Battle of Britain flight threat- Daily Mail newspaper- Exclusive news story- ***January 2010***

This emotive story revealed that the Battle of Britain Memorial flight could be cut as part of a Ministry of Defence spending review.

The story came from a source who asked to remain anonymous who was horrified that such a cut could even be considered.

The source is delighted with their fee for the story which appeared as an exclusive in the Daily Mail newspaper.

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An insult to The Few: Defence cuts could ground the Battle of Britain flight


The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight faces the axe as the Ministry of Defence attempts to close a 6billion hole in its finances.

Senior RAF sources have warned that the flight could be cut on 'cost grounds' as the MoD is forced to make drastic savings in the next defence review.

This year is the Battle of Britain's 70th anniversary and yesterday MPs and veterans' groups described the threat to the flight as a 'crying shame' and an insult to the fighter pilots - 'The Few' - who defended Britain against the German Luftwaffe.

Every year hundreds of thousands of Britons watch the flypasts held around the country.

The displays include one of the world's two working Lancaster bombers, as well as Spitfires and Hurricanes - the two principal British fighter types involved in the Battle of Britain.

An RAF Wing Commander said: 'Under the defence review now being conducted, the display teams could be cut. This is part of a cost benefit analysis going on in all MoD departments.

'If the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was to continue to operate as it currently does, it is feared it would need to attract private finance.'

The MoD has already made clear that the BBMF would not be allowed to be funded by private sponsorship or donations. Based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, it costs the RAF up to 3million a year to run.

Last night Tory defence spokesman Gerald Howarth expressed concern about funding cuts affecting the BBMF.

'Celebrations like the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are an important reminder of the heroic role of The Few who gave their lives for our freedom, as well as a tremendous recruiting tool for the RAF,' he said.

'I would be surprised if the Government endangered such a national treasure in the year of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.' 

The MoD has admitted that nothing has been ruled out of spending cuts for the financial year of 2011-12.

One source said there could be 'no sacred cows' in the spending reviews - suggesting that other much-loved displays such as the Red Arrows could also be at risk.

The 3million cost of the BBMF is a drop in the ocean compared to the MoD's 36.9billion budget - less than 0.1 per cent. It represents only one per cent of the 300million paid in bonuses to civil servants at the Whitehall ministry.

Meanwhile, defence chiefs have squandered a fortune by botching the purchase of equipment.

The BBMF fleet consists of 11 working aircraft - which include two Hurricanes and a Douglas Dakota - which take to the skies for more than 600 displays and parachute drops each year across Britain and Europe. The events include Second World War anniversaries and State occasions.

Last night Douglas Radcliffe, the secretary of the Bomber Command Association and a former Lancaster Bomber pilot, said: 'It would be disastrous if funding was cut from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

'It is something special which captures the imagination of the British public. They also do fantastic fund-raising work.'

An MoD spokesman said that no cuts to the BBMF would take place this year.

However, he added: 'We routinely review all spending to balance our resources and focus on the highest priority - operations in Afghanistan.'

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