Today’s Daily Telegraph cartoon would appear to be a comment on this story.
Amid accusations that defence policy is now a shambles, Downing Street attempted to “clarify” an apparent promise by David Cameron that overall spending on the military would rise in 2015-16.
On Wednesday Mr Cameron said that he would stand by a pledge he made in 2010 to provide “year-on-year real-terms growth in the defence budget in the years beyond 2015.” The Prime Minister’s renewal of that promise raised the hopes of military insiders over the coming Spending Review. Commanders had feared the review would mean yet more cuts in 2015-16 as George Osborne, the Chancellor, squeezes the ministry’s budget again.
However, the Government’s position descended into confusion on Thursday as No 10 attempted to argue that Mr Cameron’s commitment to increase spending “beyond 2015” does not apply to the 2015-16 financial year.
The Prime Minister’s references to spending beyond 2015 “means starting in 2016”, Downing Street said on Thursday. “He was referring to the financial year starting in 2016,” a spokesman said.
Thanks to Dick Budgen, who also comments that “the drawing is more accurate than one would usually expect”.