The Welsh Liberal Democrats have expressed concerns about the impact for Wales of plans to make significant cuts to the Armed Forces.
Leader Jane Dodds called for the UK Government to ‘come clean’ about their plans and outline what affect they would have on Barracks towns such as Brecon and Cawdor.
The army could be cut by as many as 20,000 troops under plans drawn up by defence chiefs, according to a report in the Sunday Times.
Sources told the Sunday Times that the moves are being driven by Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s most senior advisor, who has favours greater investment in space warfare and artificial intelligence.
The report outlines UK Government plans for cuts of up to 5% across all departments, with Defence in particular set for deep cuts.
The plans would include:
- A reduction of 19,000 Army Soldiers,
- The abolition of the dedicated Commando Brigade,
- All Royal Navy Minehunters being retired,
- The closure of many RAF Airbases,
- The scrapping of the RAF’s Hercules Transport Planes and Puma Helicopters.
“If these reports are true, then the Conservatives have a lot to answer for,” Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said. “Just 8 months ago they were promising to protect our armed forces, now they are planning to gut them.
“Cuts of this scale would cripple the ability of our armed forces to respond to situations, diminish our standing on the world stage and potentially jeopardise our place in NATO.
“These cuts would also affect barracks towns, such as Brecon and Cawdor. These barracks form a key part of the local economy and community, a position any cut would massively jeopardise.
“The Conservatives must come clean about their planned cuts and be upfront with people. They cannot proclaim to be the party protecting our armed forces while simultaneously planning huge cuts in the shadows.
“I will be writing to the Secretary of State for Defence to press this issue and demand answers.”
A No 10 spokesman told the Sunday Times: “It is false to say No 10 plans to cut defence. We will fulfil our manifesto commitments, including to increase the defence budget above inflation.
“We do not recognise the accounts of the alleged meetings.”