Letter: Regions miss out on defence spending

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The Independent Online
Sir: Perhaps more attention should be paid to the government health warnings attached to its statistics ('Spending gap between England and rest of UK closing', 2 February). The Celtic fringe nations do gain more 'identifiable general government expenditure' per head than England, but the brief disclaimer that this excludes expenditure such as defence needs some expansion.

Other government figures show that procurement by the MoD, the largest customer in the UK, is concentrated in the south of England. This 'excluded' expenditure goes to pay engineers, develop companies' technological bases, etc, rather than being spent on unemployment benefits and other 'identified expenditure'.

The redundancies in defence- related firms show how significant defence spending is for some local economies. They also indicate the many jobs that for decades have been maintained, particularly in southern England, by defence budgets - which of course do not show up in your quoted regional expenditure figures.

Yours sincerely,

R. McQUAID

Napier University

Edinburgh

2 February

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