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Fox warns of more cuts to armed forces

There will be further substantial changes to the armed forces, including significant cuts in the Army, Navy and RAF, the Defence Secretary Liam Fox said yesterday.

Speaking at a Conservative Home conference in Westminster on security and development, Mr Fox said the Government had to face the "harsh economic reality" that the formulation of defence policies "begin and end with money".

The Ministry of Defence will therefore begin a process of across- the-board cuts, changing the way in which all frontline deployments operate.

Among the measures being considered are a reduction and conciliation of current single-purpose army groups into larger "multi-role brigades", a continued consultation on future naval equipment and the "slimming down" of the number of RAF fleets.

However, the Defence Secretary was keen to reassure Britain's allies of his department's commitment to continued investment in European Typhoon fighter jets and American C17 military transport planes, which have played a key role in Nato's air campaign in Libya.

In his parting message to Tory MPs and party supporters worried about defence cuts, Mr Fox said: "If you want to spend more on defence, tell me which taxes you want to raise or which cuts you want to make to other programmes."

"It's a tough message but it's one Britain has to face."