DEFENCE – UK DEFENCE BUDGET & HMS ALBION AND HMS BULWARK – 23 October 2017
Dr Julian Lewis: Does the Secretary of State recall that several years after we took the peace dividend, in the mid-1990s, we were still spending 3% of GDP on defence? Will he assure us that no inadequacy in the defence budget will lead to the loss of HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, which are scheduled to leave service in 2033 and 2034, as the defence procurement Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for West Worcestershire (Harriett Baldwin), wrote to the Defence Committee to say only in January?
[The Secretary of State for Defence (Sir Michael Fallon): On the latter point, I have referred to the purpose of the capabilities review, which is simply to make sure that the equipment programme that we set out in 2015 is on track and is spending our money in the best possible way to deal with the threats, which have intensified since then. On the first point, about finance, the defence budget was £34 billion when I became Defence Secretary. It is £36 billion today and it will reach £40 billion by 2020.]