Today’s defence related news includes coverage of the NAO report on the MOD’s equipment plan and further coverage of ex-serviceman Gus Hales.
There is widespread national coverage, including in The Guardian , The Times, and The Telegraph, on a report by the National Audit Office on the MOD’s equipment plan. The plan is part of the Government’s commitment to transparency and covers the ten-year spending forecast on military equipment and support.
An MOD spokesperson said:
We are confident that we will deliver the equipment plan within budget this year, as we did last year, as we strive to ensure our military have the very best ships, aircraft and vehicles through our £186bn plan. We recognise the financial challenges that these ambitious, complex programmes pose, and are addressing these after securing a £1.8bn financial boost for defence and reducing forecast costs by £9.5bn through efficiency savings. We also continue to work on the Modernising Defence Programme to ensure we have the best capabilities on an affordable footing.
The Daily Express continues its coverage of Mr Gus Hales, an ex-serviceman who raised concerns about his interactions with Combat Stress. Yesterday, Defence Minister Tobias Elwood spoke with Mr Hales over the phone.
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said:
I spoke to Mr Hales and Combat Stress today and was saddened to hear about the situation. It is clear that Mr Hales served his country with distinction and I’m reassured that this situation is being resolved, I look forward to meeting with him in the near future.
We have a duty to ensure that those who have been injured either physically or mentally continue to receive the best possible care once they leave the armed forces.
This Government is increasing funding for mental health services, with up to £2 billion extra funding a year, as well as increasing resources for veterans specific services. We have also launched the Veterans’ Gateway, a 24 hours helpline that acts as a single point of contact and signposting service to any former service personnel and their families.