Stone challenges Labour MP over TA cuts

October 27, 2009 11:30 AM

Newcastle East Parliamentary Spokesman for Newcastle East Greg Stone has challenged Labour MPs to "do the right thing" and oppose Government plans to make severe cuts to the Territorial Army's training budget.

Speaking ahead of an Opposition-led debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Greg Stone warned that the effectiveness of TA reserves could be seriously affected if the plans went through.

He said "Labour MPs as well as Opposition MPs from the Tory and Lib Dem ranks have spoken out over their concerns at the Government's proposals to cut £20m from the TA's budget and halt all training for six months. The Government is now proposing to cut the budget by £17.5 million and retain one night of training per month. This is madness at a time when the armed forces are already overstretched and the TA are providing important support to Britain's involvement in Afghanistan"

"There are important TA units at Sandyford Road, Debdon Gardens, and at Rhodes Street in Walker, and my Lib Dem councillor colleague Chris Boyle is a TA reservist. I understand there is grave concern at the proposals to massively cut back on funding for the TA and believe it is extremely ill-advised to limit their effectivness in this way."

"There is a widespread view that Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth is not up to the job, and that Labour are increasingly incompetent on defence issues including procurement, operational equipment, the Gurkhas, armed forces housing, and on welfare. Their plans for the TA only add to the impression of disorganisation."

"I hope Labour MPs will do the right thing and vote against these cuts in the Commons on Wednesday".