Questioned on the government’s plans for defence spending, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said at the time of the Strategic Defence and Security Review the Prime Minister had said: “My own strong view is that this structure will require year-on-year real-terms growth in the defence budget in the years beyond 2015″ and that his view had not changed.
Put that this only covered equipment, the PMS said that the Defence Secretary had set out the ten year equipment plan today and that a one per cent increase was already confirmed. The PMS said the Prime Minister stood by what he had said in 2010, but that there would also be a spending review and that process was in its early stages.
Asked about the time commitment the government would make for British military support, the PMS said that the EU training mission and AFISMO deployment were yet to be agreed. The EU training mission would be mandated to be in Mali for no longer than 15 months and this would be subject to an ongoing review.
Asked if the Prime Minister hoped British bullets would not be fired during the deployment, the PMS said the government had offered troops in a training role.
Asked if the Prime Minister was confident the police had the numbers they needed to fight crime and keep the public safe, the PMS said that, as the Policing Minister has said, the government’s police reforms were working, crime was down ten per cent and public confidence was up. The government had set a challenge to the police to cut crime and play their part in cutting the country’s deficit and thanks to the efforts of the police the challenge was being met.
Asked if the Prime Minister believed it would be a ‘fatal mistake’ to leave the EU, the PMS said the Prime Minister had set out his views in his Europe speech. There was an ongoing debate but the PM had made his views clear.