The Government has outlined pledges to the Armed Forces in the Queen’s Speech.

According to a release, the Government say they have promised to further incorporate the Armed Forces Covenant in law, and bring forward proposals to tackle vexatious claims.

The Government will also maintain its commitment to spend at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence every year of this Parliament.

Other commitments include:

  • The introduction of a Veteran’s railcard
  • A guaranteed job interview for veterans for any public sector role they apply for where they possess the minimum job requirements
  • Reducing the Employer’s NICs contribution for those employing veterans
  • Providing additional childcare support to those currently serving
  • Protecting Armed Forces personnel from tax rises in Scotland, where income tax is devolved to Holyrood

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“The interests of the men and women of our armed forces are at the heart of this government. That is why we are continuing to invest above inflation every year to meet our NATO commitments.

Beyond this unwavering commitment, I’m pleased we will be bringing forward vital legislation that will put an end to the dogged pursuit of personnel and veterans from repeated investigations resulting from vexatious claims.

We’ll also further incorporate the Armed Forces Covenant into law. This will be essential to ensure we minimise any disadvantage faced by the military community because of the sacrifices they make for this country.”

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Herodotus

Of course, these benefits will only be conferred if they promise to vote Conservative!

Airborne

Yaaaaaawn change the sour record! I’ve voted Labour more than I’ve voted Tory, and this is a load of chuff. However your posts are sounding more and more sour grapes and desperate. Cheers anyway!

Herodotus

Thanks Airbore…dum-headed and as pointless as usual. Why would anyone care who you have voted for in the past…

Airborne

So easy and so repetitive! But once again many thanks!

Steve H

Boring, anti Tory, anti democracy, anti British load of old flannel…….change the record sunshine and acknowledge the fact that Mr Johnson has done something that should’ve been done years ago….. protect our service personnel future, present and past. I’m pleased he’s done it and so should you.

Levi Goldsteinberg

Wallace and Cummings have been talking today about the MoD needing to ‘cut its cloth’ – sounds ominous. I think the Tories are about to officially give up even pretending to be the party of defence and we’ll have wholesale reductions across the board all over again

Sceptical Richard

I fear the same Levi. In this election we faced the choice between the extremely bad and the even worse. Defence will get it in the neck yet again, but this time with the added threat of DomCum wrecking havoc in the MoD. I’m really fearful for our armed forces…

Herodotus

DC is an advisor….it is Boris that takes the decisions! Whatever happens, the buck stops with Boris.

Sceptical Richard

Agreed except that I don’t think Boris has a clue or believes in anything except himself and relies heavily on DC

Callum

While I agree it sounds ominous, there is actually the potential that this could be of benefit to the MoD. Based on what Cummings and Boris have been quoted as saying, it’s defence PROCUREMENT that they have the biggest issue with. We’ve all been moaning about MoD procurement for decades. Projects that end up costing double the original estimates, are years late, and often have faults that the MoD then pays to correct. We COULD be about to see a massive overhaul of how the MoD funds projects, for example paying the lower upfront cost instead of paying more in… Read more »

John Clark

I tend to agree Callum, it could be the harbinger of doom … but I think (and hope) its a signal that BAE Systems and other key players, gets a gun put to its collective head, with the strong message of stop fleecing the tax payer or else! As we have discussed before here, the MOD has to start doing its core job regarding procurement, I hope this is the primary area DC sets the wrecking ball into: Its not rocket science… Provide the equipment the armed forces actually ask for, in a timely and cost effective manner, instead of… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Once again I agree with you John. I’ve said it for years, the needs of British industry are always put before the military. Military contracts are seen as industrial policy giving nice juicy carrots to local constituencies keeping their MP happy, or retired brass get their vested interest nests nicely feathered. Under Corbyn this would have been the same only far worse. I hope DC shakes MoD procurement to the core. If as others suspect he takes that further and interferes with structure, policies and the Orbat then I’ll be the first to complain and happy to admit I was… Read more »

Andy P

There’s little doubt (and none as far as I’m concerned) that business has too much sway with MOD procurement. If this is going to be the target of any government attempts to save our tax money then I’m all for it. Its not just the big items like ships and aircraft, the price of pretty much everything in the stores system seemed vastly inflated.

Steve H

A lot of Western democracies have the same problem, instead of serving the M.O.D, the Armed services, Government and British people…they serve their own interests and shareholders.
Boris Johnson needs to chair a meeting of UK defence contractors and tell them in a stern but polite manner that they need to do as they’re told or they’ll lose the very lucrative contracts they have.
In my opinion, BAE systems is probably the worst culprit for this and if I’m honest it really pi**es me off, this is our taxpayers money they’re using and they need to get their priorities right.

Sceptical Richard

If defence procurement gets shaken to the core U.K. Defence will suffer for years after. Remember, no industry, no jobs, no economy, no taxes, no military, no defence…

Steve H

Skeptical? More like “prophet of doom” I say.
The British military industrial complex needs a big shake up, they need to be told to get their priorities right or they’ll get penalties for missing vital deadlines, over spending etc.
If the Government don’t get control, they will continue to call the shots and dictate what goes on.

Steve H

They do it Daniele because they’ve been allowed to do it for decades, it’s highly unethical in my opinion and they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. It’s our hard earned taxes that fund our Armed Forces and they should get the best hardware quickly, efficiently and at a price that is not extortionate. It should be their aim to do what’s right for our Armed Forces, not what’s best for them….or should I say “you’ll get it..eventually, but at a time and cost that suits us and our shareholders” Our defence industry isn’t the only one that operates like… Read more »

Steve H

I totally agree John, it’s all these delays and delays and farting about over procurement that eats up tens of millions, probably pore actually, every single year. Every single time one of these companies gets a contract to design and develop something, we’re been held up and robbed, they might as well wear a flouncy coat have a musket pistol and be Dick Turpin for Christ sake. I could sit here and list shed loads of Projects that are underway… apparently…and not one of them is going through or went through the process quickly, easily and efficiently. NOT ONE!! Even… Read more »

Mark B

Personally I will be interested to see what they come up with. Are we buying the right kit at the right price? Ever since the dawn of time armies have been guilty of kitting themselves up for the last war and not the next.

It is in the interests of some of the suppliers to sell old expensive kit when what we might need to cheaper inexpensive kit. Sometimes an outsider can give a new perspective. DC does like to cut through the c**p and challenge conventional wisdom. Worth listening to what he has to say.

Steve H

I bet that all of the negative comments on here are from scaremongering remoaners, Boris and his advisors know what needs to be done and they’ll do it whether Bae systems likes it or not.
Their purpose is to design, develop and supply the best military hardware available to our Armed Forces quickly and efficiently. They fart about all the time because unfortunately for us, their delays costs tens of millions…. probably more.

Sceptical Richard

Callum, this is extremely complicated. Many clever people have had a go at procurement reform and reorganising DE&S. Every reform has had its little successes but equally its string of failures, has distracted key staff from the job of procurement and set back the equipment programme by years. Show me a single major procurement programme, public or private that hasn’t run into difficulties? It’s the nature of the beast. Too many years between procurements leading to a loss of expertise in industry and a new generation having to relearn the mistakes of the previous. That’s the fault of government, not… Read more »

OkamsRazor

Well said. Project management is not easy. Naval gazing is fun! But the truth is we don’t do too badly compared to our peers.

Steve H

He’s also stated that our defence budget will increase over and above the required 2% of GDP so, in my opinion things will get better for our Armed Forces. The procurement process needs streamlining and this is what I think they’re talking about when it comes to “cutting the cloth”. Look at how long we’ve been farting about over the Ajax program, all the farting about with the upgrades to both the Warrior and Chally 2 etc.. and time costs millions and millions in this industry…money that could be better used elsewhere.

Herodotus

You have a point there!

Lee1

That is not what appears to actually be happening though. DC seems to be the puppet master and Boris just dances to his tune. Obviously having Boris front the policies etc means that DC is protected from direct fallout. Remember that £350 million on the side of the bus. Guess who ordered that to be put there? Guess who got all the criticism for it being a lie? DC was eventually interviewed over it and found it funny that he had managed to lie so convincingly, apparently he says he initially put it there in order to cause arguments and… Read more »

Herodotus

I fear, as an electorate, we get the government that we deserve! So few are prepared to stand up for their beliefs. There needs to be a greater involvement in grass-roots politics from the electorate. Education is the key to this….so many don’t know or, don’t want to know. Liars and cheats are accepted, as long as they win.

Lee1

I agree. My dad voted to leave based entirely on fake news… Much of it written by Boris decades ago when he was at the Spectator! I asked him to explain how the EU worked and he merely said “I Don’t care, I know it is undemocratic and that is all I need to know”… Our countries future is decided by people like him!!! He still hates France for helping Argentina throughout the Falklands war despite that being totally untrue!

Herodotus

Unfortunately you can’t legislate against ignorance. As Sole pointed out a few weeks ago, the popular press in this country bears a heavy responsibility in promoting myths and scandalous untruths mainly to sell newspapers, but also for unscrupulous political purposes. Unfortunately, many simply do not want to address these issues….they feel comfortable with their own prejudices and read or listen to the media that supports them!

Lee1

This is the issue. To be honest I do not really blame the tabloid press, it is a business trying to make money. They are able to make money because people buy their papers. Those to blame are the ones buying papers that are known to be biased and could not tell the truth if their lives depended on it. If someone reads that rubbish and blindly believes it then they are the problem we have right now. Basically most people simply can’t be bothered to spend even a tiny amount of time researching things either because they are too… Read more »

Herodotus

Ah, Plato’s Cave….it was ever thus!

Lee1

Indeed… My dads shadows are the racist, homophobic and insular attitudes of his time. To exit his cave he would have to accept that much of what he knows is wrong… He is not going to ever do that.

Lee1

I mean, he genuinely thinks that Black people are an entirely different species to white people!

And he gets to vote!

Herodotus

I have a similar problem with an older brother. When it is family, it makes things so difficult. I lost my father when I was 13….I wish that I had spent more time talking to him…regardless of any different views that we may have had. In the early 1980’s I put my first oil-rig online…a jack-up in 200ft of water. Laid a buoy pattern and brought the barge onto location….the nav was dropping in and out and the rig was lit up like bloody Manhattan…it was 2 am in the morning….squeaky arsehole time. After chain smoking a pack of fags… Read more »

Lee1

Oh I still talk to him when he is not shouting about crazy stuff. I utterly disagree with much of what he says though as most of it is just idiotic tosh. But then he did not finish school so it is no wonder he is not brilliantly educated.

Airborne

So only one side ever lies? Only one side ever wants to win an election with untruths and bluster? A persons view is skewed to believe the info out put by the party they support, and to disregard others, no matter the real truth. And because others vote differently or have a different view point that are deemed uneducated? That’s rather an arrogant viewpoint, which has ensured that the Tories get a majority and will remain in power for 10 years! The presumptuous attitude that you are right and others are wrong, shows a lack of maturity and life experience.… Read more »

Lee1

Nope. Nope and more nope… You are correct in that politicians on all sides have a tendency to lie. Some voters are also never going to vote for a party other than the one they have always voted for. But I did not say everyone was stupid. I said some people are stupid, others just do not want their views challenged and others are simply ignorant. (There is no other explanation for those that defined the likes of Corbyn, Johnson and trump etc on everything they say or do). I mean what would you think of a person that regardless… Read more »

Airborne

That’s one person, your previous post stated, presumptuously that most are “lazy, not educated enough or just…”. That comment alone is lazy. Most people form a judgment through their own experience and learned knowledge. Is that wrong, is that uneducated? Is that lazy? Again just because someone has a different view doesn’t mean that’s wrong and yours is correct. And be aware who you use as an echo chamber, as it’s easy to pat each other on the back about how righteous you can be and how misguided/wrong/stupid others are. Cheers.

Lee1

I have not met or heard of a single person that voted leave who knows how the EU even works… Every one of them accuses it of being undemocratic… Every one of them also seems to ignore or own democratic failings and also seems to think that the referendum was a first past the post vote and therefore legally binding and so I democratic to disagree with. And of course people can have differing views. However if they are based on lies then this opinions are not exactly too valid… I mean how many people still think that the EU… Read more »

Airborne

As you have never met a “leaver” who knows how the EU works, I presume all the “remainers” do? I presume you know how the EU works? By saying that simplistic comment proves my point. Your thought process is skewed by your beliefs, in this case it’s about the rights/wrongs of the EU, and your reasoning about the people not on “your side”. However one thing is certain, and in this you are correct, that our Parliament has certainly shown its un democratic side over the last 3 years, and in doing so has ensured an election happened, resulting in… Read more »

Lee1

Parliament being in deadlock was not undemocratic. Trying to overturn the referendum was also not undemocratic. However, trying to shut down parliament for reasons to stop parliament carrying out its duties is indeed undemocratic. Also our first past the post system is a little weak democratically too given that a disproportionate amount of power can be gained (or lost) compared to votes won. And yes every remain voter I have spoken too has either k own how the EU works all along or found out for the purpose of the referendum. All of them knew that many of the EUs… Read more »

Airborne

And your reply confirms exactly what I am saying in regard to a persons thought process in support and justification of their position and stance. A leaver can come up with viable reasons why you are wrong. Oh and be careful what you wish for in regard to knocking the first past the post system. I presume you are in favor of moving to a proportionate representation system? If that’s the case then stand by, 2015 election, UKIP 4.4 million votes, no MPs! Imagine if we had proportional representation then! A lot more votes than Lib Dems and SNP (who… Read more »

Lee1

No, this is the point. It is not a matter of opinion it is a matter of fact. Fact and opinion are two very different things. It is unfortunate that the likes of Trump and Dominic Cummings are blurring the lines between fact and opinion but this is purposeful on their part. It is fact that the referendum was not legally binding. A referendum in UK law is merely an opinion poll. It is a chance for Parliament to ask the public their general view. The referendum on leaving the EU told the government that the country was pretty much… Read more »

Airborne

Well it’s not a fact it’s your opinion. So do you agree with PR then, as what other methods do you suggest? If first past the post isn’t your thing, what do you suggest as PR would have made UKIP the third biggest party! And you ignored my point about the election and the fact the remainers have ensured the Tories are now in. Thoughts?

Lee1

How is it opinion? It is clear fact!

Remainders did not ensure that Johnson won, corbyn and momentum did that by being even more unelectable than a pathological lier who hid away from the electorate at every opportunity. That was some going but Corbyn was so bad it was a forgone conclusion.

And there are various forms of PR voting. If it ended up with UKIP as the third largest party then so be it if they have the votes to warrant it.

Airborne

Step back a moment mate. I replied, and am stating that your post saying that leavers were uneducated etc was your opinion not fact. You decided to elaborate in your response, with more statements. You still have not addressed, or purposely ignored my comment in that, your statement was out of order and certainly not a fact that levers are/we’re uneducated etc. So if you aren’t keen on our current way of voting,(which you raised when criticizing a Johnson win) first past the post, why not give an opinion on another option? Was first past the post only bad if… Read more »

Airborne

The statement you gave that leavers are “uneducated blah blah” is certainly not a fact, that is your opinion. This is not rocket science, all your other continued statements, which you post then refer to, I am not at all interested in or challenging. I am challenging your original assertions that all leavers are uneducated etc, is not a fact and is your opinion. Try to stick to this, instead of an attempt to put in a smoke screen with other assertions and comments. And remainers DID ensure Johnson won (you need to understand politics) as Parliment voted against Johnsons… Read more »

Lee1

Johnson has made a career out of lying! Many of the myths that surround the EU and that many leavers believe are true come from Boris when he was a journalist for the spectator. He made a living out of selling stories that were entirely made up! He then becomes a MP and again lies… £350 million (okay not his idea but the idea of his advisor), kippers being frozen to satisfy EU law… Oh and the fact check service they masqueraded as… Yes politicians lie to some extent but analysis of the conservative campaign material showed that 80% was… Read more »

Airborne

No you said “most” leavers (not remainers, you are confusing yourself). And if we “analyse their claims are then they have no idea how things realy work”. Damn you just cannot stop yourself mate, what is it with some people. That sort of attitude ensured that most people outside the London bubble chinned off the remainers, with their self righteous, ” I know best, you know nothing” attitude. Take a step back mate and realise thats it isnt the way to go.

Lee1

Lol yes leavers not remainders… Every single leaver I have spoken to claims that the EU is undemocratic. They also can not explain how the EU actually works… What does that tell you! They also believe the lies about kippers being restricted by the EU (just because Johnson said so) and nice that the EU has banned bent Bananas (again a Johnson lie) In fact all.of them also blame the EU for Abu Hamza taking so long to be extradited! The EU is not perfect but the false myths are extraordinary and are almost entirely peddled by UK tabloids and… Read more »

Airborne

There you go again, you can’t stop can you, the presumptuous attitude that all leavers are stupid etc is wrong, and is a rather simplistic childish view which has no evidence or facts to back it up. What a terribly arrogant and sadly presumptuous attitude.

Airborne

Thanks for an attempt at patronizing me, in regard to opinion/fact/referendums etc, I’ve been around for a while, and understand such things. It’s that attitude that has turned people away from the self righteous left mate. Cheers

Lee1

I am not on the left, I have voted conservative in every general election apart from the latest one. I am far from a leftie. I was also not patronising you, it is just that nothing you have said leads me to believe you can discern fact from opinion.

Airborne

Thanks for another effort at talking AT someone, not TO!

Airborne

And you said most, not some.

Airborne

And I know a couple of Uni snowflakes who voted to remain in the EU so the didn’t have to “change their money” when traveling to the EU???? Nope me neither? It takes all sorts doesn’t it!

Steve H

I disagree completely, he’s already increased defence budget and will continue to do so. Mr Johnson is fully aware of the threats to our Country and has already fully committed to NATO again and has stated that our defence budget will increase over and above the required 2% of GDP…. something that most other member states have not done and don’t seem like doing either.

ChariotRider

Thanks Helions, interesting and worrying read. Frankly, the continuing assumption by those who have never been involved in defence procurement that there must be something fundementally wrong and so easily fixed has always annoyed me. The system is not perfect far from it. Yes it could and should be improved, but it is behaviours that are the real problem. I was in UK defence procurement for 20 years and even from my lowly position it was obviously far from prefect, but there were many people, uniformed and civilian, working hard trying to do the best for our services in the… Read more »

BV Buster

Good rant! I have seen the same but from the green point of view, a random colonel who hasn’t seen a command appointment in a decade making sweeping decisions as soon as he gets his feet under the desk but doesn’t understand the system fully so it all goes to rat s**t. The issue with these chaps is they spent 1 year as a platoon commander then they move off to say a 2ic posting then off to staff work, some of them have literally no field experience, they are man managers not SMEs. Also take it from my side… Read more »

ChariotRider

Hi BV, I like you I can’t give specifics but I was involved in a blue skies research project when I first joined the old PE back in ’89 (boy I feel old!). I learnt a lot on that project including stuff I had never come close to before I joined. I was a Scientific Officer in the old science branch of the Civil Service. I then moved into Operational Analysis in support of procurement projects which involved working very closely with military personnel from all 3 services. Most were very good indeed but you did occasionally come across some… Read more »

BV Buster

1989? great year to start, still with a cold war budget, then came options for change, did you see much upheaval in the early 90s? Operational analysis is an interesting field, I work a lot with other forces and its interesting to see how they conducted certain operations successfully in a manner we would never of even attempted. The problem with changing the requirement is for you its a massive f**k about but you would will probably find that the spec was wrong to start with because of the reasons you stated up thread, 1 X random officer with his… Read more »

ChariotRider

Yeh, options for change nuf said. Operational Analysis (OA) is applied to a wider range of uses these days. We did have a analysts who deployed with various HQ’s on training and operational deployments. I was involved in supporting procurement (being a disabled person going front line was not open to me, sadly). OA actually started as a front support specialism… Getting the spec right is a challenge especially when seeking to develop new kit and you are right the spec can go out of date. However, we had developed tools to help us and the military advisors we worked… Read more »

BV Buster

I think you are spot on with the spec, if you design in modularity knowing full well a spec isn’t going to be 100%, and assume and budget for an A1/A2 variant things would work so much better. What would that look like practically in something like a ship or tank? more space around white boxes for growth? more space for gun upgrades?

BV

ChariotRider

The Astute class subs underlined that building big is an advantage not only for growth in capability but also with maintenance. That lesson appers to have been taken forward into the T45, T26 and even the T31 classes. Steel is cheap and space is free. OK bigger ships can put a strain on dockyard space, but the significant upgrades to the quays for the QEC was massively expensive when compared to the cost of the capability it is supporting and, if looked after properly and built to spec, concrete can last a very long time. As for tanks and other… Read more »

Andy P

Could have sworn I left a reply but thank you both for this discussion. This is the sort of stuff I was hoping to read when I found this site, guys who know what they’re talking about on a subject I know little. I still think the MOD pays vastly over the top for a lot of the small/consumable stuff as well as the larger stuff.

BV Buster

Good explanations, I have never looked at size from a maintenance point of view, having space around a an engine for instance means more efficient work, not having to contort your self hanging upside down to reach a component with a tool you had to manufacture your self to make it easy. All electric is a fascinating area of development, I have seen some examples for an all electric AFV from the 90s and it was awful, it would be interesting to see what we can make now with decades of civilian investment. Here are some questions bases on what… Read more »

ChariotRider

Hi BV, Here are a couple of QinetiQ projects. The Plastic AFV was parked in the yard at Farnborough while it was being developed and I got to have a brief look at it. Plastic Tank https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2015/01/whatever-happened-plastic-tank/ Hybrid System for AFV https://www.theengineer.co.uk/qinetiq-unveils-high-voltage-fighting-vehicle/ Both programmes go back some years now, but stuff has and probably is continuing… As for your concept 1) an electric driven plastic tank may well float rather like, I think, the M113 was amphibious. Concept 2) yup! Redundancy is in effect built into such drives. A drive system could be self charging using either a small bio-fueled… Read more »

ChariotRider

You’re welcome, lthough to be honest I am probably getting a bit out of date 🙂

You might be right about the consumables, not sure why that would be to be honest, possibly down to Tressury Rules which are very perscriptive…

Andy P

At the risk of appearing selfish about this announcement, I’m looking forward to the Vets railcard. No longer having a Forces Railcard was probably my biggest loss after leaving the mob. Yeehaw !!!!!

Martin

You deserve it.

Martin

Wow not one pledge about the actual services themselves. That’s global Britain under the Torys, sorry guys no money for armoured vehicles but here is a free rail card. Atleast Corbyn was offering free broadband.

Daniele Mandelli

Have there ever been any definitive pledges in the Queens Speech concerning the armed forces?

There are plenty of armoured vehicles being delivered shortly actually, which I’m sure you know!

Over a 1000. The issue is the sheer cost of them.

Geoffrey Roach

Dear God…. What a depressing bunch. An announcement about armed forces personnel getting benefit and most of you go into meltdown about cuts, although there is no justification for it. As for a conversation with Cummings I had a conversation with my dentist last week and he said my teeth were fine. Why do so many people on this blog always assume the worst?
Two suggested New Year resolutions (a) Say daily…thank goodness we didn’t get Corybn and (b) I’ll think good thoughts until I know different.
Meanwhile, Merry Christmas guys and hopefully a great and positive defence New Year.

Daniele Mandelli

I’m signed up Geoffrey. Merry Christmas to you too.

John Clark

“(a) Say daily…thank goodness we didn’t get Corybn and (b) I’ll think good thoughts until I know different.”

Sensible comment of the year!

I will certainly drink to that, Merry Christmas all and I hope Putin lets our resident MSB Morse tappers have Christmas day off…

John Sherwell

Let us hope they mean what they say!

Sean Crowley

Am Australian , the idea that your pensions comes out of your Defense Budget is absurd and is cheating the system, admittedly Australia is not spending 2% but we already cannot crew the weapons we have let alone those we are purchasing .

Julian

To try and add a bit of Christmas cheer check out this photo, discovered courtesy of the SavetheRoyalNavy twitter feed. It’s twin carriers in port for Christmas then (2006) and now (2019). Quite a striking photo composition/comparison.

Merry Christmas all ….

https://twitter.com/MaritimePhotos/status/1208433502053638146/photo/1

Ian R

I’ve read to the end of the comments. Did anyone see that Cobham has been sold off by Johnson to America?

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jul/25/us-private-equity-group-snaps-up-cobham-in-4bn-deal