On Monday 26 February, Kevan spoke in a House of Commons defence debate.
Speaking about the the Conservative Government’s failure to invest adequate funding into the armed forces, Kevan said, “I do not think that anyone who follows the defence world and the way that the MOD has conducted itself over the past few years would conclude that the situation is anything other than dire.
“It is clear that the mess that the defence budget is in today is a direct result of policies taken by the coalition Government and the present Conservative Government. Seven years of ill-thought-through, rushed cuts and, on occasion, very bad decisions are now coming home to roost.”
In 2010 the new Conservative-led Government implemented a series of deep cuts to the armed forces. The justification for this as claimed by the then Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, was that he had inherited a so-called ‘£38 billion black hole’ in the MoD budget from the previous Labour government.
However, Fox’s 2010 claim of a £38 billion black hole has never been properly justified, even when the National Audit Office and House of Commons Defence Committee tried to check it.
Speaking about this, Kevan said:
“In 2010, the new Conservative-led coalition implemented a number of deep cuts to the armed forces. The right hon. Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox), the then Defence Secretary, justified them by claiming that the defence budget had a £38 billion black hole, which somehow meant that rash and direct action would have to be taken straightaway. No one knows how he arrived at £38 billion. I have asked Ministers in this House to explain it on numerous occasions. The NAO and the Defence Committee could not arrive at a £38 billion black hole either, but it was used in every debate as the reason why cuts to our defence budget had to be made.”
Earlier this month, the National Audit Office released a damning report which said the Government’s Equipment Plan for new military equipment is unaffordable. The NAO also highlighted the alarming fact that the MoD has not accounted for £9.6 billion of forecast costs in its plan, nor has it included the £1.3 billion required to buy five Type 31e frigates.
To read Kevan’s recent article on defence spending click on the link below: