News in brief

MoD cut

At the end of November, the Daily Telegraph learned that the British ministry of defence (MoD) had increased the number of soldiers due to be cut from the army from 7,000 to 16,500 by April 2015.

Up to a quarter of Britain's infantry battalions and almost half of its cavalry regiments could be disbanded.

Also in November, the national audit office (NAO) reported that financial incompetence by the MoD had led to delays in deploying new

Astute-class submarines, which in turn had caused cost overruns of £500m.

The delays also mean that for two years (2022-2024) the navy will have six rather than the seven hunter-killer submarines thought necessary to carry out all its missions (which include carrying out unspecified secret missions).

The NAO reported that the cuts in the strategic defence and security review had contained the current £10bn overspend on MoD projects, which otherwise would have ballooned to £20bn.