£11bn increase in defense spending not enough to fight Russia and China, MPs say

A £11 billion increase in defense spending announced in Prime Minister Jeremy Hunt’s budget on Wednesday will not be enough to revive a ‘hollowed-out’ British army, senior lawmakers warned.

Tobias Elwood, a Conservative ex-British Army captain who chairs the parliamentary defense committee, said most of the money Hunt announced would go to the Dreadnought nuclear submarine program and go to Ukrainians. It said it would replenish its stockpile of ammunition and equipment. Repel the Russian invaders.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday added £5 billion to the defense ministry’s budget over the next two years to counter Russia’s “malicious” influence as he traveled to San Diego to sign the AUKUS submarine contract. announced that it would be introduced. and to curb China’s increasingly militant stance in the Indo-Pacific and around the world.

Two days later, Hunt said £11bn would be added to the defense budget over the next five years, including £5bn announced by Sunak.

Epoch Times photo
Joe Biden attends a tripartite meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Snack (right) and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (left) during the AUKUS Summit at Loma Naval Base in San Diego, California March 13, 2023. President of the United States (C). (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

The government’s budget redbook states, “This will improve the resilience and readiness of the country’s armed forces by strengthening conventional stockpiles, enabling early investment in the AUKUS Submarine Alliance, and modernizing its nuclear power program.” increase.”

Hunt told lawmakers: “By 2025 he will be close to 2.25% of GDP. We are the first European power to commit 2% of GDP for defense and will do so as soon as the financial and economic situation permits. We will raise it to 2.5%.”

Earlier in the week, Labor’s shadow defense secretary, John Healy, reminded MPs that Britain was contributing 2.5% of GDP when former Prime Minister Gordon Brown resigned in May 2010.

After the budget announcement, Ellwood tasked his government in the House of Representatives, stating: In short, aside from aid to Ukraine in ammunition replenishment, over the next two years he will be allocated £5 billion, of which £3 billion of his will go to new nuclear projects and to improve conventional forces. only £1 billion a year is left for ”

Concerns about the number of tanks, planes and troops

Elwood added: All the cuts we saw in the last review – the number of tanks, the number of troops, the number of armored fighting vehicles, the number of Typhoons, the number of Hercules aircraft – cannot be reversed. ”

Bournemouth East’s MP, who was captain of the Royal Green Jackets, said: Exploit the vulnerabilities of our world order. ”

Ellwood, who served as undersecretary of defense under former Prime Minister Theresa May, said that failure to invest in improving Britain’s “peacetime defense posture” would hurt the economy as foreign markets are closed, and it would jeopardize the international arena. said it would reduce the UK’s voice.

“This is not the time to blink, but we must have political courage backed by hard power,” he added.

he is the government integrated review Acknowledging that “prospects are growing that the international security environment will deteriorate further in the coming years,” he said, “the risk of escalation is greater than at any time in decades.”

Epoch Times photo
An undated visualization of what the SSN-AUKUS submarine might look like at sea, published 13 March 2023. (BAE)

Snacks bound by their own financial rules

But Office of Budget Responsibility Chairman Richard Hughes said the increase in defense spending risks breaking Sunak’s own fiscal rule of reducing debt in proportion to the size of the economy in 2028, with the target already delayed by two years. ing.

Hughes said: Break his rule by one ri. ”

Elwood’s criticisms are in line with what Tim Ripley, a defense analyst and author of “Little Green Men: The Story Behind Russia’s New Military Power,” told The Epoch Times earlier this week.

Even within the British military, he believes, the “astronomical” costs involved are not worth it, especially when it comes to properly funding the British Army, the RAF and the rest of the royal family. There are a lot of people who have said that the Navy.

Ripley said of the money put into the Dreadnought program, “We could buy a lot of tanks and artillery for the military.”

Labor MP and former Home Secretary Diane Abbott wrote on Twitter on Thursday: But there is no money to properly pay teachers and other public sector workers. ”

PA Media contributed to this report.