Implications of defence cuts must be considered at Conservative conference

Party members should look hard at impact of cuts on troops, UK security, trade & manufacturing. A|D|S, the UK’s AeroSpace, Defence and Security trade organisation today (Wednesday) called on the delegates at the Conservative Party conference to ponder the widespread implications of forthcoming defence spending cuts before it is too late.

World-class, battle-winning capabilities for our armed forces are at risk.  Over 300,000 private sector, high-value, sustainable jobs are represented by the UK defence industry with the sector having a reach into almost every Parliamentary constituency across the country.  Only a domestic industry can prioritise our troops’ needs to ensure the delivery of all the equipment that our armed forces need as and how they need it.  Furthermore, the industry delivers the most cost-effective support for that equipment and as an example there are currently 4,000 industry personnel in Afghanistan working with our armed forces.

The call comes ahead of the Conservative Conference’s consideration of defence and foreign affairs later this morning (from 1000).

Ian Godden, Chairman of A|D|S, said:

“The defence budget has been held steady for 20 years while other departments’ budgets have increased by three or four times over the same period.  Cutting the defence budget ahead of that of other departments would risk short-changing our armed forces, weakening our wealth-creating industrial base and diluting our trading strength overseas all at precisely the wrong time.

“Liam Fox and the National Security Council are in a difficult position given the budget pressures already on the Ministry of Defence before the financial crisis and we support their efforts to soften the blow.  The defence sector has been put under further pressure by being asked to carry out a Strategic Defence and Security Review to coincide with the Comprehensive Spending Review.  However, we agree with the House of Commons Defence Select Committee that rightly raised concerns around the haste of the SDSR and the lack of adequate consultation with the UK-based industry that will be asked to deliver future capability for our troops.

“We hope that the Conservative conference delegates will seek to reconcile the need for restructuring with the crucial role that the defence industry plays in the recovery and rebuilding of our economy.  Our frontline armed forces would expect to be supported during a time of war and the industry is right behind them, literally in Afghanistan.  In addition, with 300,000 long-term, high-tech jobs and over £35 billion in revenue to the UK at stake, it is crucial that the SDSR does not put our armed forces or our future national wealth and trading status at risk.”

Departmental budget comparisons using the Treasury’s own figures can be found at;

A|D|S Group Website