Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, fires first shots in budget war
The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, has sparked a new outbreak of coalition feuding, calling for fresh welfare cuts in order to protect spending on the armed forces.
The Tory heavyweight used an interview during a trip to the Royal Marines Arctic training camp in Norway to point out that a cut of just 0.5 per cent in the welfare bill would be enough to provide the funding the military needs.
The suggestion was an early shot in the Whitehall war over the spending review, which is scheduled to take place in the next few months. But it also sparked a fresh outbreak of arguments between the Tories and Liberal Democrats over the coalition's priorities.
Tory MPs welcomed Mr Hammond's declaration he would resist further cuts to the defence budget. But there was anger among Liberal Democrats, who are set on preventing a renewed squeeze on benefits.
Mark Pritchard, a backbencher, said Mr Hammond could expect support from fellow Tories. "Defence cuts have gone far enough," he said. "There will be zero political support from Conservative backbenchers for any additional cuts." However, the Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert said building a fairer society meant helping those struggling on low incomes. "In times of austerity, it is important for us to be far more efficient in terms of Ministry of Defence spending, rather than to take money from people who really don't have spare money," he told BBC News.
Mr Hammond told journalists: "There is a body of opinion within Cabinet that believes we have to look at the welfare budget again. We're creating jobs in the private sector and should expect to see the welfare budget shrinking, not growing."
Downing Street has made it clear that defence will not be immune from cuts in the review of spending for 2015-16.
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Robin Thicke named sexist of the year 2013
Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
Paul Walker death caused by speed alone
Apollo Theatre collapse: Scores injured after ceiling collapses in London's West End
- 1 North Koreans are gasping for the truth: Let's give it to them
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 4 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
- 5 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
- < Previous
- Next >
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: This Big 4 giant is seeking ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have personal tax exp...
£22000 - £37000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This se...
£27000 - £30000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Capita ...