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UK troops face training cuts due to soaring fuel prices

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, July 21, IRNA
British troops, involved in two wars, face training cuts due to soaring fuel costs, it was reported Monday.

According to the Times newspaper, the cost of fuelling Britain's Armed Forces is due to rise by more than Pnds 500 million (Dlrs 1 billion) next year as a result of record oil prices, forcing the military to consider broad cuts to air force and combat training.

With the Armed Forces' budget set to rise by just 3 per cent and the government warning departments of no additional increases, defence and industry analysts said that major cuts to training programmes such as fighter plane exercises would be inevitable.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Glen Torpy, Chief of the Air Staff, was understood to told senior members of the defence industry last week that RAF pilots would do more training in simulators this year because of the budget squeeze.

The daily said it had seen Ministry of Defence (MoD) calculations of projected fuel bills that was expected to rise from just under Pnds 2.4 bn to Pnds 2.9 bn for 2008-09, with fuel for aircraft, naval and ground vehicles up by more than 20 per cent on last year.

The MoD was quoted saying it would absorb the higher cost of fuel used in Britain, despite the Treasury already borrowing record amounts to meet its existing Armed Forces spending commitments. Fuel used in Iraq and Afghanistan would be paid for by the Treasury.

Figures released last week showed that the net additional cost for the UK wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is set to reach almost Pnds 12 billion by the end of the current financial year.


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