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Highlights from David Cameron's Commons statement on the defence review

By Tim Montgomerie

Screen shot 2010-10-19 at 16.24.16 David Cameron addresses personnel earlier today at the UK Permanent HQ, Northwood.

Not verbatim.

  • Defence budget will fall by 8% over four years.
  • Britain's defence budget will remain the fourth largest in the world.
  • We will remain a world power with a large aid budget and one of the largest embassy networks in the world.
  • There is no cut whatsoever in our support for the frontline in Afghanistan. That will continue to be funded directly from the Treasury's Special Reserve. In fact more helicopters, surveillance capacity and anti-IED equipment will be supplied.
  • There will be a shift to conflict prevention and to tackling unconventional threats. £500m of new money will be invested in resisting cyber-attacks.
  • 25,000 MoD jobs will go as part of a leaner defence department. The Nimrod project will be cancelled and the MoD will become much more commercially-minded in future.
  • One-third of DFID's budget will be switched to conflict prevention.
  • 7,000 soldiers will be cut. The total strength of the army will fall to just over 95,000.
  • Britain will retain the ability to retain a force of 30,000 to a war theatre.
  • Tanks and heavy artillery will be cut by 40%.
  • The Army will return from Germany - half by 2015 and all by 2020.
  • The Royal Navy and RAF manpower will both be cut by 5,000.
  • The number of frigates and destroyers will be reduced to 19 from 23. The future Fleet will be more suited to piracy and drug trafficking.
  • The Harrier will be retired after forty years of great service in order to ensure the Tornado can be fully funded.
  • Labour had signed contracts that meant the second aircraft carrier would be more expensive to cancel than to build. Britain will have carrier strike capacity in the future that will accommodate the Joint Strike Fighter and aircraft from key allies.
  • Trident will be renewed but not until 2028 by extending the life of the current Vanguard submarines. The number of warheads in the replacement will be reduced. More than £3bn will be saved by these measures.


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