James Forsyth

Has Labour u-turned on protecting defence spending?

Has Labour u-turned on protecting defence spending?
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Back in July, Lord Mandelson added defence to health and education as an area of spending that Labour would protect from cuts. But looking at page 97 of the Green Book, defence is conspicuously absent from the list of areas of public spending that are protected in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. The only areas mentioned are NHS spending, schools, sure start, policing and overseas aid. As some of these are only receiving funding increases in line with inflation, it seems reasonable to assume that everything else - including defence - is likely to be cut in real terms.   

(There is a commitment to spend up to £2.5 billion from the reserve on the mission in Afghanistan in 2009-10. But this will not add to the baseline of the MOD budget.)