Magazine article Public Finance

Cameron Slashes 8% from Defence Budget

Magazine article Public Finance

Cameron Slashes 8% from Defence Budget

Article excerpt

Prime Minister David Cameron slammed the 'appalling legacy' of Labour's defence procurement practices, as he revealed an 8% cut to the Ministry of Defence budget over the next four years.

Presenting the Strategic Defence & Security Review to the House of Commons on October 19, Cameron said the previous government 'got it badly wrong' when it ordered two new aircraft carriers.

There's only one thing worse tli an spending money you don't have/ he told Parliament 'and that's buying the wrong things with it - and doing so in the wrong way/

The vessels are currently expected to have a combined cost of £5bn - but Cameron argued that the contract for the second carrier would be more expensive to cancel than to continue with. He also revealed that only one would be deployed folly, with the other in effect mothballed, being held on 'extended readiness'.

Cameron criticised his predecessors for not ordering new aircraft to arrive at the same time as the carriers. He announced that the Harrier jump jet is to be 'retired' - but its replacement on the UK's aircraft carriers, the Joint Strike Fighter, will not be ready until 2020.

'That is the legacy we inherited - an appalling legacy the British people have every right to be angry about' he told the Commons.

Cameron also criticised his predecessors' handling of the Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft programme, which he announced would be cancelled.

The programme has cost more than £3bn, is eight years late, and the cost per aircraft has ballooned by more than 200%. …

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