Will the famous black hole in the MoD budget ever be filled?
It strikes me that it has become the universal excuse for anything to do with reducing defence funding, blaming the previous government is an all too easy excuse.
The number is repeatedly said to be £38 billion but the government has never published the make up of this number, is it a mixture of capital and support costs, if so what is the split, over what period is it measured and what is the current status are many interesting questions that don’t seem to attract any answers.
The latest news from the Telegraph indicates that the scale of the black hole was underestimated (the gift that keeps on giving) and more cuts will be needed. The figure reported was an additional £2 billion to be found in Planning Round 12 (PR12)
One might expect to see the usual round of leaks and speculation in the next few months and again, nothing seems to be off the table except the Red Arrows, public duties and a certain large ship currently being built somewhere up North.
Rumours persist about greater reductions in MoD civil servants, Army manpower and FRES, FRES in particular has been absent from recent communications from the MoD, unlike the Warrior upgrades. BAE of course got their digs in early with an announcement about reviewing the Portsmouth shipbuilding facility, convenient timing given the stage that the Type 26 frigate is nearing announcement time and PR12.
The games they all play