Nia Griffith MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, commenting on reports our Armed Forces are facing a £10bn funding shortfall, said:

“This is deeply worrying, and the result of years of mistakes and poor decisions made under the Tories.

“The severe cuts imposed on the defence budget since 2010 has led to countless knee-jerk decisions, like scrapping the Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft, which has left us reliant on allies to track Russian subs off the UK coast.

“Last year we saw the Army shrink below 80,000 for the first time, far short of the Government’s manifesto pledge to keep it above 82,000.

“Further cuts of £1bn each year, to make up for this mis-management of the defence budget, will do yet more severe damage to our Armed Forces. Reports that the Royal Marines could be further cut are particularly concerning.

“On the Today programme, the Defence Secretary kept referring to investment in equipment but he needs to be investing in our forces personnel to ensure that professional standards remain high, and that they are trained to be able to operate and maintain new kit. Our Armed Forces are driven by the hard working men and women who serve and it’s time the Tories recognised that.

“It simply isn’t good enough for ministers to say they can’t verify whether these reports are accurate. They urgently need to get a grip and explain where they intend these savings to come from.”