FORCES: Cuts could cause difficulty

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We recently marked the annual Armed Forces Day and it is right that their essential work is highlighted, particularly when they are under attack themselves financially.

Events were going on in various locations reminding us of their role in safeguarding our national security, and it is a role that grows ever more complex, with potential cyber, biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear attacks.

But, meanwhile, a battle is raging about the defence budget. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson wants an extra £20billion over the next decade, but civil servants want personnel cuts and general uncertainty about just what sort of armed forces we should have for the future.

It is obviously impossible to know what the future holds, but we must not leave ourselves vulnerable to our enemies and we must be able to defend our country.

You can only pare back our armed forces so far without causing operational difficulties, and it is not just at times of warfare that our troops are needed.

You only have to look at the current situation on Saddleworth Moor to realise what an important role our Army provides in times of crisis.

Jonathan Arnott,

Independent North East MEP