Committee: Defence spending must rise for effective NATO membership

26 Jun 18

The government must invest more in the armed forces if the UK is to remain an influential NATO member, MPs have said.

Defence spending must be increased from 2% of GDP to 3%, according to a report from the defence select committee released yesterday. 

The report said that a rise of 2.5% of GDP would result in a forecast spend of £50bn annually- which would fill the “black hole” in the Ministry of Defence budget- but a 3% rise would take this to £60bn per annum.

An increase in spending to 3% of GDP- the committee said- would return defence spending to the same percentage as it was in the mid 1990s.

The committee report said: “It has become clear to us that, if the UK wishes to maintain its leadership position in NATO and to continue such fruitful defence relations with the United States, then it will have to invest more in its armed forces.”

The MoD defence budget for 2018-19 is £37bn.

Liberal Democrat armed forces spokesman, Jamie Stone, said: “It is unacceptable that our armed forces have been so diminished.

“Not only is an adequate budget of vital importance to our security, but so too are our key allies in NATO and the EU.

“Many of the security challenges the UK faces are shared by these partners.”

According to NATO, in 2018 the UK will provide 10% of the NATO common funded budgets and programmes- the fourth highest behind Germany, France and the US.

An MoD spokesperson said: “The UK maintains the biggest defence budget in Europe we have been clear we will continue to exceed NATO’s 2% spending target.

“The Defence Secretary launched the Modernising Defence Programme to strengthen our armed forces in the face of intensifying threats.”

Last week, PF reported that the MoD awarded Capita a contract despite a financial health warning.

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