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David Cameron under pressure to re-think MoD cuts

23/03/2011

David Cameron’s former military adviser urges the government to review defence cuts in light of the Middle East crisis.

The coalition government has come under pressure to consider how cuts will affect the Ministry of Defence (MoD) given the fact that Britain has taken a leading role enforcing the no fly zone in Libya.

Lord Dannatt, a former Chief of the General Staff, told Sky News it was time to look again at the £4.7billion cuts in the Ministry of Defence’s budget: “In any changing dynamic set of circumstances, it is right for the government of the day to review its past decisions.”

“Quite clearly the situation in North Africa and the Middle East does constitute changed circumstances. At the very least, I think the National Security Council, Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office ought to make sure that the decisions taken last autumn still stand up and are credible in the light of where we are this spring.”

Autumn’s Strategic Defence Review announced that the MoD will reduce its expenditure by eight percent over the next four years to help reduce the £38bn black hole in the Ministry of Defence’s budget.

Two RAF Tornado squadrons, which carried out missile strikes against the Libyan leader’s air defences, will be disbanded in June and RAF Marham in Norfolk, the air base used to launch the bombing raids, also faces closure.

The frigate HMS Cumberland was on its way to the scrapheap before being called to help the coalition effort in Libya.

Chancellor George Osborne repeated in an interview on Sunday that he would not reopen the defence review.

The MoD has declined to release official estimates of how much the air offensive is costing the taxpayer. But experts say the use of expensive cruise missiles and long-range jet fighter missions means the MoD is running up a steep bill.

In a statement on Monday the Treasury announced that the costs of the Libya campaign could potentially be claimed back from the UK government’s special reserves.

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