WESTMINSTER DEFENCE CUTS HAVE ERODED ALLIES CONFIDENCE IN UK
The United States army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno has warned that the swingeing cuts in the UK’s defence budget and capability have now eroded allies’ confidence. General Odierno in an interview with the Daily Telegraph has suggested that the cuts, which have hit Scotland disproportionately hard, have been so severe that the UK may no longer be able to undertake the kind of missions that the UK has previously supported. The comments come as David Cameron is under increasing pressure to change course on his cuts agenda, as the Tory and Labour parties are now offering massive new cuts and even more austerity following the election – and it is likely that defence will come under huge pressure to cut even further into the bone.
Angus Robertson MP, SNP Westminster Leader and defence spokesperson commented:
‘’The comments from General Odierno are a shocking wake up call for David Cameron and all those Westminster politicians who have been endlessly cutting and cutting defence expenditure for so long. It is absolutely no surprise that the UK’s allies are so worried. The reality is that Westminster governments have cut defence in Scotland to the bone. They have slashed numbers in Scotland completely disproportionately for years – to serving personnel, bases, historic military units and key capabilities as well as putting severe pressures on military families.
‘’The UK is already in breach of its basic conventional defence obligations in NATO – David Cameron knows it and our allies know it. The UK has not sent a ship to vital multinational NATO patrol groups in the north Atlantic for years – and are currently begging allies to provide Maritime Patrol Aircraft to protect Scottish waters. Westminster has a shameful record on defence cuts in Scotland – and yet is determined to press ahead with the obscene and redundant Trident programme – which we know the majority of Scots are opposed to.”
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Notes: General Odierno’s interview can be read here