Home Office & FCO cuts could undermine UK security strategy, defence thinktank warns

Royal United Services Institute says protection of Ministry of Defence budget alone may not be enough to safeguard against wider threats

By Josh May

10 Sep 2015

Spending cuts in departments other than defence could have “considerable” implications for Britain’s national security, a leading thinktank has warned.

The Ministry of Defence’s funding will be protected over the parliament, with George Osborne announcing in this summer’s Budget that the UK will meet the Nato target to spend 2% of national income on defence until at least 2020.

The Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) has warned, however, that the chancellor’s plans to find savings of up to 40% from other departments will have knock-on effects on security.

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“Were cuts of this magnitude to be made, the implications for national security could be considerable,” the thinktank says. 

Rusi’s report says some agencies funded by departments like the Home Office and Foreign Office should have their budgets protected as well.

“No comparable protection has been extended to the departments and agencies responsible for tackling the security challenges posed by organised crime and illegal migration, or in support of UK international diplomacy."

Protecting these departments would cost £400m by 2020, according to Rusi, while exposing them to cuts would “risk undermining the wider coherence and credibility” of the upcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review.

A Treasury spokesman responded by stressing that “security comes first” for the government.

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