The funding will cover additional costs associated with the Dreadnought submarine programme as well as head off some of the more severe cuts speculated earlier in the year.

The funding is viewed by some as a big win for Williamson, who staved off potential military cuts earlier this year by securing a new defence spending review.

An MoD press release said:

“This includes access to £600 million from the Dreadnought contingency, announced in 2015, and will ensure that the UK’s new world-class nuclear submarines are delivered on time and within the £31 billion budget agreed at the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015.

In addition £200 million was agreed at the Supplementary Estimates earlier in the year.”


Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said:

“Our commitment to defence and national security is unwavering. The UK’s defence budget is the highest in Europe and the second highest in NATO and ensures Britain can continue to respond effectively to the ever-changing threats we face.

We will continue to invest in our world-class Armed Forces and this additional investment of £600 million will ensure the UK is protected by the nuclear deterrent provided by the new Dreadnought fleet into the 2030s and beyond.”

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“This is a welcome boost to our Armed Forces, ensuring we can continue to back-up our national security with the ultimate capability. In a world of intensifying and evolving threats, we must strengthen and maintain our ability to seize opportunities and counter challenges as they emerge.

I have launched the Modernising Defence Programme to ensure we have the capabilities we need to keep Britain safe in an increasingly dangerous world.”

82 COMMENTS

    • I’m sat at home at the moment putting a paper together on behalf of the Marines but if my time turns out to be wasted and they’re safe that’s great. Everything crossed.

      • Messenger hopefully doesn’t have to play the politics anymore now that May has chosen Carter.
        The RN now have two of their 3 legs, carrier strike and the deterrent, standing by for the 3rd.

        • For me the RN actually has 5 legs.

          1 Carriers and the FAA.
          2 Deterrent.
          3 SSN.
          4 Amphibious assets and RM.
          The 5th is the RFA, supporting 1 & 4.

          Everything else is extra, these are the core and set the RN apart from most other navies.

          • Morning
            5 supports 1 and 4
            3 supports 2
            These constitute the core weapon systems the RN currently has at its disposal to effect the strategic centre of gravity.
            The RN are going to have to start making tough decisions in the next couple of weeks whether they want to spread themselves thinly or concentrate on core areas.

    • £200m is not enough to stop cuts. If we dont see at least a £1b-£2b increase in defense this July we are in for massive cuts.

      • I’m with Ben on this one. The projected black hole in the equipment plan alone is 20 billion sterling over 10 years. We also have a training / maintenance / spare part / ammunition and missile stockpile deficit that needs to be addressed. We likely need more than 2 billion per year just to ‘break even’.

        • Not true. The actual black hole is about £5bn. The £21bn figure is the absolute worse case scenario if none of the expected savings can be made over the life of the plan.

          We can expect a decent amount of savings to be made, so I would reckon it will end up been £10bn at the most.

  1. In reality how much extra is it? If drawn from an existing contingency fund the not as much as the headline figure suggests.

    I understand there is to be no increase to the contingency fund itself.

    The extra £200m is welcome, but what will it actually buy? One and a half F35Bs.

    • Or most of a Type 31, or it’ll cover the running costs of the Albion’s for a few years. £200mn is a lot of money, just depends what you spend it on. A fighter jet? Meh. A frigate? Fuck yeah

    • Stop thinking that all new money goes towards buying new stuff. That £200m will have immediately disappeared filling parts of the massive budget gap. Funny enough as well, it is not really new money, it is money that the MOD themselves saved through efficiency savings been given back to them. The £600m is merely the treasury authoriing them to use part of the £11b contingency fund for trident they already have in place.

  2. Though welcome of course. This is in effect kicking the tin can of cuts down the road for now.

    Defence needs a real increase year on year, not a sticking plaster.

    But this will be spun for all its worth by HMG.

    It also highlights the immense cost of just 4 nuclear submarines.

    I’m for Trident but am still left gobsmacked at how it costs so much compared to an SSN.

      • And an SSN is what? £1.2B or something?

        People have explained to me on here several times about extra size of the boat, missile compartments and the like and I just cannot accept the sheer cost.

        • I think that at least in part we are seeing premiums applied to special characteristics. In the same way that just about everything for my BMW motorcycle costs more than for Japanese bikes everything for a nuclear sub carrying nuclear weapons costs more. I’m not saying that the actual costs are high but that sticking the nuclear badge on ramps everything up. Perhaps future disposal/containment of the nuclear components is being built into the contracts too.
          Referring to our conversation further down you are, of course, very right. I would like to see a ‘horses for courses’ approach to the filling of MoD roles rather that loyalty/old boy network/and all the understandable stuff in between.

  3. I also note that the MOD is still expected to make an additional £20bn in savings over the next 10 years.

    Rob Peter to pay Paul

    • I’m guessing the extra made available is to stop the current gap until November when the next budget happens along, so should have been calculated to be adequate, I hope!

    • But Mike if the MoD can get the chiefs to shift their priorities towards the combat elements and away from keeping the Ruperts happy with endless HQ’s and non – jobs. They could do it with ease. The problem is always the same. It’s the HQ’s and the non – jobs that get first priority.

      • I think you’ll find Head Office and the 3 Services have already cut HQ’s quite dramatically.

        What jobs are Non Jobs David?

        • Civil servants are often replaced by senior military officers. In a regular senario a civil servant on, very roughly, £60k pa will be replaced by a brigadier, for example, earning £100k+. At a lower level a civil servant earning roughly £25k will be replaced by a major earning £50k+. The posts involved are clearly not military in nature. There are about 200 generals and brigadiers in the British Army, I have no idea but would guess that there are no more than 15 brigades. I will leave the calculations up to you.

          • My comment was concerning Davids HQ formations comment Slaine, which in all 3 services have been cut substantially, example the RAF once had 3 major commands now just 1.

            As for specific numbers and wages of civil vs military no doubt you are right and I have little knowledge to comment on that other what is published.

            Brigades we have a mere 6 deployable, plus 7 in 1 UK Division which is not deployable and a dozen or so more in Force Troops.

            I would also point out regarding Brigadiers and the like in Staff positions that there are many more formations other than Brigades that need a head of that rank, be it military or civilian, such as various directorates in the main headquarters, which are numerous. These have both civil ( SCS ) or military ( OF ) seniors. Brigadiers and the equivalent ranks in RAF and RN are OF6.

            You are probably right that some more culling can occur replacing military with civilian but I would have also thought that a military professional is needed to head up many of these organisations rather than a civil servant, depending on the role.

            See below, open source and shows both civil and military grades.

            My apologies too if you are aware of all this already.

            https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/676679/JFC_Apr_17_senior_data.csv/preview

      • You mean you don.t like the idea that the donkey wallopers have just received new hand made bugles!? Shame on you.

  4. What a waste of money for the UK Navy…..

    There you go Peder done it for you. No need to darken this site any more.

    • “I have launched the Modernising Defence Programme to ensure we have the capabilities we need to keep Britain safe in an increasingly dangerous world.”

      If you check with other reviews way back to 2004 they come out with similar wording. Keeping Britain safe, Dangerous world, capabilities we need.

      What usually happens is then we get a nice fancy shopping list costing the earth and in the meantime the forces get cut yet again to pay for it.

      I like Williamson and am pleased with what he has said and done so far. But those words are the usual regurgitated cobblers I’m afraid.

  5. Any increase in funding is most welcome but this is just not enough.
    I hoped for £2-3 billion more for defence the £200 million allocated should stop a cut to frigate/ destroyer fleet below the 17 now active, retain Albion and Bulwark. No budget for replacing Ocean announced
    No increased budget to fund additional astute class
    No announcement on just how many F35Bs we are going to get once initial 48 jets are in service.
    Crucial no firm announcement on type 31 programme, thus you can only deduce we will only get 5 ships when we need over 10 at least.
    We can do better than this.
    Keep going Gavin hit them harder and make Hammond and May see sense. Cut foreign aid budget by a single billion down to £13 billion a year rather than £14 billion and pump that money into defence. Bingo Oceans replacement funds and another astute paid for over 2-3 years. Great.

    • You need to stop living in a fantasy world.

      Foreign aid is not getting decreased to pay for defense. The £200m is spread over the whole armed forces, it is not specifically for the RN. Ocean is not getting replaced, POW is taking that role. We are not getting additional Astutes. The F35 order for more than 48 is several years away. We are getting 5 Type 31s, if we did somehow get any more, it would be announced in 4+ years time and would only be 1-2 more vessels are the most.

      • Agree. For me my fantasy is no more cuts let alone major increases, V22’s, and other things I have read on shopping lists here.

        • All things considered, if we properly funded the current equipment plan, the armed forces would be in a pretty decent position. The RN for example, stop asking for more ships. We currently have a Type 45 and a Type 23 stuck in port due to lack of manpower, we also have Albion in a similar situation due to cost and manpower.

          No more cuts, and funding the current defense plan is what we should be hoping for. Any increases of ships and aircraft are pure fantasy.

  6. I see these as small incremental wins for GW that stop cuts having to happen this year whilst the MDR is carried out.

    The MDR will be released for the NATO summit in July and I suspect will not be released without the consent of #s 10 & 11.

    These small wins indicate that Govt is recognising the problem and is at least sympathetic. Although the security review out earlier this week hedged its bets by saying SDSR15 was still the right objective, whilst acknowledging enhanced threats.

    Re this money, I listened to PAC hearing and I recall the £600m figure was actually a cash flow issue not additional funding. Some efficiencies were found by re-profiling the manufacturing and delivery of some major items slated for later in the program. Accordingly Hammond let them access it early. Whether he will let MoD keep it remains to be seen.

    NATO in July then folks!

  7. The black hole created when the capital cost of the Trident sub replacement was moved from central funding to MoD budget plugged for the time being. But we will be back here next year unless there is a long term solution to funding.

    • Absolutely false. Trident is a massive gaping money suck of a program, but there are many others reasons for the black hole.

  8. I read this as being a bolt on as a supplement to keep the lid on this years problems. I don’t think it has anything to do with M D P coming up this summer.

  9. I hope the money goes towards giving forces engineers atleast equivalent pay to their civiallian counterparts. Then maybe the horrendous man power situation will start to ease

  10. I see this as an interim announcement prior to the Budget later in the year, at which point I expect a significant increase in defence spending.

    • That wee country has twice the size economy than russia pederski ! and influences the world far more than russia ever could, so go back to your damp 1950s concrete flat and think about your countrys poor standing in the world .

    • >impressing no one

      Your standards for impressiveness are way out whack if you think the UK isn’t impressive; you can count the number of more powerful nations in the world on one hand with fingers to spare.

  11. I’m not opposed to foreign aid, just having it established in law whether they need it or not. Why not cut it by 10% and split it defence/law order/social care(paying back those that have done there bit. This would help keep the left and right wing happy.
    No point asking for new kit, let’s just arm and run what we have properly.
    Lastly every aid mission the military attend such as disaster relief should be financially compensated foreign aid budget.

    • The foreign aid budget could, and should, be reduced. We could use that money to enlarge the Royal Navy, rebuild our industries, improve our railway and motorway network, etc.

        • None. Soft Power is important, and the UK is well placed here.

          But when your public services are falling apart and the elderly who have paid taxes all their lives and possibly served the nation and are left to rot with poor social care just a part of that massive budget, as a recognition of the problem, would go a long way.

          Example. If you were short would you give a vast sum of your money away or spend less and target your income on whats most important. You would.

          No one wants to get rid of it, just reduce it to a proportionate level.

          HMG should stop sticking to rigid targets set by the Tory Lib Dem coalition and recognise sometimes charity begins at home.

  12. releasing so much money from the contingency fund at this early stage is worrying. When as a large military procurement ever run on budget and without the contingency fund it is highly likely the numbers will need to be cut. Short term fudge to cover a much bigger issue. Worrying.

  13. These sums of money expended on military matters seem to be haemorrhaging. I have read that the French have far larger forces but spend far less on them and what is more, aren’t propped up by the US in the way this country is. Where on earth is all this taxpayer money going? This is not sustainable. One could not run one’s own affairs in this reckless way.

    • You could say the exact same for the NHS. I love it as much as the next guy but every year we get told they don’t have enough money or staff despite it having a £146 Billion budget and being thr sixth largest employer on the planet. Something doesn’t add up.

      • One thing you might not be giving enough weight to in your arithmetic to make things add up is the high costs of the raw materials and the amount of resources required for whatever are now relatively commonplace procedures.

        We sometimes get news stories about expensive new drugs being withheld but there are also an awful lot of expensive on-patent drugs still being prescribed. Also, add up the costs of diagnostic tests, theatre time and staff, pre and post op physio etc for something like a hip or knee op and it gets expensive. Then factor in increases in diabetes, asthma, an estimated one in 3 people getting some sort of cancer at some point in their life and the costs in sorting all that out really mount up.

        I’m amazed that the NHS does as much as it does with the resources that it has.

    • The French have only 1 carrier not 2. They also have very few if any transport helos, less SSNs which are smaller than ours, they have only 4 AAW destroyers while we have 6 and they have 1 tanker not 6 (4 brand new). The French army has about the same number of tanks and IFVs and the French Air Force has less Rafale than we have Typhoon. They are also not buying F-35B and continue with 30 year old Mirage instead. The Mistral and La Fayette classes are also very cheaply built and the De Gaulle is always broken. I would say we compare very well to the French. Still you are right, we could do better with the resources we have.

  14. As everyone has been saying this is welcome news but is nothing but a short term solution. The military needs a budget boost to fill the budget black hole the government has created.

  15. This sort of spending is repulsive. These weapons can never be used. Most countries don’t have these terrible and criminal weapons. Why does this country need them?

    • Harold – I’m of a view similar to yourself in that the huge costs of the Trident Replacement Programme are repulsive,it will put a massive burden on our economy and in particularly defence spending for decades to come.As you say for a weapons system that (pray to god hopefully) will never be used it certainly questions ones opinions.But as a balance is it a weapons system that we simply cannot afford not to have ? In an ideal world if the projected cost of I think £175 billion over its lifetime was to be spent on more conventional weapons systems think of the equipment and capability that would give our forces,all of which could if needed be used as well,that should be a deterrence in itself.But no one would ever convince me that any party in Government would not find other things to spend that money on,so funding for the forces would still be a recurring problem,plus we would be very vulnerable to hostile intent from more nations than would dare to now.

    • You still will not answer my question.

      Why should the western democracies be first to disarm?

      You should take your protest to Russia, China, Iran or North Korea and see the response.

  16. Evening all
    Great day on the blog with both Peder and TH both joining in.
    Freedom of speech – the strength of a strong democracy.
    Democracy however needs to be defended and as the last couple of weeks have shown there are those out there that wish is harm, to undermine our way of life and seek to weaken us.
    Government does what government does best, react to an event after it has occurred. What we are seeing now is the reaction to that, announcements with regards to defence spending, new toys being bought and money being found to bring announcements forward. SecDef and his teams challenge now is to maintain the momentum and not this wave of HMT leniency be short lived. Defence will soon be on the back burner again – the challenge is to keep it relevant and in the people’s conscious.

    Oh, another thing – new platforms need manpower and weapons to make them relevant, I haven’t seen those announcements yet (sustainment not new toys like Brimestone 2)

  17. Democracy? Over 600 unelected and overpaid Lords telling you what to do? An unelected ‘royal’ family? An unelected prime minister? Democracy? The UK is a joke best dispensed with!

  18. From what I can tell this cash tiding over to avoid cuts for the time being, not a long term solution to the funding issue and it isn’t being presented as such.

    We won’t hear anything concrete on long term funding until the defense review is done in the Summer with further confirmation coming in the Autumn statement. I think that’s been fairly obvious for a while so we shouldn’t expect anything sooner.

  19. Trident is a Political weapon system and should be paid for by its own budget separate from the defence budget also overseas aid should be only reach present levels when when government departments such as NHS,Education,Transport,Soical Care and Defence of the Realm are fully funded.

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