Daily Mail

Military to get extra £11bn over five years

But experts warn it is too little – and cuts still planned

- By Mark Nicol Defence Editor

AN £11billion rise in defence spending announced in the Budget is not a bumper deal for our Armed Forces, military figures warned last night.

The investment will be dripfed into the Ministry of Defence over five years and includes the £5billion two-year rise announced on Monday.

Much of the extra funding is already allocated to long-term projects, such as upgrading the nuclear deterrent and kick-starting the process of purchasing equipment to replace stocks sent to Ukraine since 2022.’

Britain has spent £2.3billion on equipment for the conflict, with the same amount committed for 2023, and possibly more beyond, all from the Ministry of Defence’s coffers. The impact of inflation has also hit MoD funds.

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defence committee, said: ‘If ever there was cause to move away from peacetime defence spending it is today.

‘Away from the Ukraine support, there’s only £1billion to improve our convention­al Armed Forces – that will not allow our hollowed out Army to recover.

‘We should recognise, we are sliding towards another Cold War. A failure to invest now will harm our economy and our markets and diminishes our voice. We must have political courage backed by power. I urge the Treasury to reconsider its investment in our defence posture. Storm clouds are gathering.’

The £11billion announceme­nt came only two days after the MoD’s

‘China and Russia won’t be quaking’

Integrated Review Refresh document outlined £5billion of expenditur­es between this year and 2025.

But as the rate of additional expenditur­e is to remain constant, the figure failed to assuage concerns that the Government has not recognised the need for routine defence spending to go up.

Yesterday’s increase also appears to leave little room for a reversal of planned defence cuts: the Army is to shrink to 73,000 troops by 2025 while only 148 Challenger 3 tanks will replace 227 Challenger 2s.

Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commander of the UK’s Chemical, Biological, Radiologic­al and Nuclear regiment said: ‘Not sure Russia or China will be quaking in their boots over this marginal increase in spending.’ Further cuts to our Armed Forces are already being planned, as the Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin conceded this week.

He welcomed the additional funding as ‘really good news’ but said some areas of the UK’s capabiliti­es would be ‘pared back’.

Day to day defence spending – rather than the capital budget used to buy big ticket equipment – is due to be cut in 2023-24.

Once again no date has been set for when UK defence spending will reach 2.5 per cent of GDP. It remains only an ‘ambition’.

MPs are aghast about the logic expressed that defence spending will rise ‘as fiscal and economic circumstan­ces allow’.

As Mr Ellwood pointed out, the UK’s failure to stand up to Vladimir Putin will damage the economy. He said: ‘They are looking at this from the wrong end of the telescope. This approach is completely the wrong way around.’

■ Services to help military veterans with housing and recovering from injuries will get a £33million boost over three years to assist the transition to civilian life.

 ?? ?? Thin line: The Army is shrinking
Thin line: The Army is shrinking

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