MORE MoD BUDGET PROBLEMS – 08 GOES TO 09?
By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE
03 Apr 08. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that, once again, the Defence Management Board (DMB)failed to reach a sound Budget Proposal for the 08 year. These sources suggest that the DMB asked the Government for more money, reputed to be in excess of half a billion pounds to meet the existing Budgetary Requirements in a meeting at No 10. However, the Government is believed to have refused to comply with this request and has decided to conduct its own Defence Review to be released in June. This would explain why the raft of agreements including a joint deal on the aircraft carriers, FRES and CTA, which many observers suggested would take place during the Sarkozy-Brown summit last week, failed to be announced. Gordon Brown was known to have an antithesis to Defence issues when Chancellor, he appears to see Defence as a Cost not a benefit, even with our troops at risk on the ground, and is reputed never to have visited the MoD. This continues under his Premiership. One glaring omission was the CTA announcement which sources suggest was announced in an MoD letter on the Thursday night before Easter (A good time to release bad news! Again!). (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.10 ISSUE 07, 22 Feb 2008, U.K DEFENCE BUDGET CRUNCH).
However, confusion continues to surround the CTA announcement in particular, sources suggest that neither the IPT, Bovingdon nor indeed the French knew about the announcement. This would explain the blank look by NEXTER Personnel when journalists questioned them during last week’s visit.
However, this decision deals a body blow to any Forward Planning, Human Resource and Future Business units at the major defence companies. Although the CVF announcement is likely to be announced next week, it may be delayed which will put any new hirings on hold and may cause some redundancies at BAE and VT who have geared up with the expectations of a contract award for work to start immediately.
The rot has already begun to set in with BAE announcing two sets of redundancies at its Brough and Woodford units due to slow Hawk sales. The RAF Hawk campaign was hardly helped by the intervention of Baroness Shriti Vadera in particular.
Baroness Vadera is a UK government minister, and former special advisor and UBS Warburg investment banker. From April 1999 to June 2007 she was a special adviser to Gordon Brown during his time as Chancellor of the Exchequer and a member of the Treasury’s Council of Economic Advisers. Brown appointed her as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for International Development on 29 June 2007. Lady Vadera was appointed Parliamentary under Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform at the January 2008 reshuffle.
During the contract negotiations for the RAF Trainer replacement, Baroness Vadera was reported as suggesting that the Italian M-346 Aermacchi would be better suited to the role, at a crucial time for the Indian Hawk deal. Sense prevailed and the Hawk was chosen for the RAF and the Indian deal was eventually concluded, albeit with a large in-country build. Our Bulbul Singh suggested (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.10 ISSUE 01, 07 Jan 2008, BAE SYSTEMS AND HAL TALK A HAWK PARTNERSHIP)that BAE and HAL were planning to produce the Hawk in India, which may give the Baroness and Samuel Brittan what they wanted. At a 2004 Think Tank meeting Samuel Brittan dramatically announced that, “Tony Blair would die with Hawk tattooed on his heart!” It seems that many newly redundant BAE workers will have issues with these damaging statements when their livelihoods and families are threatened.
On April 3rd BAE Systems announced a redundancy programme for 450 jobs at its Brough site. The areas impacted include Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering,
Manufacturing and Business Support. This announcement reflects the need to
ensure resource levels a