Military cuts likely as Hoon expands on changing security priorities

Defence
secretary Geoff Hoon is expected to announce big cuts in the Armed Forces today.

The
RAF is likely to be hardest hit, with the possible closure of bases and the
early withdrawal of Jaguar squadrons, according to reports this morning.

Some
army regiments could be merged into bigger units, with an overhaul of its
structure expected.

Up
to 15 Army regiments could be merged into larger regional units and others
disbanded as part of the shift in priorities towards high-tech warfare and
specialist personnel.

The
details follow Hoon’s White Paper, Security in a Changing World, which was
presented to the Commons in December.

Among
the cuts is expected to be the closure of RAF Coltishall, near Norwich, which
could close its gates by 2007.

Last
week chancellor Gordon Brown, gave the ministry a 1.4 per cent annual
real-terms increase in its budget, but demanded £2.8bn in savings on
procurement of equipment and backroom support functions by 2007-08.

Overall
the military budget will rise by £3.7bn, from £29.7bn this year to £33.4bn by
2007-08.

By Daniel Thomas

Comments are closed.