Opinion Former Article

PCS: Defence cuts made on `predetermined timetable'

The strategic defence and security review has been cooked up in secret with little or no input from those most affected, the Public and Commercial Services union says.

The review, being announced in two parts today (18 October) and tomorrow, has been held in secret behind the shield of the newly formed National Security Council, with little input from senior military personnel, senior MoD officials and no input at all from the unions who represent more than 80,000 civilians who work in the Ministry of Defence.

PCS says the charade over Trident funding, the future of the aircraft carriers and the 'leaked' letter from defence secretary Liam Fox have been deliberate ruses by the coalition government to make it appear that the SDSR has been a public consultation and that everybody's views were listened to.

In reality, this was pre-determined timetable agreed by politicians and will be completed tomorrow with the review deliberately being announced with less cuts than expected, 24 hours before draconian and unnecessary cuts will be announced for the rest of the public sector.

PCS does not accept the need for any cuts either in the MoD or elsewhere in the public sector. The union has published a pamphlet outlining an alternative to public spending cuts which says the government should invest in public services to generate economic growth, and that tackling the £120 billion in tax that is avoided, evaded or uncollected every year would change the debate about the public finances overnight.

PCS MoD group secretary Bob Rollings said: "David Cameron is callously using his 'admiration' for our armed forces as a spiteful tool to attack public services. The public will not be fooled into believing that cuts have to be made when there are uncollected taxes in excess of £120 billion."

"Whatever cuts are announced in the Ministry of Defence and in the wider public sector are cuts too far. In the MoD, we will see short-term financial thinking replace generations of experience and knowledge."

ENDS

Notes

- For information, interviews and comment please contact Chris Dando, PCS Ministry of Defence group president, on 07769 938962, Bob Rollings, MoD group secretary, on 07734 494638, or PCS national press officer Richard Simcox on 020 7801 2747 or 07833 978216

- The Public and Commercial Services union represents civil and public servants in central government. It has more than 300,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies, as well as staff in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president is Janice Godrich

- Follow PCS on Twitter

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