The Defence Review answers some of the criticisms bloggers on this site have made in recent years. The order for new fast stealth fighter jets has been increased, meaning the new aircraft carriers will have planes to fly from them. The maritime reconnaissance role will be served by new planes, after a gap in UK capability. 8 new frigates will be ordered. The new carriers are well advanced in build. When they come into operation they will have frigate, destroyer and submarine protection.
The army will receive more new armoured vehicles, with a larger mobile force available to intervene, or support allies. Up to 10,000 troops will also be trained and available to reinforce the police at home should there be dangerous terrorist attacks requiring a forceful response.
I raised with the Prime Minister the issue of control of our borders. I welcome the additional cash and personnel to strengthen our intelligence gathering. We can only keep safe if the authorities stay ahead of the threats to our way of life, and use the intelligence they have gained to good effect. I suggested that our borders be strengthened with specific links from the Intelligence services to the border management, so that if for example terrorists are displaced from the Middle East by military action there they cannot gain entry to the UK, whatever their legal status, if their aim is harm or they are trained in terrorist ways. He accepted that more should be done to tighten border controls.
I also raised with Defence Ministers after the statement the need to continue to press for better value for money within the defence budget. In particular more can be done to release MOD land in places where it has substantial development value, and to provide new and better facilities elsewhere for our service personnel. I also relaunched my proposal for better assistance to service personnel in buying their own home. Everyone in the military should have a home base. They should be helped to buy a home of their own near the base in the normal way. Alternatively if they are using married quarters or other service housing on a base they should be able to buy an interest in it from the MOD for the duration of their time in the services, only to sell it back at a profit based on an agreed index of comparable freehold property prices when leaving the service. They would then have a deposit for a home of their own.