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Rishi Sunak promises 2.5% of GDP for UK military by 2030


Rishi Sunak offered billions more for defense against "an axis of authoritarian states."


In a recent announcement, the prime minister revealed plans to increase UK military spending to 2.5% of national income by 2030. This decision represents a firm commitment to bolstering defense expenditures, building upon a previous spending pledge.


He emphasized that the UK was not on the verge of war but argued that the additional funds would prepare the country's defence industry for a potential conflict.


Labour has expressed its commitment to a 2.5% target, with the condition that it will be implemented when economic conditions permit.


During a visit to Poland, Mr. Sunak made a significant defense announcement, highlighting the current international environment as the most dangerous since the Cold War era between the West and the former Soviet Union.


According to the speaker, the investment was deemed necessary due to the presence of several authoritarian states with values contrasting with those of the UK, such as Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China.


According to his analysis, these countries displayed newfound confidence and collaborated progressively.


This marks a notable surge in UK defense spending, yet it will not impact the size of the UK armed forces or undo reductions in the army's size.


Expensive programmes


According to sources in the defense sector, this development will allow the UK to bolster its ammunition reserves, particularly in artillery shells and missiles.


An important observation from the Ukraine conflict is that most NATO nations would be in a precarious position if they were to engage in warfare.


The increased funding will provide support for existing Ministry of Defence initiatives, including the procurement of new frigates, the advancement of a next-generation fighter jet, and the upgrading of Britain's nuclear weapons systems.


These programs have become quite costly, putting the MoD in a financial bind as it tries to manage its current resources.


However, this additional financial boost carries a political undertone, strategically timed before an upcoming general election.


There appears to be little distinction between the Labour and Conservative parties regarding defence spending. Both have expressed a commitment to allocating 2.5% of GDP to this area, provided that the economy permits it.


The Conservatives have now announced a specific date, although their continued power is uncertain.




According to Downing Street, spending will gradually increase over the next six years, with a projected amount of £87.1bn by 2030. This would be £7bn higher than the current spending level of 2.3% of GDP.


According to a briefing document provided to journalists, the plan ensures it will not result in increased borrowing. However, it does not give any specific details regarding additional sources of revenue.


According to a spokeswoman for Mr. Sunak, the funding for the plans will come from existing measures to reduce the size of the Civil Service and from allocating a portion of the government's previously announced increase in research spending to the Ministry of Defence.


According to Ben Zaranko, an economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank, the additional spending will likely be funded through budget reductions for departments that are not protected.


Former defense secretary Ben Wallace believes that the additional funds will be sourced through a reallocation of resources.


Labour's shadow defense secretary, John Healey, emphasized the party's desire for a comprehensive and adequately funded plan to achieve this level. However, he expressed skepticism towards the Tories, citing their track record of unreliability in defense matters.


In a recent statement, he mentioned that if Labour emerges victorious in the upcoming general election, they would carefully assess the resources allocated to the armed forces within the first year of assuming office.


In a recent statement, Mr Sunak expressed his belief that the new 2.5% target could potentially establish a fresh standard for Nato. It is worth noting that NATO's current target, which requires members to allocate 2% of their GDP towards defense, has been in place for over ten years.


According to Nato data, the UK allocated 2.07% of its GDP to defense expenditures last year. However, considering the resources provided to Ukraine, this figure is projected to increase to 2.3% this year.


Poland emerged as the leading spender among NATO countries regarding its economic share, dedicating 3.9% of its GDP, surpassing its expenditure in 2022 by more than double.


Despite being the most significant spender overall, the US came second, allocating 3.5% of its budget.


In a recent development, Mr. Sunak has confirmed that the UK will be extending its support to Ukraine by providing an additional £500m this year. This generous contribution comes in addition to the £2.5bn that has already been allocated.


In his statement, he mentioned that the UK can maintain its current military support for Ukraine for as long as necessary.


Pressure to spend

Following the March Budget, there has been growing pressure on the government to boost defense spending, which failed to provide additional funds for the Ministry of Defence.


There has been a heated debate among Conservative MPs regarding the need for increased spending, with two ministers publicly advocating for it last month.


In a move reminiscent of former PM Boris Johnson, the government has announced a new commitment to increase spending to 2.5% of GDP by the decade's end.


During his unsuccessful Tory leadership bid that year, Mr Sunak refrained from restating this target and only pledged to meet the 2% Nato minimum.


Until this point, he had been promising to reach that level, pending favorable economic conditions.


NATO has been actively encouraging its members to increase their spending. In a joint appearance with Mr. Sunak, Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance's secretary general, praised the UK for setting a solid example.


In a recent report, members of the Public Accounts Committee issued a stern warning to the government, highlighting their concerns about the lack of a "credible plan" to finance the Ministry of Defence (MoD).


Last year, the National Audit Office revealed that the Ministry of Defence was confronted with a significant financial shortfall of £16.9bn, even after receiving a substantial injection of £46.3bn over the next decade.



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