There could be more cuts for our armed forces looming under the Tories. The Times has run a piece saying the MOD is considering sacking 1,000 Royal Marines or scrapping an amphibious assault ship.
The article can be found here but is behind a paywall. The article says:
“Military chiefs are considering reducing the size of the Royal Marines by 1,000 as part of a cost-cutting defence review, The Times understands.
A range of “views” are being presented to Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, chief of the defence staff, and Stephen Lovegrove, the defence department’s permanent secretary, on the UK’s military capabilities and what could be cut to save money.
Other options include scrapping at least one amphibious assault ship, the early retirement of a fleet of C130 transport aircraft and a slowdown in the purchase of F35 fast jets. “There are no sacred cows,” an army source said….
A reduction in the size of the 6,640-strong Marines would free up cash for the rest of the navy, which is managing an annual shortfall of at least £300 million, sources said. A cut of 1,000 Marines equates to about “£50 million a year”. Another source thought that the figure was closer to £100 million if all training and kit was included.”
Responding to the story, Luke Pollard MP said:
“I said I would stand up for our defence jobs against Tory defence cuts and I’ve been vocal in Parliament against Conservative plans to close Stonehouse Barracks and the Royal Citadel as well as plans to scrap HMS Ocean.
Now we learn that the MOD is considering cutting a further 1,000 Royal Marines or scrapping an amphibious assault ship. Either option is bad for Plymouth. I won’t and I can’t support it.
The Royal Marines are the UK’s finest fighting force and are delivering the precise type of capability our country needs in uncertain times.
The Tory answer to everything is cut, cut and cut. If this speculation is true, then we risk the Royal Navy being cut even further with no plans to replace HMS Ocean or either HMS Bulwark or HMS Albion.
With HMS Ocean proving her value supporting the disaster relief effort in the Caribbean, Ministers are on the wrong track yet again.
With Ministers prepared to chop and change military capabilities without an eye on military strategy or capabilities, we need a proper defence review to plan our armed forces.
Labour is clear about our defence policy: increase defence spending to 2% of GDP, renew Trident and scrap the armed forces pay cap. The Tories clearly have only a plan to cut our nation’s defence further. And that isn’t a policy I can support.”