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Is it time for UK defense spending to increase?

Boris Johnson is under pressure to re-examine his government’s defense spending allocation amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the growing threat to NATO.

Government sources said Daily telegram that the Ministry of Defense could see its budget increase in Rishi Sunak’s spring statement on March 23, “potentially funding the delivery of more weapons to the Ukrainians or to improve the force his”.

The current support provided to the Ukrainian army comes from the existing ministry budget, but one source said this could change if Britain “contributes significantly more weapons”.

Two sources also said Sky News that defense spending is likely to increase the most of any budget in the prime minister’s spring statement, despite “no formal submission” by the Department of Defense.

Current spending

Ben Zaranko, senior research economist at the London-based Institute, said the government currently spends just over 2% of the UK’s GDP each year on defense, amounting to “about £45 billion by 2021 , or about £660 per person”. for Financial Studies, in a section for Preservation.

In November 2020, Defense Minister was awarded a funding increase of £16.5 billion, above the annual budget, representing the largest increase in defense funding since the end of the Cold War. “I made this decision early in the pandemic because defending the territory had to come first,” Johnson said.

But overall, the share of spending on defense has fallen dramatically since the 1950s, when up to 8% of UK GDP was allocated to the department. Meanwhile, spending on the NHS has increased “from about 3% of GDP in the mid-1950s to more than 7% before the pandemic”, Zaranko said.

Lower defense spending over the years – described by Zaranko as a “peace dividend” – is what has allowed successive governments to fund the UK’s burgeoning welfare state without the tax increase. But the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine could be the end of “health care without a higher tax burden,” he added.

Recent Reviews

An overhaul of the armed forces was announced by Defense Secretary Ben Wallace last March, in reference to a reduction in the size of the British Army from 76,500 to 72,500 full-time trained soldiers by 2025 “as part of a move towards airborne aircraft riders and cyber warfare”, reports BBC.

The controversial plan also involved reducing the number of tanks from 227 to 148 upgrades, the RAF losing its Hercules transport fleet, and the Royal Navy’s “early retirement two old frigates first. when the new ones come into service”.

The Prime Minister defended the cuts last November, telling the House of Commons Liaison Committee that “we have to realize that the old concepts of big tank combat on the European mainland… is over” and there are “better things” for the UK to invest in when it comes to defence.

The Indy100 The news site described Johnson’s claim as having “aged spectacularly due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”. With significant fighting underway on Ukrainian soil, it seems like Wallace’s ambitious overhaul may need to be reconsidered.

In addition, deputy political editor Lucy Fisher of The Telegraph said, “The fact that Russian tanks are easily attacked by Ukrainian forces and face other difficulties has worried the British defense establishment.” . A UK security insider told her the MoD would need to “learn from the failures of the Russian military”.

How does the UK compare?

According to Military balance 2022 According to a report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the UK has overtaken India to become the third largest defense spender in the world.

Along with France, Britain is the leading military power in Western Europe, but other countries are in the process of analyzing defense budgets and increasing spending on security.

The IISS report indicates that Europe’s defense spending has grown by 4.8% in real terms in 2021, “more than any other region”, demonstrating that “European nations have reduced light defense spending since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014”.

On February 27, spurred by the invasion of Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a €100 billion defense fund to modernize the country’s military and increase annual defense spending. more than 2% of Germany’s GDP – a significant increase from the current level of less than 1.5%.

In his 30-minute address to the House of Commons, Scholz “has changed German security policy more radically in the 30 years since the end of the Cold War,” Peter Ricketts said in Potential Journal.

The announcement is particularly significant because Germany has long resisted pressure from the US and its Western allies to increase defense spending by 2% “based on 20th-century history and led to strong pacifism.” strong among the people”, explained Reuters.

Pressure from all over politics

Calls for the Prime Minister to increase UK defense spending come from all sides.

Last weekend, former Conservative Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told The Sunday Telegraph that the case for spending more is now “unpayable”. On the same day, John Healey, Labour’s shadow guard, told Sky News‘Trevor Phillips that he expected to see a “huge boost for defense” in the upcoming budget and that the government “must respond to growing threats to our security in Europe”.

A YouGov Tracker Look At the most important problems facing the countryincluding health, education and the environment, have shown an increase in interest in defense and security in recent weeks and have doubled from March 2021 to February 2022.

https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/defence/956006/uk-defence-spending Is it time for UK defense spending to increase?

Fry Electronics Team

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