Cuts made to the UK defence budget when Gordon Brown was chancellor led to the shortage of helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Iraq Inquiry has heard.

John Hutton, who became defence secretary in 2008, said the shortage of helicopters “undoubtedly was a factor” during his tenure at the Ministry of Defence (MoD), according to independent.co.uk.

“The military would certainly have liked more helicopters and I think the politicians would have liked to have made them available,” he said.

Hutton also said the UK MoD’s £16bn ($25.8bn) future rapid effects system (FRES) programme to deliver armoured vehicles was set up ten years ago but has so far failed to deliver any.

This makes the case for a very urgent shake-up of the equipment procurement function of the MoD absolutely essential, Hutton said.