UK military ‘running out of ammo’ and there’s ‘no new money’

British Army is in a ‘dire state’ says Tobias Ellwood

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Ammunition is running low but the Government cannot allocate more funding to the British military, defence sources have warned. As a result, the UK will not be able to provide the number of troops to a NATO force in support of Ukraine that other countries expected.

Many have called for the Government to increase defence spending, but the defence sources say Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and the Treasury have not heeded these warnings.

One source told Sky News: “We know that at the moment the Treasury and the chancellor are playing hardball.

“They recognise the threats. They recognise the pressure defence is under from inflation, the nuclear deterrent, stockpiles and Ukraine. But despite recognising the threats and the pressure, they say there is no more money.”

Another source hit out at the Government for after a “refresh” of the country’s defence policy was delayed because the initial draft failed to reflect the new reality in Europe since the war in Ukraine began.

They said it is “complete madness and shows the ineptitude of some of the senior leaders to admit they are human.”

As the UK sends tanks, weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, many fear the British Armed Forces have now been left ill-equipped for their own military targets.

The first source told Sky News: “It is no good having a small number of high-end, exquisite platforms when you have not got capacity around it.

“We had assumed that modern wars can be over in a matter of weeks and we have stocked ourselves for that. Whereas the Ukraine war is teaching us that even for a strong military like Russia’s, it will grind on for months and probably years.

“If you do not replace what you’re giving away, then the army cannot fight. Arguably it cannot fight now even at a very small scale – at least not for more than a few days.”

Reports say the UK army would run out of ammunition within a few days if required to fight, and would also take 10 years to field a modern warfighting division of some 25,000 to 30,000 troops.

The controversy comes as the UK’s military is smaller than it has been since the 1700s.

Under current plans, the army is due to shrink to 73,000 full-time troops from 82,000. It is currently at below 76,000.

The source added: “Other nations will be offering divisions or corps.

“They can say that with confidence because they have now made the investment. For the UK, not only have we not made those investments – and there is no sign the chancellor will – but we are actually cutting the army.”

A UK government spokesman said: “We do not comment on speculation outside of fiscal events.

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“The prime minister is clear that we have to do everything necessary to protect our people, which is why we are ensuring our armed forces have the equipment and capability they need to meet the threats of tomorrow, including through a fully-funded £242bn 10-year equipment plan.

“That equipment plan and the £24bn, four-year spending review settlement agreed in 2020, gave the Ministry of Defence long term certainty and opportunity to plan for all eventualities.

“Despite the economic landscape changing in recent months, the prime minister has stood by that settlement, ensuring our armed forces remain among the best in the world.

“The publication of the Integrated Review Refresh was commissioned to ensure the UK’s diplomatic, military and security architecture is keeping pace with evolving threats posed by hostile nations. That work is ongoing.”

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