Military chiefs demand more cash for forces

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Prime Minister Gordon Brown will today face calls from senior military figures for an urgent cash injection for Britain's Armed Forces.

The UK National Defence Association is being launched, under the patronage of three former chiefs of defence staff, to press for a major increase in defence spending.

With British troops committed on two fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan, it will argue that the Armed Forces budget needs to rise from around 2% of national income to 3% - a target it wants all the political parties to sign up to.

The association's patrons are ex-defence chiefs General Lord Guthrie, Admiral Lord Boyce and Marshal of the RAF Lord Craig, and former foreign secretary Lord Owen.

Other supporters include ex-MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove and Mr Brown's security adviser, Tory MP Patrick Mercer.

Former Tory MP Winston Churchill - the grandson of the Second World War leader - is the association president.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Lord Guthrie said the lack of sufficient resources for the military had become "a most pressing issue".

"Underfunding of our Armed Forces is already having consequences, both for our overall defence capability and for our forces at the sharp end, which are too thinly spread and being required to go to war with equipment which is often outdated and not fit for purpose," he said.

Lord Boyce, who was chief of defence staff at the time of the Iraq invasion, added: "Even though defence did see an increase in the most recent comprehensive spending review, that goes nowhere near addressing the fundamental issue of proper funding and over-commitment."