Sustains Highest Defence Budget in Europe
The British government on 29 March confirmed its intention to commit an additional £800 million (€915 million) to defence in the next financial year.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond (himself a former Defence Secretary) and current Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the increase, explaining that it would be made up from access to £600 million from the DREADNOUGHT contingency fund plus the £200 million agreed in last year’s Supplementary Estimates, leading some observers to question whether this amounts to any real increase at all. That debate notwithstanding, MONS believes the move underlines the continuing commitment the British authorities are showing to dealing effectively with the financial pressures and constraints that force other NATO members to fall short of agreed commitments.
The DREADNOUGHT contingency was announced in 2015 as one of the measures that will ensure on-time delivery of the UK’s DREADNOUGHT-class nuclear submarines within the £31 billion budget agreed in the Strategic Defence and Security Review that year. For half a century the Royal Navy has provided a continuous at sea nuclear deterrent for Britain, protecting the nation 24/7/365.
“The UK’s defence budget is the highest in Europe and the second highest in NATO and ensures Britain can continue to respond effectively to the ever-changing threats we face [….] this additional investment of £600 million will ensure the UK is protected by the nuclear deterrent provided by the new DREADNOUGHT fleet into the 2030s and beyond,” explained Mr. Hammond.
“This is a welcome boost to our armed forces, ensuring we can continue to back-up our national security with the ultimate capability. In a world of intensifying and evolving threats, we must strengthen and maintain our ability to seize opportunities and counter challenges as they emerge. I have launched the Modernising Defence Programme to ensure we have the capabilities we need to keep Britain safe in an increasingly dangerous world,” added Mr. Williamson.