Spending demand for three per cent of GDP calls renewed

The Defence Committee has published a report which claims that the UK can only retain its influence in NATO and in Washington if its Armed Forces are properly resourced.

Released ahead of the NATO summit in July, the committee concludes that the UK needs to bolster its anti-submarine warfare capability and increase the overall readiness of its Armed Forces generally if it is going to be able to support NATO’s mission. Additionally, the UK must lead by example, filling NATO capability shortfalls and personnel gaps, where we have expertise available, and ensuring that decisions taken within the Modernising Defence Programme are co-ordinated with the NATO Defence Planning Process.

Amongst the report conclusions, the committee finds that, as the UK, US and NATO are interlinked and interdependent, US military power is vital for the defence of Europe.

Accordingly, the Defence Committee has recommended that our future target for defence spending should be three per cent of GDP—a level last achieved in 1995-96.

Dr Julian Lewis, committee chairman, said: "Defence spending is an area where a strong message needs to be sent to our allies and adversaries alike. The government has consistently talked about increasing the UK’s commitment to NATO after our departure from the European Union. An increased commitment, in the face of new and intensified threats, means that further investment is essential. Where percentage of GDP for Defence is concerned, our mantra must be: ‘We need three, to keep us free’. Anything less is simply rhetoric which endangers us and our allies."

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