13 May 2012

Black holes filled with balanced books

Having got the turnround on the type of F-35 aircraft to fly from the new carriers out of the way a few days earlier, the MoD must have thought it highly appropriate to facilitate Isabel Oakeshott’s story in 13 May’s Sunday Times (£), Hammond heralds end to defence cuts:
PHILIP HAMMOND, the defence secretary, has signalled an end to defence cuts and declared he has finally balanced his department’s books. The development means there should be no further job losses in the armed forces. He will announce this week that he has eliminated a £38 billion hole in the defence budget, making it possible to place equipment orders again with confidence and claim that for the first time in modern history his department will have an underspend as well as a substantial contingency fund. “In the next few days we will be in a position to make the grand announcement that I’ve balanced the books,” Hammond said.
Any resemblance to an article by James Blitz in the Financial Times (£) on 27 September 2011, Fox claims ‘black hole’ of defence costs eliminated:
A £38bn debt weighing on the Ministry of Defence has been almost eliminated with tough financial management, Liam Fox will claim next week, as he seeks to highlight a turnround in the fortunes of Whitehall’s most “traumatised” department. One year after David Cameron’s coalition initiated its Strategic Defence and Security Review that slashed MoD spending and personnel, Britain’s armed forces are still reeling. However, the defence secretary will tell the Tory conference in Manchester next week that MoD finances are now stable, thanks to removing the debt he inherited from Labour. At £38bn, this was bigger than the department’s annual budget.
is presumably coincidental!

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