LLANELLI’S MP Nia Griffith challenged the Government to clear up uncertainty about their planned defence cuts last Thursday. Speaking for the Labour Party as Shadow Defence Secretary in a House of Commons debate, Ms Griffith called on the Government to come clean over widely predicted cuts to Britain’s Armed Forces and defence capabilities.
MPs debated a motion calling for the size, equipment and training of Britain’s armed forces to be maintained at least at current levels and for no further cuts to defence spending and capabilities. The debate was initiated by backbencher Vernon Coaker MP, who alongside his other Labour colleagues pushed for clarity on the Government’s defence plans amid mixed reports and speculation.
Recent reports of cabinet infighting between the Treasury and Defence Secretaries about proposed cuts have caused alarm.
Ms Griffith said: “This Tory Government is causing worrying uncertainty for our troops, the public and our international allies. They’ve repeatedly refused to deny reports that 1,000 personnel could be cut from the Royal Marines at a time that all three services are depleted in numbers. They seem to have forgotten the excellent support given by our Royal Marines to the disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
“Labour will always stand up for our Armed Forces. A Labour government will address the crisis in recruitment and retention by lifting the 1% public sector pay cap.
“Labour has a proud record in government of having always spent well above the NATO target of 2% of GDP on defence. This Government is barely scraping over the line and has only done that by reclassifying items of expenditure, such as pensions, not previously counted as defence spending.
“Today we’re calling on the Government to come clean and tell the truth.”