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Extra £580m is set aside to meet Costs of War in Iraq

Gordon Brown has told MPs that an extra £580m was being set aside for the armed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and other commitments overseas. The cost t o Britain of the Iraq war is now believed to have passed £4bn. The hand-out of cash to the Ministry of Defence is in addition to a £400m emergency allocation by the Chancellor in the Budget in March. The MoD recently disclosed that the Iraq war and its aftermath cost the UK about £3.1bn by the end of March. It cost £910m in the last financial year, £847m in 2002-3 and £1.3bn in 2003-4. In the year to March it also spent £67m in Afghanistan and £87m in the Balkans. Andrew Burgin, from the Stop the War Coalition, said: \"This is a complete waste of money. It should be used to build schools and hospitals. The sooner we get out of Iraq the better. It\'s a waste of human life and valuable resources.\" Liam Wren-Lewis, a member of the Iraq Analysis Group, said: \"The continued presence of UK troops in Iraq is now costing almost £1bn a year to the Treasury and it is scandalous the Government hasn\'t made it clear exactly where this money is going or how long this will be sustained for.\" Mr Brown also announced he was allocating another £135m to boost security and anti-terrorism measures. He said: \"In response to the bombings in London in July and the terrorist threat, it is right to do all we can to support our police, armed forces and security and emergency services whose bravery we commend and upon whom we depend every day for our safety.\" About £85m will bolster MI5, MI6 and GCHQ efforts to combat the threat from al-Qa\'ida. Most will go on staff costs as the security agencies expand, as well as investment in surveillance equipment. The other £50m will be used to increase police anti-terrorist operations and other anti-terrorist measures across Whitehall.