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Defence Spending — [Mr Clive Betts in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 16th July 2019.

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Photo of Anne-Marie Trevelyan Anne-Marie Trevelyan Conservative, Berwick-upon-Tweed 9:30 am, 16th July 2019

The hon. Gentleman pre-empts some of what I am going to talk about. He is absolutely right.

Our doctors and nurses tell us directly and bluntly if the funding systems for the NHS are not working properly so we can do something about it and advocate for them. However, that is not an option for our defence chiefs, so it is hard for us to know whether their resources would be sustainable and resilient if there were a major crisis. The question is not only whether enough funding is going into our defences but whether we are spending it correctly—a narrative that ran successfully after the strategic defence and security review in 2010, when the country was in dire financial straits and the former Member for Whitney had the unenviable challenge of trying to put it back on to a stable financial footing. SDSR ’10 declared—conveniently, perhaps, to match the financial crisis—that the Ministry of Defence, like other Departments, had to find efficiencies. There is no question but that that was the right thing to do.