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18 Mar 15. Budget 2015: Defence Aspects. In his Budget Statement (18 Mar 15), the Chancellor of the Exchequer made only a passing reference to the
Armed Forces and military charities. Marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, funds are to be made available to renovate three RAF memorials. £25m is also to be provided to help the eldest veterans, including the survivors of nuclear tests. Somewhat surprisingly, the Chancellor remarked that the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt could not be passed without commemoration and £1m (one million) is to be provided.
Figures released in Budget 2015 (the Red Book) show the MoD Departmental Expenditure Limits (DEL), which are also expressed as a percentage of Total Managed Expenditure (TME) in the Table below:-
MoD Budget Allocations £
Estimate 2014/15 Plan 2015/16
Resource DEL 26,700 28,400
Capital DEL 7,800 7,000
Total DEL 34,500 35,400
% TME 4.7% 4.8%
The Budget for 2015/16 includes an estimate of the initial allocation from the Special Reserve for the additional cost of Operations (i.e. Afghanistan).
Comment: ‘Budget 2015’ is available (as HC 1093) with the above figures derived from Tables 2.3 and 2.5. A Written Answer in the House of Lords (19 Mar 15) indicated that 2.6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was spent on Defence in 2009/10, 2010/11 & 2011/12. The allocation fell to 2.3% in 2012/13 and to 2.1% in 2013/14. The MoD expects that the UK will spend 2.0% of GDP on Defence in 2014/15 and 2.0% in 2015/16. Decisions for 2016/17 and beyond “will be a matter for the next Spending Review”.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/13, 23 Mar 15)
16 Mar 15. Sierra Leone: OP GRITROCK. Public Health England (PHE) confirmed that a UK healthcare worker who was a potential contact with Ebola had been discharged from the Royal Victorian Infirmary in Newcastle. Another healthcare worker who was moved to the UK on 12 Mar 15, remains at the Royal Free Hospital in London. (PHE, 16 Mar 15.)
The UK has contributed $50m to the International Monetary Fund’s trust to relieve the burden of debt caused by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. (Written Answer (WA), 19 Mar 15.)
153 National Health Service (NHS) volunteers have been deployed to work in a number of Ebola treatment centres in Sierra Leone. (WA, 19 Mar 15.)
Comment: The UN Mission reported (20 Mar 15) that 24,743 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of EVD (Ebola Virus Disease) have been reported in the three most affected countries (Guinea, Liberia & Sierra
Leone). 10,216 deaths have been reported. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/13, 23 Mar 15)
16 Mar 15. Iraq: OP SHADER. British Forces have continued to conduct air Operations to assist the Iraqi Government in its fight against ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). (MoD, 16 Mar 15.)
In Northern Iraq, good progress is being made by a British team of military instructors to establish a training programme to help the Peshmerga with techniques to meet the threat from improvised explosive devices. (MoD, 16 Mar 15.)
Comment: In a Written Statement (20 Mar 15), the Defence Secretary announced publication of a report into the deaths of two Iraqis while “in the custody of or under the control of UK Forces” (on 11 May 03 & 2 Aug 03). The soldiers in both cases have been prosecuted and acquitted and will not face fresh prosecutions. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/13, 23 Mar 15)
17 Mar 15. Ukraine: Continuing Support. In a Written Answer (17 Mar 15) an FCO Minister confirmed that the UK had provided two package