14/05/2012 11:16 BST

Defence Budget's £38bn Deficit Plugged, Philip Hammond Says

A £38bn black hole in the UK's defence budget has been eliminated, Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said.

Hammond told the House of Commons that the Government had been able to balance the military books, but had to admit that "tough decisions" were required to fill the gap.

However, he refused to release specific details of costings, citing national security and commercial sensitivities.

Despite now having £8bn headroom in the overall 10-year defence programme and a £4bn centrally-held contingency fund, Hammond said planned redundancies in the forces would still go ahead.

The budget 'black hole' has not been helped by changes to the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) procurement.

The recent jet fighter U-turn, which saw the Navy swap launched F-35 jets for the jump jet version, is estimated by the Ministry of Defence to have cost close to £100m.