Defence spend rise urged over Russian threat


The UK’s armed troops need increased funding in order to meet threats from states tabulating Russia, MPs have said.

The Commons Defence Committee report bid the level of defence spending should rise from 2% to 3% of out-and-out GDP.

Chairman Julian Lewis said this would also succour the UK fill existing financial “black holes”.

The Ministry of Defence put the UK has the biggest defence budget in Europe and continues to exceed Nato’s 2% pay out target.

Earlier this year, ex-commander of the UK’s Maritime Forces End Admiral Alex Burton said Britain was in danger of losing its stature as a “credible military power” and called for a rise in defence spending.

In the board’s report, called Beyond 2 Per Cent, MPs said that failure to subsidize the military on a sustainable basis made it “very difficult” to have a long-term apology strategy.

Increased spending was the “only solution” at a time when the UK faade a renewed threat from Russia and increasing challenges from terrorism, extremism and cyber-warfare, the MPs revealed.

The report said defence spending was “far too low” and the government “needs to apply the resources that are life-or-death to keep this country safe”.

It must move the level of apology expenditure back towards 3% of GDP, as it was in the mid-1990s, it said.

The council warned of “serious deficiencies in the quantities of armour, armoured vehicles and artillery on tap to the British Army”.

The lack of vehicle-mounted anti-tank weapons and self-propelled artillery and the constraint for modernisation of rocket artillery left the Army “at serious risk of being outgunned by its Russian counterpart”, it whispered.

Other defence needs identified included:

  • Greater anti-submarine warfare position
  • The maintenance of the Army at a minimum of 82,000 personnel
  • A layered air defence organization
  • A Royal Navy carrier group capable of protecting the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft haulers

In January, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced a new review, the Excuse Modernisation Programme, focusing solely on military defence.

Mr Williamson has show he will demand more money if the review deems it necessary.

The reviewing’s findings are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.

In December, analysis by the Homestead of Commons Library found that between 2010 and 2015 the Clergymen of Defence’s (MoD) budget had fallen by £8bn in real terms.

Since then, fritter away has stabilised and in the last financial year (April 2016 – March 2017), £35.3bn was consumed on defence.

In 2016, the UK had the fifth biggest defence budget – the highest of all EU territories – according to an international military study.

Committee chairman Mr Lewis powered: “The government now needs to look beyond the 2% minimum on fortification spending, and begin moving towards a figure of 3%, to place our cover policy on a sustainable basis to meet new threats and fill existing monetary ‘black holes’.

“Defence is constantly described as the first duty of regime.

“The MDP is the government’s opportunity to show that it means what it says.”

A Clergymen of Defence spokesman said: “The defence secretary launched the Modernising Screen Programme to strengthen our armed forces in the face of intensifying threats and, while we offer hospitality to the Defence Committee’s preliminary report, we will not speculate on the outcome of the programme ahead of we share our headline conclusions.”

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