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Lord Ashdown Warns Of £9bn-a-year Defence Budget Gap

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His comments came as a report by a high-level commission for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think-tank urges ministers to consider whether the submarine-based system is the most cost-effective way of maintaining Britain's "minimum" deterrent capability.

The recommendation is one of a raft of proposals, covering the whole spectrum of Britain's national security, made by the commission chaired by former defence secretary Lord Robertson of Port Ellen and Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, the former Liberal Democrat leader.

Lord Ashdown told the Today programme that the £9 billion estimate "is not a figure which the report comes up with but it is a figure I think is correct."

"I think the hole in the defence budget now amounts to about £9 billion per annum over a defence budget of £36 billion," he continued.

"That places some constraints. (It represents) the gap between what we are committed to and what we can afford and the gap between the strategic decisions taken at a different time and in a different context from the world in which we find ourselves now.

"My personal view - not the commission's view - is that I can see no circumstances in which a rational review of Trident would lead you to the decision to replace Trident with Trident, but the decision is better taken in the context of a security review when you can look at the security situation and look at the options."

He said the West must establish new relationships with other countries as its domination of the world is coming to an end.

"I think - and again this rather more is a personal view, but it is reflected in the commission's report - that we are now reaching the end of nearly 600 years of the domination of Western power, Western institutions and Western values in world affairs," Lord Ashdown said.

Good job Labour have spent money wisely and not pi55ed it up against a wall.....

There is no more money, the pot is empty.

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