Security minister Dan Jarvis says Tories ‘hollowed out’ our armed forces – UK politics live | Politics

Security minister Dan Jarvis: Tories ‘hollowed out’ our armed forces

Security minister Dan Jarvis has accused the former Conservative government of hollowing out the country’s armed forces while reiterating that the new Labour administration would carry out an armed services review “very quickly”.

Saying “there is nothing that we take more seriously than our national security”, he told Sky News viewers:

The prime minister and my colleague, defence secretary John Healey, have made a commitment that a review will be initiated very quickly. It’s important that we follow the process and look carefully at the nature of the threat our country faces, and the resources that will be required to be put in place.

It is an important process and it will take a period of months. The British army is now smaller than any point since the Napoleonic war. We need to do this properly. Our armed forces have been hollowed out in recent times.

Challenged that current plans suggest it might take a year to get a review in place, when army leadership says it could be done in a matter of weeks, Jarvis said “We’re not in the business of cutting corners. We need to look at the complex nature of the threat that we face.”

Jarvis added:

Call me old fashioned, but I believe in process. I believe in doing things properly. And that’s what this government will do. We will do things properly. There will be a comprehensive process of review, and then we will make sure that the correct resource is allocated to meet the findings of that review.

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Key events

Environment secretary Steve Reed announces first step of Labour reform of water sector

The Labour government is telling privatised water companies in England and Wales that they must ringfence funding for infrastructure upgrades, and stop diverting money to bonuses, dividends or salary increases.

In a statement, the new secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, Steve Reed says:

We will never look the other way while water companies pump sewage into our rivers, lakes and seas. This unacceptable destruction of our waterways should never have been allowed, but change has now begun so it can never happen again.

Today I have announced significant steps to clean up the water industry to cut sewage pollution, protect customers and attract investment to upgrade its crumbling infrastructure. That change will take time. Over the coming weeks and months, this Government will outline further steps to reform the water sector and restore our rivers, lakes and seas to good health.

The government announcements says Reed has written to water comopanies to tell them “to make sure funding for vital infrastructure investment is ringfenced and can only be spent on upgrades benefiting customers and the environment”. He also told Ofwat “to ensure that when money for investment is not spent, companies refund customers, with money never allowed to be diverted for bonuses, dividends or salary increases.”

The government is proposing that private water companies “change their ‘articles of association’ to make the interests of customers and the environment a primary objective.”

The full statement can be read here. Reed promoted it on social media with the message “Change has begun”.

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Security minister Dan Jarvis said it was important that privatised water companies in England and Wales invested money in infrastructure and not in bonuses for executives.

He told Sky News viewers:

I think there’s a very strong sense, and I know this from talking to people throughout the course of the election, that our water companies have not provided the level of service that we expect.

Bills are too high. There are huge concerns about the illegal dumping on waterways.

There is a weight of political pressure to ensure that bills are kept to an absolute minimum, and where there is money that is available to be invested, that needs to be focused on investing in our infrastructure, not on bonuses for chief executives.

In England and Wales the water and sewerage industry was privatised in 1989 under Margaret Thatcher’s government.

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Lib Dems call for ‘insulting’ water price rises in England and Wales to be blocked

Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson Tim Farron MP has reacted to the water bill rises in England and Wales, saying:

Any insulting price hikes by water companies must be blocked. It is a national scandal that these disgraced firms are demanding more money from families and pensioners in a cost of living crisis, all whilst dumping raw sewage into our rivers.

After years of Conservative ministers letting these shameful polluters get away with it, we now need tough action, starting with a ban on bonuses and a block on large bill hikes.

Communities spoke loudly at the election, demanding an end to the sewage scandal and water firms stuffing their pockets with bonuses and dividends. The government and regulator must listen to the country.

The Liberal Democrats made water a key plank of their election campaign, with Ed Davey’s notorious stunt of falling into water while paddleboarding just one of the ways they attempted to draw attention to their policies on it. During the campaign the party called for Ofwat to be abolished and a new water regulator established with greater powers.

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Water bills to rise by £94 over next five years in England and Wales

Alex Lawson

Alex Lawson

Water bills in England and Wales will rise by an average of £94 over the next five years, in plans set out by the regulator, as under-fire water companies charge customers to pay for investment to stop sewage spills and fix leaky pipes.

The sum is a third less than the increases requested by companies, and amounts to a rise in bills of about £19 each year over the period.

It came in a review by Ofwat, which examined the spending plans of English and Welsh water companies for 2025-30. The plans were submitted last October, and Thursday’s report represents Ofwat’s draft view, with a final decision scheduled for December.

The biggest bill increase Ofwat allowed were from Southern Water, with a £183 rise to £603, Dŵr Cymru in Wales, which will increase bills by £137 to £603, and Hafren Dyfrdwy, rising by £128 to £524. Southern and Thames will be allowed to add a further £16 and £5 to bills respectively if their plans meet certain criteria with Ofwat.

Bills will rise for customers of all water companies in England and Wales, apart from those of Wessex Water and Sutton and East Surrey Water.

Read more here: Water bills to rise by £94 over next five years in England and Wales

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Conservative MP Gareth Davies hails GDP figures, says they showed Sunak government had ‘turned a corner’ on economy

Gareth Davies has been doing the media round for the Conservatives this morning. He doesn’t haven’t have a shadow cabinet role yet, but the MP for Grantham and Bourne was previously a treasury secretary in the last government. He said the GDP figures were good news.

He said they “exceeded expectations” and showed the government he was part of were right to claim that under them the economy had “turned a corner”.

Put to his that the figures suggested it was a mistake for Rishi Sunak to have called an election when good economic news was around the corner, he said “the economy is just one factor”. He said it was “other people to reflect and assess” whether it had been the right decision, adding “it was going to be this year at some point, wasn’t it?”

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Chancellor Reeves: not a ‘minute to waste’ on ‘national mission’ of delivering economic growth

The new chancellor Rachel Reeves has responded to the GDP figures, which showed the UK headed back to growth in May during the closing last days of Rishi Sunak’s government. She said:

Delivering economic growth is our national mission, and we don’t have a minute to waste.

That is why this week I have already taken the urgent action necessary to fix the foundations of our economy to rebuild Britain and make every part of Britain better off.

A decade of national renewal has begun, and we are just getting started.

My colleague Julia Kollewe has our business live blog today, which will be following reaction to those figures closely …

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Speaking on LBC this morning, security minister Dan Jarvis has said criticism of Keir Starmer’s defence spending plans were “unfair”.

Starmer was accused of hypocrisy after pressing Nato allies to up their spending commitments, when his new government have not put a date on when spending will rise to 2.5% of GDP in the UK.

Jarvis said:

The prime minister has made a cast-iron guarantee that we will get to the point where we are spending 2.5% on GDP on our defence capabilities, but we think that these things should be done properly.

I personally think it’s inconceivable that the [size of the] British army would go down, but that is precisely why you need a proper process at work to look at the capabilities that you have.

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Security minister Dan Jarvis: Tories ‘hollowed out’ our armed forces

Security minister Dan Jarvis has accused the former Conservative government of hollowing out the country’s armed forces while reiterating that the new Labour administration would carry out an armed services review “very quickly”.

Saying “there is nothing that we take more seriously than our national security”, he told Sky News viewers:

The prime minister and my colleague, defence secretary John Healey, have made a commitment that a review will be initiated very quickly. It’s important that we follow the process and look carefully at the nature of the threat our country faces, and the resources that will be required to be put in place.

It is an important process and it will take a period of months. The British army is now smaller than any point since the Napoleonic war. We need to do this properly. Our armed forces have been hollowed out in recent times.

Challenged that current plans suggest it might take a year to get a review in place, when army leadership says it could be done in a matter of weeks, Jarvis said “We’re not in the business of cutting corners. We need to look at the complex nature of the threat that we face.”

Jarvis added:

Call me old fashioned, but I believe in process. I believe in doing things properly. And that’s what this government will do. We will do things properly. There will be a comprehensive process of review, and then we will make sure that the correct resource is allocated to meet the findings of that review.

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Welcome and opening summary …

Good morning, and one week after the country voted for a change of government in the general election, new MPs will continue to be sworn into the House of Commons today. Here are your headlines …

The House will meet at 9.30am for swearing in, with the Table Office saying today is “likely to be the best opportunity for new members who have not already done so to take the oath or affirm”. The Lords are not sitting.

The Scottish parliament is in recess from 29 June to 1 September. The Windsor framework democratic scrutiny committee is sitting in Stormont. A cross-party group on Hospice and Palliative Care has a meeting in the Senedd. The Post Office Horizon IT inquiry is not sitting today.

It is Martin Belam with you for the next few hours. The best way to get my attention is via email, especially if you spot typos, errors or omission. You can reach me at [email protected].

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