The Coalition Agreement – Defence Issues

61

Issued by the Cabinet Office the full text of the coalition agreement is now available online here

The defence and security aspects are as below

8. DEFENCE

The Government believes that we need to take action to safeguard our national security at home and abroad. We also recognise that we need to do much more to ensure that our Armed Forces have the support they need, and that veterans and their families are treated with the dignity that they deserve.

We will maintain Britain’s nuclear deterrent, and have agreed that the renewal of Trident should be scrutinised to ensure value for money. Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for alternatives. We will immediately play a strong role in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and press for continued progress on multilateral disarmament.

We will aim to reduce Ministry of Defence running costs by at least 25%.

We will work to rebuild the Military Covenant by:

  • ensuring that Service personnel’s rest and recuperation leave can be maximised;
  • changing the rules so that Service personnel only have to register once on the Service register;
  • exploring the potential for including Service children as part of our proposals for a pupil premium;
  • providing university and further education scholarships for the children of Servicemen and women who have been killed on active duty since 1990;
  • providing support for ex-Service personnel to study at university,
  • creating a new programme, ‘Troops for Teachers’, to recruit ex-Service personnel into the teaching profession;
  • providing extra support for veteran mental health needs; and
  • reviewing the rules governing the awarding of medals.

We will double the operational allowance for Armed Forces personnel serving in Afghanistan, and include Armed Forces pay in our plans for a fair pay review.

We will ensure that injured personnel are treated in dedicated military wards.

We will look at whether there is scope to refurbish Armed Forces’ accommodation from efficiencies within the Ministry of Defence.

We will support defence jobs through exports that are used for legitimate purposes, not internal repression, and will work for a full international ban on cluster munitions.

15. FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The Government believes that Britain must always be an active member of the global community, promoting our national interests while standing up for the values of freedom, fairness and responsibility. This means working as a constructive member of the United Nations, NATO and other multilateral organisations including the Commonwealth; working to promote stability and security; and pushing for reform of global institutions to ensure that they reflect the modern world.

We will take forward our shared resolve to safeguard the UK’s national security and support our Armed Forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

We will push for peace in the Middle East, with a secure and universally recognised Israel living alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state.

We will work to establish a new ‘special relationship’ with India and seek closer engagement with China, while standing firm on human rights in all our bilateral relationships.

We will maintain a strong, close and frank relationship with the United States.

We want to strengthen the Commonwealth as a focus for promoting democratic values and development.

We will work to promote stability in the Western Balkans.

We will support concerted international efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

We support reform of the UN Security Council, including permanent seats for Japan, India, Germany, Brazil and African representation.

We will work to intensify our cultural, educational, commercial and diplomatic links with many nations beyond Europe and North America to strengthen the UK’s relations with the fastest-growing areas of the world economy.

We will never condone the use of torture.

21. NATIONAL SECURITY

The Government believes that its primary responsibility is to ensure national security. We need a coherent approach to national security issues across government, and we will take action to tackle terrorism, and its causes, at home and abroad.

We have established a National Security Council and appointed a National Security Adviser.

We have commenced a Strategic Defence and Security Review, commissioned and overseen by the National Security Council, with strong Treasury involvement. We will also develop and publish a new National Security Strategy.

We will urgently review Control Orders, as part of a wider review of counter-terrorist legislation, measures and programmes. We will seek to find a practical way to allow the use of intercept evidence in court.

We will deny public funds to any group that has recently espoused or incited violence or hatred. We will proscribe such organisations, subject to the advice of the police and security and intelligence agencies.

We believe that Britain should be able to deport foreign nationals who threaten our security to countries where there are verifiable guarantees that they will not be tortured. We will seek to extend these guarantees to more countries.

Others

The next items are presented in summary format

We will take steps to open up government procurement and reduce costs; and we will publish government ICT contracts online.

We will require full, online disclosure of all central government spending and contracts over £25,000.

The Government believes that even in these difficult economic times, the UK has a moral responsibility to help the poorest people in the world. We will honour our aid commitments, but at the same time will ensure much greater transparency and scrutiny of aid spending to deliver value for money for British taxpayers and to maximise the impact of our aid budget.

We will honour our commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid from 2013, and to enshrine this commitment in law.

We will introduce full transparency in aid and publish details of all UK aid spending online. We will push for similarly high levels of transparency internationally.

We will keep aid untied from commercial interests, and will maintain DfID as an independent department focused on poverty reduction.

We will stick to the rules laid down by the OECD about what spending counts as aid.

We will support efforts to establish an International Arms Trade Treaty to limit the sales of arms to dangerous regimes.

We will provide a more integrated approach to post-conflict reconstruction where the British military is involved – building on the Stabilisation Unit in Whitehall and creating a new Stabilisation and Reconstruction Force to bridge the gap between the military and the reconstruction effort.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Jedibeeftrix

the comment on the stabilisation and reconstruction is interesting……….

Jedibeeftrix

Hopefully the DFiD, it’s listed under their heading……….. hope springs eternal after all.

Jed

So we get”

“The Government believes that even in these difficult economic times, the UK has a moral responsibility to help the poorest people in the world. We will honour our aid commitments, but at the same time will ensure much greater transparency and scrutiny of aid spending to deliver value for money for British taxpayers and to maximise the impact of our aid budget.”

Not something along the lines of “we are at war, we are part of the global war on terror, and national security and our armed forces will be funded appropriately, with full transparency and scrutiny… blah blah blah…..”

So in this respect ConDem (or LibCon) are just as “left wing” as their New Labour predecessors – discuss…..

Richard W
Richard W

The Coalition agreement in ‘18 International Development’, has the interesting item noted “to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid from 2013, and will enshrine this commitment in law.”

Personally I cannot see much that is sane in making a law to say you will give way so much of our wealth, come what may.

However, the interesting bit is that there was obviously a conversation that went something like this – we want to be liberal with this (giving money away) and we will not accept anything less, to which someone else said we can’t afford to do that as things currently are. So the logical compromise they signed up to was to accept short term austerity in exchange for a longer term cast iron guarantee to return to normal when the cash might be there.

It might have been nice if the same approach had been taken in every other area of spending as well; but rest assured in most areas the future level of funding will not go unnoticed and if the voting public want it to increase then it will no later than the next election. But defence has few friends and if, as expected, the FDR fudges the strategic analysis to enable politicians to justify a cut-back then the funding may be gone forever. Do not expect any public protest in the High street demanding the government purchases more warships.

There is no avoiding short term cut-backs; after all it will not help defence if Britain becomes the next Greece. The problem is that it will be too easy for the politicians to be dishonest about the level of future funding defence should receive with fudged strategic reasons, once the austerity level of funding is put in place for short term financial reasons. What is required is honesty in the FDR.

So what to do? Is this where the bloggers to Think Defence write to their MPs? Get someone sympathetic to embarrass a Minister into a concession that once the deficit is paid off defence will once again have a guaranteed 2.5% of GNI? Threaten to put the FDR on-line and pull it apart until the next election naming as many culpable politicians as can be found? Shall we chat among ourselves or is there more that can be done?

c
c

Just been reading on BBC NEWS that Defence (along with Health and International Development) are being protected from cuts in 2010-2011 and that any savings from efficiency measures can be recycled in-house

So some good news

↓