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08 Jul 15. Summer Budget: Defence Spending Protected. The Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his Summer Budget on 8 Jul 15. The MoD’s budget is to rise by 0.5% (above inflation) each year until 2020/21. Up to an additional £1,500m a year will also be available by 2020/21 to fund increased spending on the military and intelligence agencies.
The Government is to meet the NATO pledge to spend 2% of national income (Gross Domestic Product or GDP) on Defence every year of the current decade. The Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) for the MoD in
2015/16 is £34,900m (£28,100m plus £6,800m).
Comment: Earl Howe published (Written Answers, 8 Jul 15) a Table showing the proportion of GDP that the UK has spent on Defence each year since 1985. The GDP Defence percentage has been steadily falling, from
5.2% in 1985 to 2.1% in 2015. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/28, 13 Jul 15)
08 Jul 15. Tunisia: Security Situation. A Foreign Office Minister confirmed (8 Jul 15) that the Foreign and Home Secretaries had spoken to their French counterparts and discussed areas in which they “can work more closely together to support Tunisia”. On 10 Jul 15, the FCO changed its travel advice of the previous day. The advice was now against all but essential travel to Tunisia, with a recommendation that British tourists return to the UK.
Comment: The Home Secretary and a junior Foreign Office Minister visited Tunisia with the French and German Interior Ministers on 29 Jun 15. The party paid its respects to the victims of the Sousse attack prior to discussions with the Tunisian authorities. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/28, 13 Jul 15)
01 Jul 15. Iraq: OP SHADER. On 1 Jul 15 an RAF Reaper conducted a successful attack on an engineering vehicle with a Hellfire missile in Western Iraq. Also on 1 Jul 15 Tornado GR4s, assisted by a Voyager tanker, provided close air support to the Iraqi Army South East of Fallujah. On 2 Jul 15, a Reaper destroyed a further engineering vehicle in Western Iraq.
On 5 Jul 15, Tornado GR4s destroyed three machine-gun positions with Brimstone missiles and a Paveway IV.
On 6 Jul 15, a Reaper tracked and destroyed an armoured pick-up truck which had been converted into a large car bomb. (All OP SHADER references from MoD update of 9 Jul 15.)
Comment: The MoD issued a Ministerial Correction (9 Jul 15) covering the Defence Secretary’s speech delivered on 2 Jul 15. 125 extra troops were to be sent to train Iraqi forces (rather than the implication that they had already gone) and the overall number of troops should be “nearly 900”, rather than “more than 900.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/28, 13 Jul 15)
07 Jul 15. Sierra Leone: OP GRITROCK. Members of the Armed Forces were presented with campaign medals (7 Jul 15) for their efforts helping to tackle Ebola in West Africa. In Downing Street, the Prime Minister hosted some of the 3,000 military and civilian personnel who are to receive the medal. Technical consultations of the International Ebola Recovery Conference started (9 Jul 15) in the UN. The International Development Secretary addressed the Conference (10 Jul 15), when she pledged £240m to Sierra Leone over the next two years.
Comment: The UN reported (10 Jul 15) that 27,585 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola have been reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. 11,253 deaths have been confirmed. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/28, 13 Jul 15)
10 Jul 15. Astute Class SSN: Third on Way. The Defence Secretary visited (10 Jul 15) BAE Systems and toured the latest Astute Class submarine: ARTFUL. The 7,400 tonne nuclear-powered attack submarine is undergoing final preparations before leaving for her operational base at HM Naval Base Clyde.
Comment: ARTFUL is