We need investment, not cuts, for the Armed Forces

Published Mar 31, 2017

bill3.pngUKIP Defence Spokesman Bill Etheridge has slammed a decision by politicians to force the Army to cut £10bn from the defence budget over the next decade calling it "irresponsible and illogical."

Mr Etheridge said the decision to make the Army and the Navy "scrap it out" for funding was "bad government" and "all of our Armed Forces should be properly funded."

"This failed policy of pushing the 'soft power' of foreign aid rather than hard power of a properly defended country is an irresponsible and illogical policy which has not worked so far and will continue to fail.

"Only this week there were rumours that our helicopter carrier HMS Ocean was being sold to Brazil: this is part of 3 Commando brigade which are one of our two brigades who can rapidly deploy to theatre. Are we only going to be left with one?

"Instead of hiding behind this bureaucratic shield that the government are meeting the NATO targets of 2% of GDP we need urgent investment in the military, which the Army's own think tank concluded would be unable to withstand an attack from Russia for longer than an afternoon.

The report by the Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research based at Sandhurst concluded that the UK would be unable to deploy more than a brigade of between 5000 to 10000 troops following the consistent cuts faced by the Armed Forces.

"The government needs to stop blaming Brexit, stop blaming the value of sterling and stop obsessing about ring fencing our foreign aid budget and realise that they need to end this policy of attacking our own defences," Mr Etheridge added.

"The Annual Budget Cycle for 2017 should never have been turned into a fight between the Army and the Navy over who gets funding and I am glad that following last week's briefing, some top brass have finally spoken out.

"Personally I think the cuts that need making are in the political division of the Ministry of Defence: Sir Michael Fallon appears happy to allow his department to take the brunt of the cuts in public spending whilst other departments remain bloated.

"He is not fit for purpose and he should go before he consigns our military to the same fate."

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