Monday, 15 August, 2022

Defence spending rise needed to keep influence, say MPs

Defence spending rise needed to keep influence, say MPs

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The UK will have to significantly increase defence spending if it is to maintain influence with Washington and Nato allies, MPs have warned.


A Commons Defence Committee report says the defence budget should rise from 2% of GDP (£40bn) to 3% (£60bn).


Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has reportedly demanded an extra £20bn for his department.


A government spokesman said: "We have been clear we will continue to exceed Nato's 2% spending target."


The committee said the extra money for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) could be spent on increasing the readiness of the armed forces and to bolster Britain's anti-submarine warfare to counter possible threats from Russia.


The report recommends increasing the defence budget to 3% of GDP but says a rise to 2.5% would "comfortably fill the 'black hole' in the existing MoD budget".


It argued that without such investment the UK armed forces' usefulness to the US would be diminished.


The MPs' report also notes comments by US Defence Secretary James Mattis that the UK benefits from its defence relationship with the US by £3bn a year.


"This implies that both the UK armed forces and HM Treasury benefit from our close relationship with the US," the report says.


"However, that will continue to be true only while the UK military retains both the capacity and capability to maintain interoperability with the US military and to relieve US burdens.


At next month's Nato summit in Brussels, US President Donald Trump is expected to repeat his demands for European allies to spend more on defence.