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Libya conflict may cost UK £1.75bn

Nick Hopkins
London Guardian [1]
Sept 26, 2011

The true cost of the UK’s involvement in the Libya conflict could be as high as £1.75bn – almost seven times more than government estimates, according to a new study. Research by a respected defence analyst suggests that the government has given a misleading picture of the costs of supporting the military operation, now in its seventh month, leading to demands for a proper spending breakdown.

Although Muammar Gaddafi’s regime has crumbled in recent weeks, RAF airstrikes against forces remaining loyal to him have continued at an exceptionally high rate, depleting stockpiles of expensive precision weapons the Ministry of Defence will want to replace. That will add to the overall bill, which is still rising and which the Treasury has promised to meet from its special reserves.

Concern over funding for the operation has been mounting as government departments, including the MoD, have to cope with deep spending cuts because of the fragility of the economy.

Reacting to the latest analysis, Labour yesterday renewed its call for ministers to provide more details of military costs and promise that there will be no knock-on effect for the MoD budget, which is under huge strain. “It is vital we have transparency on this,” said Jim Murphy, the shadow defence secretary.

Full article here [1]