Britain balances defence budget 'black hole'

Britain's defence secretary said he had finally balanced his department's books, in an interview out Sunday, following a week in which he made a U-turn on purchasing jets, to the annoyance of France.

Philip Hammond told The Sunday Times newspaper that he will be able to announce this week that he has fixed the £38 billion ($61 billion, 47 billion euro) so-called "black hole" in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) budget.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government said it inherited a raft of unfunded spending commitments when it took over from Labour in May 2010.

"In the next few days we will be in a position to make the grand announcement that I've balanced the books," Hammond told the weekly broadsheet.

"In terms of reducing the size of the civil service, the army and the air force, we shouldn't have to do any more over and above what we've already announced."

Britain confirmed on Thursday that it has reversed its choice of fighter jets for future aircraft carriers, ditching the preferred conventional take-off version of the US-built F-35 for a jump-jet model.

The latest turnaround dealt a blow to a defence deal between Britain and France as it means that planned Royal Navy aircraft carriers will no longer be equipped to handle French aircraft.

The move risked being seen as yet another gaffe for the coalition, which has made a series of recent policy U-turns and faces growing pressure over its dogged adherence to austerity over growth.

Hammond termed the decision the "last big piece in the jigsaw" and future projects would not now be delayed or scrapped due to a lack of funds.

"For the first time in the defence budget we've got a reserve in each year, which means that if something comes up we'll be able to manage it," he said.

Britain is currently without a carrier strike capability following a strategic review unveiled by the coalition in 2010 as part of wide-ranging austerity measures aimed at cutting a record deficit.

"For a decade now the MoD has had a programme of spending that far exceeds the money available. It does it on a sort of institutionalised basis. Nobody here, until quite recently, has blinked," Hammond said.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. During the assault, Kim screamed a slogan in favour of …

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile
    Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago believes granting Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile house arrest, while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains under hospital detention, will violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. “That’s already a violation of the equal protection of the law,” she said. …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship
    Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship

    TOKYO (AP) — A former crewmember on a Japanese battleship that sank during World War II said Thursday he recognized photos of wreckage discovered this week off the Philippines by a team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options