Mil News Army Cost cutting

John A Silkstone

Mi General
MI.Net Member
Jul 11, 2004
Armed Forces 'sent to war without adequate training' due to cost-cuts
Armed Forces personnel are being sent into war zones without proper training because of cost-cutting, the Conservatives have claimed.

Nearly 10 per cent of scheduled training exercises were cancelled in 2008.

Ministry of Defence figures show that 30 per cent of training exercise cancellations in the past year were put down to "savings measures".

Other operations were cancelled because of "operational commitments" and a lack of troops, resources or equipment because of overstretch in Iraq and Afghanistan, and instability in host countries such as Kenya and Georgia.

Dr Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, said the figures were another sign of Labour's failure to prioritise defence spending at a time of severe need.

It comes in the same month as the Government announced it would delay or scale back a number of major defence projects including the construction of new aircraft carriers, despite pledging to increase public spending in other areas to kickstart the economy.

The revelation also follows a series of inquest verdicts in which a lack of proper training has been cited as a factor in military deaths, including at the recent hearing into two servicemen killed in a Puma helicopter collision in Iraq.

Dr Fox said: "Shortcuts in training can lead to errors on the battlefield. At a time when our Armed Forces are engaged in two wars, they need the best training possible to prepare them for action.

"Cancelling exercises to save money is yet more evidence of Labour's chronic under-investment in defence over the last decade."

Responding to a Parliamentary Question from Dr Fox, Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth told the Commons that of the 584 training exercises scheduled to take place in 2008, 55 – nearly 10 per cent – were cancelled. Of these, 17 cancellations were down to "savings measures" while at least nine were cancelled because of a lack of availability of equipment or troops.

However, the proportion of cancellations attributable to savings measures was slightly lower than in 2007, when 38 per cent, or 29 out of 76 were scrapped as a result of budget cuts.

A spokesman for the MoD insisted that the cancellations were not because of the tight defence budget since training costs are dealt with separately.

She said: "Our armed forces receive the very best training and it is nonsense to suggest otherwise. British troops are currently working very hard, continuously displaying the professionalism, bravery and excellence that make them the best in the world. Their pre-deployment training ensures that this continues to be the case."

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