Britain must increase its defence spending


"Britain must increase its defence spending by £15 billion a year or accept that it has become a "second division" military power, a major independent report has warned. "

Good Lord. What a surprise. Perhaps the Government should be told.

"The shortfall in the armed forces' budget has reached such a critical point that the Government may soon have little choice but to scrap key orders for equipment such as aircraft carriers, armoured vehicles or even the replacement for the Trident nuclear missile programme, it claims."

"The report's author, Tony Edwards, a former head of defence export services at the Ministry of Defence, says that either Gordon Brown or his successor at the next general election faces a clear choice: either to "repair the damage" of over-stretch in Iraq and Afghanistan or to "lower our profile in the world at large".

He said: "The Prime Minister could decide to continue with the current defence budget and instead lower the foreign policy and defence expectations.

"Because current defence spending is out of balance with current foreign and defence policy expectations, this will involve massive reductions and cancellations of already announced programmes.

"In the next five years, at current spending levels, the UK will become a middling second division military power, behind countries like India and Japan.

"It is worth pointing out that repairing the armed forces, and restoring balance and morale, is probably more important than acquiring some of the new capital equipment."

Among the projects which could be cut if the Government does not increase defence spending are the aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, which will cost £2 billion each; the Harrier jump jet's replacement, the F-35, which will cost £15bn, or even the replacement for the submarine-borne Trident nuclear missile, which will cost £40-£70bn over 30 years.

Mr Edwards said: "The United Kingdom's armed forces have been engaged in almost continuous operations for the past 20 years.

"It used to be said that Britain punched above its weight in world affairs, but more recently this has meant that our overstretched armed forces have had to punch above their budget, a far more difficult feat."

Mr Edwards said the government had delayed making a decision on defence spending until after the next general election by keeping everything "in the air", such as orders for two aircraft carriers, which have been put back by two years.

But, he said: "The next Prime Minister, whether it be Gordon Brown or David Cameron, will no longer be able to avoid making a decision."

UK National Defence Association


It won't happen under the current government anyway. Absolutely no votes to be won for ZaNu Labour by increasing spending to reasonable levels and especially not when they've got their client state to support. I doubt we'll see much of an increase under the next Tory government either - even if they wanted to boost spending - given they'll be inheriting the administration of an almost bankrupt nation with a basket case economy. IMO the best that can be hoped for is that Labour don't cut anymore over their last year and a bit in power and that the Tories just about maintain current levels of funding once they come in.


How fcuking astute.


War Hero
and this is new news?

Do the journos who frequent these pages not read what is being typed ?

Of course HMF need money, NuLiarbour has them fighting 2 wars on the peace dividend budget
mick_sterbs said:
and this is new news?

Do the journos who frequent these pages not read what is being typed ?

Of course HMF need money, NuLiarbour has them fighting 2 wars on the peace dividend budget

And did you not consider that the article was written for people who are not aware of the situation and/or just what level of investment is needed? Obviously this is standard knowledge to people in the know such as found on here, but what about Joe Public out there?


This would also be a good way of helping manufacturing industry weather the current financial storm...
We're probably lucky Labour under the excuse of helping the banks and welfare state don't all but eliminate defence spending altogether.

The total elimination of any military capacity in Britain has been a goal of the Labour left for at least the last 45 years.


I always thought the UK armed forces were "second division" anyway, due to the comparatively small size of the three forces?? compared to that of country's with massive populations such as the US, China, Russia etc.
Please correct little old me, but aren't we (Nue Labour) already running two armies ?
The ones up the sharpe end in Iraq and Ganistan and the other setting up as the Euro Scroat Force ?
One does not have what it need despite Labour PMs promises and other is coming along slowly and covertly.