'SECURITY AND THE SHORTFALL IN DEFENCE FUNDING'

The Times – 1 April 2017

In 1995–96, the UK spent 3 per cent of GDP on Defence. Thereafter, Conservative defence spokesmen (of whom I was one) rightly criticised Labour for spending only 2.5 per cent. The Defence Select Committee report Shifting the goalposts? Defence expenditure and the 2 per cent pledge illustrates the downward spiral of Defence in our national priorities. Thus, in 1963, Defence and Welfare accounted for 6 per cent each and, in the mid-1980s, Defence, Education and Health accounted for 5 per cent each. We now spend six times on Welfare, two-and-a-half times on Education and nearly four times on Health, what we do on Defence.

Spending 3 per cent of GDP on Defence may not by itself guarantee our security, but without such an uplift there is no prospect of recruiting personnel and buying equipment in quantities sufficient to avoid a dangerously “hollowed-out” force of exactly the kind you describe.

Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP
Chairman, Defence Committee
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA