Ministry of Defence denies UK Armed Forces are overstretched

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has hit back at allegations that the UK’s Armed Forces are overstretched.

Newspaper reports this weekend suggested that 40% of units were “effectively out of action” due to shortages.

But in a statement released today, the MoD said the claim was “complete nonsense”.

“Readiness simply does not measure how many of our forces are in action,” said the statement. “Readiness is about how easily we can do any more than we are currently doing, not how easily we can do what we are currently doing.”

A National Audit Office report earlier this month highlighted that staffing levels had not been boosted in line with increasing overseas military operations.

But the MoD statement added: “The chief of the defence staff has made clear that the Armed Forces are stretched, but not overstretched.

“In reality, the National Audit Office has praised the MoD for the systems it has in place to measure and respond to readiness levels.”

The Conservative party called for chancellor Gordon Brown to provide the resources needed to attract more recruits to the forces.

Shadow secretary of state for defence Dr Liam Fox said: “This damning report confirms what we have been saying for some time. The gap between our commitments and our resources is growing and putting unacceptable pressures on our service personnel and their families.

“The government cannot continue like this – if the prime minister is going to continue making commitments then the chancellor must be willing to foot the bill.”

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