hole in the defence budget is the only way to sustain military capability over the long-term.

‘If we don’t reshape now we won’t be in a position to order new equipment in the future. Our challenge is to move from the fantasy budgets of the past to firm foundations for the future.

‘This is a transition that is essential to the future of defence - but no-one should be under any illusion that it will be easy or pain-free”.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

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  • briton

    Never in the annuals, of history, has a great country been self harmed and gutted, by its very own gutless incompetent corrupt, selfish government MPs and the like,
    Than the British self retched politicians
    They should be ashamed, careless bunch of no hopers,
    At this bloody rate, they will be asking our enemies
    To give us at least six weeks notice of any action,,
    But their fxck ups will again have to be sorted out by British men and women
    Willing to give their lives, for someone’s freedom,
    Whilst the politicians say [sorry]
    Perhaps if those same politicians were the first to be sent to the bloody Front of any action,
    Then perhaps our brave countrymen would have the ships planes troops and the right equipment to do the bloody job properly,
    Just a angry thought.

    Dec 08th, 2011 - 11:55 pm 0
  • MichaelLocke

    I've always believed that you should be required to serve in order to land any defence-related job.

    Dec 09th, 2011 - 12:46 am 0
  • Redhoyt

    It was defence cuts leading up to 1770 that very nearly got us into a war with Spain over the Falklands.

    It was defence cuts in the early 1980's that gave Argentina the bottle to try a second invasion of the Falklands.

    So, who will it be this time, that fancies their chances ??

    Dec 09th, 2011 - 02:30 am 0
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