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‘An extraordinary amount of money to throw away’: Defence chiefs unhappy as spy planes and fighter jets set to go in £12bn cuts

Posted on: February 15, 2011

More than £12billion worth of fighter jets, spy planes and aircraft carriers will be dismantled because of budget cuts, the Government will admit today.

The full cost of the Coalition’s defence review is set to be disclosed in Parliament by Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

It will include the first official estimates of the value of equipment which will be scrapped, such as the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal.

A new £4billion fleet of Nimrod spy planes will also be axed.

The £12billion figure represents the value of equipment at the time it is dismantled, rather than the much larger amount paid for it.

The cost is equivalent to the annual budget of the Department for Transport or more than 20 hospitals.

A Government source said there were another ‘half a dozen or so’ unpublished casualties of the cuts, including some Tornado jets.

Ministers insist that cost-cutting is vital to pay for new equipment over the next decade and a £38billion ‘black hole’ they claim was left by the last government.

But last night Major-General Patrick Cordingley criticised the Government for rushing the defence review, saying: ‘This seems to be the most extraordinary amount of money to literally throw away. For those who are concerned about allowances being cut or indeed facing redundancy it will come as a real shock.’

A further £2.3billion worth of military hardware is to be designated as ‘lost’, The Times reported. An MoD spokesman said: ‘This has no impact on MoD’s spending power.’

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