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BRITAIN’S ARMED FORCES ‘OVERSTRETCHED AND UNDERFUNDED’, SAYS TORY MP

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee, said investments in space and cyber capabilities should not come at the expense of the traditional armed forces.

During a debate on the upcoming Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, he told the Commons: “In updating our military architecture we must also be frank about our current capabilities. We should be honest.

“We actually perpetuate this myth that our incredible professional armed forces can meet all their taskings and they have all the kit that they need. In reality, this is not the case. Our forces are overstretched and sadly they are now underpaid. And they are often lacking the equipment or indeed the numbers of platforms to do the taskings we ask of them.

“Yes the Royal Navy has two incredible aircraft carriers, but our surface fleet is now too small to protect our post-Brexit maritime trade interests. In the Army, our main battle tank and our warrior APCs are now over 20 years old waiting for the green light of the integrated review to know whether they’ll get upgraded or not.”

He added: “Investment in new cyber and space programmes has been paid for by cuts to our conventional capabilities. If this pandemic has taught us anything it’s the need for resilience and flexibility.”

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