Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has reportedly demanded an extra £20bn for the Ministry of Defence, increasing the UK’s military commitment from 2% to 3% of GDP.
His comments follow the publication of a Commons Defence Committee report that says the UK should increase its military spending to £60bn per year if it is to maintain influence with the US and other NATO allies in the era of Donald Trump.
The committee said the money could be spent to counter the increasing threat from Russia and to improve Britain’s anti-submarine warfare measures.
The UK is currently one of only five NATO countries that spends above the recommended 2% of GDP on defence, along with the US, Greece, Estonia, and Poland. The 23 other nations that make up the alliance lag behind, with Germany spending 1.2% and France 1.79%.
The government said it would “continue to exceed” NATO’s 2% spending target, but made no commitments to further investment.
Williamson’s call for increased military spending comes after Prime Minister Theresa May succumbed to pressure from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt pledged a £20bn annual real-terms NHS funding increase by 2023-24, despite the UK’s current financial troubles and the difficulties posed by Brexit. May described the additional funding as a “Brexit dividend” to help the Brexiteers save face from the lies of the Brexit campaign, despite the fact the government’s own economic forecasts predict that Brexit will cost the UK public purse billion each year.