Tuesday, March 13, 2012

PR12 - More UK Defence Cuts?

(Philip Hammond: likely to make sure a balance sheet does. Good for him!)

Parliament rises on the 26th of March - it's taking a break until the 16th of April for Easter and constituency business. And before the Recess, it is expected that Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond will address the Commons to announce the outputs of the 2012 MoD Planning Round (known as PR12)  and explain how the MoD's budget has been trimmed from Liam Fox's being "broadly in balance" to actually, well, er, actually being in balance. And to do so with no increases in funding, and presumably with no clear source of magic pixie dust that reduces the costs of military equipment. 

In other words, there are going to be more cuts. In fact, I hear that something like between £3bn and £5bn is likely to be cut from the forward programme. We look forward to understanding how this is going to work out - it is most likely that this will not be outright cancellation of existing contracts (gets very expensive) but is much more likely to be those projects that haven't been signed - but which the forces are expecting to get. Ouch.

Let's see what they come up with - but it makes the case for retaining the Trident replacement programme at £25 - £33bn whilst taking more cuts in the conventional forces ever weaker.

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