Monday, 8 March 2010

Browns Lies Exposed

On Friday Brown sat infront of the Chilcot farce and said "he accepted every request for new equipment for Iraq". Money no issue the troops got what they needed.

However a top civil servant at the MOD has come out at the Chilcot enquiry and completely dismissed the PM stance.

Sir Bill Jeffrey Permanent Under Secretary at the MOD has appeared to come out alongside 2 leading military figures and again proven the PM to be a liar.

Sir Bill told the Iraq Inquiry that the small annual increases in the defence budget Mr Brown has made have not been enough to meet the sharp rises in the costs of defence operations and equipment.

That has forced the MoD to seek cuts, he said.

“The upward pressures have meant that in successive years, I and ministers, we have had to think hard about what we could cut,” he said.

Mr Brown has been under intense pressure over his record of funding the Armed Forces. Last week, he told the inquiry he had accepted every request for new equipment for Iraq and Afghanistan, and increased the total defence budget every year.

Several senior military commanders have accused Mr Brown of not telling the whole truth, pointing out that the money Mr Brown allocated to defence simply did not match the rising demands imposed by two foreign wars.

Sir Bill also said that a budget forced on the MoD by Mr Brown shortly after the Iraq war began had left the MoD with a “significant” financial problem that “persists to this day”.

There had been “a serious dispute” between Mr Brown's Treasury and the MoD in 2004 about spending, Sir Bill said. The Treasury vetoed MoD attempts to use Whitehall accounting rules to allow it to spend more on new equipment.

“That undoubtedly left the department with a significant problem because the estimated cost of the programme exceeded the budget,” he said.

Sir Bill said when he took up his post in 2005, “that pressure in the defence budget was still there.”

The defence budget has been rising in real terms by around 1 percent point a year, Sir Bill said. But that annual rise was not enough to cover the rising costs facing the MoD, he said.

“The real problem, and it persists to this day is that despite those easements, is that the defence budget has been stretched,” he said. “The cost of the programme has exceeded our ability to pay for it.”

The MoD has been forced to make “some reductions in equipment” to prioritise Afghan operations, Sir Bill said.

As an example, he cited an announcement in December that RAF fast jets will be cut to pay for more protective equipment for ground forces in Afghanistan.

“It’s been difficult against the wider financial background,” Sir Bill said.

Sir Kevin Tebbit, Sir Bill’s predecessor, told the inquiry that Mr Brown “guillotined” the defence budget and left him operating with a “crisis budget”.

Sir Bill was asked if he believes he is operating with a “crisis budget.”

He replied: “We certainly have had to look consistently at ways of reducing the estimated cost of the programme.”

“Whether that constitutes a crisis I don’t know. It has certainly felt more than quite tight over the last period.”


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