Dispute over use of No.32 Squadron aircraft settled

BAe 146 CC2 ZE700 of No.32 (The Royal) Squadron

No.32 (The Royal) Squadron’s BAe 146 CC2 ZE700 during a recent visit to Edinburgh (Alistair Forrest)

A dispute between the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense and Treasury over use of No.32 (The Royal) Squadron aircraft, including its BAe 146s, has been settled. On 6 December, The Times had reported that Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson had instructed 32 Squadron not to accept any more requests from Chancellor Philip Hammond until the Treasury had settled outstanding bills, said to be in six figures, for previous use of the aircraft. Mr Hammond is reported to have used 32 Squadron aircraft on official business to fly to more than 20 destinations in the UK and in Europe this year. After the Treasury agreed to settle the bills, the ban was lifted. Although the dispute was ostensibly over unpaid bills, many observers thought it to be part of a broader disagreement over potential defense budget cuts proposed by Mr Hammond, which would require substantial reductions in the number of soldiers.

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