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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
UK troops 'getting enough to eat'
British Army dog Buster with his handler Sgt Danny Morgan
The army denies it spend more on feeding its dogs
Claims British soldiers are not getting enough to eat - and that the army spends more on feeding its dogs - have been rubbished by Jack Straw.

The Commons leader said he had been assured by the Ministry of Defence soldiers were being properly fed.

And that the allowance for troops was "significantly above" that for dogs.

Tory MP and Former Grenadier Guardsman Mike Penning claimed families were sending out protein packs to troops who were not getting sufficient food.

He told the Daily Mail he did not believe the Ministry of Defence when it suggested roughly 78p a day was spent on feeding an ammunition dog, and 1.20 for a patrol dog.

He said had been reliably informed that while troops' food cost 1.51 a day, 2.63 was spent on dogs.

Earlier, at business questions in the Commons, Mr Penning said: "This amount of money is not enough to feed our soldiers in the field, which is why so many servicemen's families are sending high protein products out to their soldiers in the field rather than the government feeding them correctly."

Anecdotal evidence

The government has been accused of leaving troops under-equipped in Iraq, and running operations on a "shoestring" in Afghanistan.

It's not true that we spend more on feeding our working dogs than feeding our troops
Ministry of Defence spokesman

But Mr Straw hit back at the claims, telling MPs: "The allowances in respect of UK based forces is significantly above that in respect of dogs and so it should be - that the information I have been provided with."

He added: "The anecdotal evidence we have may differ, but I have to say I know a number of people personally who have served in Iraq and although they have been concerned about many things - they have not been concerned about the food." A Ministry of Defence said: "It's not true that we spend more on feeding our working dogs than feeding our troops.

"However dogs make an important contribution to defence and it's right we look after them well."

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