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Minister pots at 'armchair generals'.

DEFENCE Secretary Philip Hammond yesterday hit back at critics who claim the armed forces are suffering unnecessary cuts because of his "overzealous" austerity drive.

Senior defence sources quoted by the Daily Telegraph complained that Mr Hammond's cautious approach meant the defence budget was underspent by almost PS2bn at a time when thousands of military personnel were losing their jobs.

But Mr Hammond said his critics had no idea how the defence budget worked. The MoD accounts show that it spent only PS37.7bn of its PS39.5bn budget in 2012-13, according to the Telegraph.

In his statement, Mr Hammond retorted: "These retired 'senior military figures' are presumably the same people who presided over an out of control defence budget that led to the previous government sending troops into battle without the proper equipment needed to protect them.

"They clearly have no idea how the defence budget now works. Instead of having to delay and cancel programmes as in the past, we now budget prudently and roll forward any underspend to future years."
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 13, 2013
Words:172
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