Military Capabilities

UK forces to receive GBP1 billion spending boost

31 October 2018

British soldiers from The Household Division on exercise in the Falklands last year. The latest GBP1 billion boost to UK defence spending should forestall a cut to frontline capabilities, but it may not remove the chances of that happening altogether. Source: Crown Copyright

Key Points

  • The UK armed forces are to receive a GBP1 billion boost up to March 2020
  • The aim is to spend this additional money on "future capabilities"

UK defence spending is to be boosted by an extra GBP1 billion (USD1.3 billion) up to March 2020, according to Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.

Hammond, as the UK finance secretary, announced the additional spending as part of his annual budget on 29 October that set tax and spending measures for the entire UK government.

"The UK spends more on defence than any NATO member except the US," Hammond told the House of Commons, "but over the last year we have had stark reminders of the scale, scope, and complexity of the threats we face. As a former defence secretary myself, I understand the immediate pressures our armed forces are facing, so I will provide an additional GBP1 billion to the Ministry of Defence to cover the remainder of this year and next ... to boost our cyber capabilities ... and our anti-submarine warfare capacity ... and to maintain the pace of the Dreadnought [nuclear ballistic missile submarine] programme to ensure continuous at-sea deterrence."

According to UK Treasury documents released after Hammond's budget statement, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will receive an additional GBP200 million before the end of the current financial year on 31 March 2019 and then a further GBP800 million over the financial year up to the end of March 2020.

An MoD spokesman told Jane's on 29 October that the aim was to spend this additional money on "future capabilities", although he was unable to identify specific programmes that would receive the new money.

This additional funding can only be considered a one-off payment before Hammond conducts a cross-department review of all future government spending up to 2024-25.

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