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22 Apr 09. British defense spending could receive a substantial one-off increase this year, figures released April 22 by the Treasury in its budget report appear to show. While Chancellor Alistair Darling delivered a budget speech to Parliament that showed the economy is in worse shape than at any time since World War II, the small print of the accompanying Treasury report indicated that defense is set for a 3.5bn pound ($5.1bn) boost for the 2009-10 financial year, which started earlier this month.
A table of departmental expenditure limits showed that total defense spending, known as the resource budget, was planned to amount to 38.7bn pounds ($56.6bn). In last year’s budget report, the figure for 2009-10 was stated as 35.2bn pounds ($51.5bn). The capital spending element of the budget is planned to rise 900m pounds ($1.3bn) from the figure stated last year, to 9.1bn pounds ($13.3bn) for 2009. One political analyst, though, urged caution over assuming the figures were what they seemed until more was known. “What I want to know is whether this involves new money or whether the budget changes are the result of a technicality of some kind that is not yet apparent,” he said. An industry source echoed that caution, saying it was possible the increase in the Ministry of Defence budget lines was in part related to the inclusion of equipment to be purchased and supported by the MoD for urgent operational requirements, using money provided from Treasury reserves. That’s partly borne out by a reference in the report to increased spending, which said the hike was to fund overseas military operations this year.
Most of the cost of overseas deployments is met by the Treasury. Traditionally, it is not shown under MoD resource and capital budgets.
Several billion pounds have been spent by the Treasury in recent years to fund the purchase and support of equipment for British troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. The table shows that next year, resource spending falls back to 36.7bn pounds ($53.7bn), the level anticipated in the 2008 budget report. The figures presented by the budget report also show substantially higher-than-expected spending in the financial year just finished. An immediate explanation for the apparent budget hike was not forthcoming from the MoD. It failed to respond to questions before this story was filed. Britain’s MoD is still embroiled in efforts to complete spending plans for 2009, even though the financial year has already started. The MoD has been struggling to balance its books in the face of a potentially large defense overspend that was threatening to hit equipment programs and other elements of spending. Defence Procurement Minister Quentin Davis confirmed April 21 that the planning round process remained unsigned. (Source: Defense News)
17 Apr 09. Iraq: OP TELIC. From 1 Jan 06 to 31 Mar 09, 315 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 1,861 were aeromedically evacuated. (MoD, 17 Apr 09.) From 16 to 31 Mar 09 the figures were nil and 26.
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