Tag Archives: Royal Navy

So much for the Chretien way in the United Kingdom

I know Canada had a slightly smaller deficit than the United Kingdom’s – It was 9.1% or 39bn Canadian dollars versus a U.K. deficit of 11.5% or £156bn but these cuts proposed by David Cameron are mind boggling.

Look at these numbers

During his address to MPs, it was clear that few government departments have been spared.

The national health service, pre-university education and international development budgets will be protected from the cuts — but the policing budget will fall by four per cent each year. The Justice Ministry must cut its budget by six per cent per year, but funding for fighting terrorism would be maintained.

The Foreign Office will see a 24 per cent budget cut and the British Broadcasting Corp. will be required to take on the full cost of running the world service.

Welfare funding will also be reduced and the minimum age for people seeking state pensions will be raised earlier than previously expected.

Osborne said that even the Queen would be affected, as the royal household budget will be cut by 14 per cent over four years.

In addition to these cuts, social housing is cut by 50% and the English military is being cut back to the point where even the United States is worried about it and it wasn’t exactly flush with cash before.

As a result, it will be virtually impossible for the UK to offer any meaningful military assistance to the U.S. in the future. The overstretched and under-equipped Ministry of Defense can barely function as it is. The major shortage of helicopters in Afghanistan is now well established, with a parliamentary committee reporting last year that the lack of helicopters was having “adverse consequences” for Britain. Up to two-thirds of the Apache attack helicopter fleet has been described by the Ministry of Defense as “unfit for purpose.” Last July, a plan to severely diminish the threat of Taliban improvised explosives devices (IEDs) – responsible for more NATO troop deaths than any other tactic – was scrapped due to insufficient troop numbers and helicopters. A month later, British soldiers were forced to protect the remains of a senior officer killed by a roadside bomb for three days before a helicopter was available to collect his body.

The shortages-problem is endemic. A lack of heavily armored vehicles meant two soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Army doctors lack basic equipment, such as surgical tools. A coroner at an inquest into the deaths of two soldiers in Afghanistan labeled the Ministry of Defense’s inability to provide basic equipment “unforgivable and inexcusable.” Four soldiers killed this year in Helmand did not have enough metal detectors available to trace bombs, and soldiers are even forced to dye their own uniforms due to a lack of camouflaged shirts.

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette puts it…

As part of the plan, 20,000 British forces will withdraw from their post-World War II-era bases in Germany by 2020, and overall, British troops and civilian defense personnel will be slashed by 42,000.

The equipment cuts, including early decommissioning of the Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier, will force Britain to forfeit its ability to launch fighter jets from sea until at least 2019. The fleets of Harrier fighter jets are being eliminated. The planned Nimrod MRA4 Reconnaissance aircraft, previously billed by the Royal Air Force as a "significant contribution" to the fight against terrorism, is also being scrapped.

In total, over 500,000 public sector jobs could be lost.

It’s interesting to see that while the Chretien spending cuts hit all departments, they weren’t as deep.

Mr Chretien used the phrase "nothing off the table".

By contrast, Mr Cameron has already pledged to ring-fence the education, health and international aid budgets.

With extensive cuts to healthcare and education spending at the very centre of Canada’s deficit reduction work, many Canadian economists argue that it could not have been successful if they had been excluded.

The impact was, however, severe.

Dark days ahead for a lot of people in the United Kingdom.  The next couple of years won’t be a lot of fun.