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T'graph: "Admiral Lord West: 'The Big Lie Of The Defence Funding 'Black Hole'"

No surprises here. In June 2008, I posted this on ARRSE under the pen name I use over there:

Dunservin 1 June 2008 said:
The MoD's (and I suspect the country's) financial train crash expected in 2012 has been well 'telegraphed':

MOD Website - Defence Spending

The Ministry of Defence is committed to making value for money savings worth £2.7Bn over the CSR period to reinvest in Defence. Initiatives to achieve this include: a 5% year-on-year reduction in the MOD's administrative overhead, including a 25% saving in the Department's Head Office in London and the continued simplification of single Service Budgetary and headquarters structures.

MOD Website - Defence Spending

There have also been reports that changes to the funding of Urgent Operational Requirements (UORs) will affect the defence budget. The Treasury will continue to pay for UORs up front from the reserve budget. In the new Comprehensive Spending Review period, anything over an agreed amount (to be decided in the future) will be split 50:50 with MOD, with MOD repaying their 50% two years later.

£1bn Shortfall will cripple MoD (29 Oct 07)

During the 1980s, up to 4.4 per cent of the UK's GDP was spent on defence. That figure is now just 2.5 per cent. As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), the Government announced that the defence budget would rise from £34 billion next year to £36.9 billion in 2010/11. However, analysis handed to the Defence Select Committee suggests that the Ministry of Defence's spending plans will be around £350 million less than needed for each of the next three years; a shortfall of more than £1 billion in all.

MoD told to pay back Treasury (12 Nov 07)

Ministers will face questions next week about a move to claw back billions of pounds from the over-stretched Armed Forces budget. The Treasury has changed its rules for funding urgent supplies for troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan from its reserve fund, forcing the Ministry of Defence to meet more of the costs itself, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

MoD uses equipment budget for daily costs (17 Dec 07)

Treasury documents show that the Ministry of Defence has been forced to transfer the money out of its capital budget to the fund it uses to pay for front-line operations. The MoD said the money had been transferred to cover the increasing price of fuel used by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It admitted the Treasury was not meeting the higher cost of operations.

Defence spending is lowest since the 1930s (19 Apr 07)

Britain spends less of its wealth on defence than Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey despite the constant demands placed on its Armed Forces, official figures show. According to the Conservatives, defence spending as a proportion of the UK's gross domestic product is at its lowest since 1930, before the UK recognised the rising threat of Nazi Germany.

What with delayed payments for equipment procurement, deferred debts to the Treasury and PFIs requiring settlement, so many of the MoD's chickens will be coming home to roost by the end of this CSR period that it will be neck deep in guano.

Sadly, things deteriorated even more during the following few years with ever more PFI deals (crushingly mortgaging the MoD well into the future), further deferment of equipment delivery dates (thus raising costs) and slashing of numbers (thus increasing unit costs).
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Sadly another talking head who should have made his point whilst still in uniform not when the pension/honours/titles were secured.

The Armed forces as a whole have been dealt a greivious harm by toadying 4 and 5 star ranks who suddenly find a backbone when they retire.
Blobs - Fair comment but what makes you think he didn't in private? I know there were some pretty explosive meetings at high level but, when a public servant is told to get back in his box by the elected government of the day, there is only so much he can achieve.

As for resigning, Admiral Sir John David Luce GCB, DSO* resigned as First Sea Lord in 1966 along with Navy Minister Christopher Mayhew in protest over the decision by Denis Healey, the Labour Secretary of State for Defence, to cancel the CVA-01 aircraft carrier programme. It didn't make a blind bit of difference. The RN lost one of its best men and was penalised by the Government for not 'toeing the line' for many years afterwards.


War Hero
The notion that pensions are conditional on kissing the SoS's arrse or that of his lesser ministers is misplaced. Admiral West was already a knight when he became 1SL, the peerage was a post service enabler to get him into Bliar's cabinet. Only ex Chiefs of the Defence Staff can expect to be ennobled and Admiral Boyce didn't dip out for doing his own thing on behalf of HMAF prior to TELIC.

And another thing. Banjo remains on the Active List and will still be there tomorrow despite gobbing off.
I hear you NG, the sad thing, nay, criminal thing is the MOD when it pulls out of Afganistan will be left with a legacy bill to pay due to being under funded and under equipt when sent in by the Govt in the firtst place. The same Govt will want it's money back and expect the forces to re-train, re-focus for a new and current threat with a budget that includes paying back all the immidiate gizits they've had in advance. On the plus side, whenever we next go to war the lads will have extensive if sparodic training on the kit we'll use because what evers on the shelf now will still be there in 30 years time, I cant see the MOD having the money to move with the times so, todays primary school kids will probably be whinging that their children are being killed whilst serving in the military because they have to use obselete equiptment.
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