The Armed Forces Minister today has stated that he agree with a select committee recommendation that the budget for the armed forces must increase in real terms due to current commitments in Libya even with a long term withdrawal from Afghanistan. Mr Harvey has said that the current situation means the armed forces are being worked harder, however was quick to confirm they were not being overstretched.
This comes at a pivotal time for Britain in the Libyan conflict, as more pressure is mounted on the Government to make decisions on the extent to which they are willing to back rebel forces on the ground in their fight against Colonel Gaddafi. Nucleus has already calls for decisions to be made and for a stronger line towards Gaddafi over the past weeks. This news comes as a welcome sign that those in the know are willing to make the effort to stand behind the military if the conflict worsens and if we do become involved directly in the war.
What the politicians say...
The Rt. Hon. Liam Fox MP, Defence Secretary - "The Committee is also right to say that Future Force 2020 is only achievable with extra funding. That is why I announced two weeks ago that the military equipment budget will rise in real terms by over £3bn between 2015 and 2020, with new helicopters being ordered, new money for our armoured vehicles, the carrier programme, and guaranteed spending on the Joint Strike Fighter. Our future equipment programme is no longer an unfunded aspiration but one that provides real money for real equipment...We continue to have the fourth largest military budget in the world and the SDSR has put Defence back on a stable footing with highly capable Armed Forces and certainty for our personnel and their families. I am pushing through radical reform to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated"
What the papers say...
Speaking on Radio 4's Today Programme Mr Harvey said he agreed with James Arbuthnot, the chairman of the defence select committee, that increases in real terms would be needed to meet the aspirations of the recent defence review. The Telegraph
Those in Westminster are fond of describing this or that report from a select committee as "damning" in its criticism of government policy. On this occasion, it's deserved because the defence committee has essentially driven a coach and horses through the coalition's defence of the Strategic Defence and Security Review. Sky News