Defence in the media

https://modmedia.blog.gov.uk/2015/02/09/defence-in-the-media-9-february-2015/

Defence in the Media: 9 February 2015

Defence spending

In a cross-party plea, two former defence Ministers have urged the Government to maintain defence spending and ensure that the UK continues to meet the NATO 2% target.

This Government is committed to spending 2% of GDP on defence and will continue do so throughout this spending review period. In fact NATO assess the UK to be the largest defence spender in the EU, the second largest in NATO and one of only four countries in NATO currently meeting the NATO 2% GDP guideline.

An MOD spokesperson said:

“This Government spends 2% of GDP on Defence and has consistently met and indeed exceeded this NATO Guideline. We committed, in the Wales Summit communiqué as an Ally who currently meets the 2% guideline, to aim to continue to do so. The UK also exceeds the NATO guideline to spend 20% of the defence budget on new equipment and along with the US is one of only two Allies currently to meet both NATO guidelines.”

Veterans

There are various reports that British veterans have used their war pensions to pay for social care due to an anomaly between different Government schemes.

It is not appropriate to compare the benefits payable under the War Pension Scheme and the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) given they are very different schemes.

The AFCS pays full and final awards in order to help individuals move forward with their lives following injury with financial security. In contrast the War Pension Scheme awards can be reviewed upwards and downwards at any time.

An MOD spokesperson said:

“As part of the Armed Forces Covenant, this Government has committed to making sure veterans get special treatment, when appropriate, and are not disadvantaged by their service. We have been working with the Royal British Legion on this to see how we can support all veterans as part of our wider transformation of the way we pay for care in this country.”

Afghanistan commemoration service

It has been reported that some people are unhappy not to have been invited to a special service of commemoration which will be held at St Paul's Cathedral on March 13 to mark the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan.

While we would have liked to invite more, there is a limit on the size of the congregation due to the 2,000 capacity of the St Paul’s Cathedral. We have had to take the difficult decision to restrict allocation to Next of Kin for members of the Armed Forces who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.

An MOD spokesperson said:

“This service is intended to honour the contribution of all those who served in Afghanistan from 2001, whether the 100,000 military personnel or the civilians that worked there. Unavoidably limited capacity at St Paul’s means we are unable to include everyone who would wish to attend but by reserving half of the congregation places we are ensuring that two people with close ties to anyone who lost their life in Afghanistan can attend. The rest of the congregation will be made up of Armed Forces personnel and civilians who served in Afghanistan, veterans, international partners and supporting organisations.”

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