In our manifesto we pledged to increase defence spending by 0.5% above inflation for every year of this parliament.
Last week, the Prime Minister announced an additional £16.5 billion of funding in British defence over the next four years – marking the biggest programme of investment since the end of the Cold War and far exceeding the commitment we made in our manifesto last year.
On existing forecasts, this is an overall cash increase of £24.1 billion over four years compared to last year’s budget.
This settlement secures the UK’s position as the biggest defence investor in Europe, and the second largest in NATO.
The Ministry of Defence understands its duty to ensure that every defence pound is spent guaranteeing we have an operational, sustainable and modern capability that is fit for purpose.
To support these advancements the Prime Minister has announced a new agency dedicated to Artificial Intelligence, the creation of a National Cyber Force and a new ‘Space Command’.
This will be underpinned by a record investment of at least £1.5 billion extra and £5.8 billion total on military research and development and a commitment to revitalise ship building and invest further in the Future Combat Air System.
These projects are expected to create up to 10,000 jobs annually across the UK - reflecting the expertise and ingenuity of British people both inside and outside our Armed Forces.
I continue to pay tribute to our Armed Forces for their work to protect the most vulnerable people in the UK and around the world. Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK over 20,000 personnel – including some of our own Forest of Dean-based 1 Rifles - have been made available to support our NHS and local communities.
Finally, you may have heard that the Government plans to return to strict regional measures to combat Covid-19. I wrote to the Prime Minister over the weekend, along with 70 other Conservative MPs, setting out why we cannot support further restrictions unless the Government demonstrates they will have an impact on slowing the transmission of Covid and save more lives than they cost.