Defence funding boost extends British influence

Defence funding boost extends British influence

A defence spending boost will ensure “the safety of the British people must come first”, Boris Johnson said as he outlined a new package.

The prime minister told MPs the four-year deal was worth £16.5bn and would help protect “hundreds of thousands” of jobs and create 40,000 new ones.

It will “end the era of retreat, transform our armed forces and bolster our global influence”, he said.

Labour welcomed more defence spending but asked how it would be funded.

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer asked Mr Johnson whether the money would be raised through spending cuts or tax rises, or both.

The Ministry of Defence’s annual budget is around £40bn, so a £16.5bn over four years is about a 10% increase.

But Ben Zaranko of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the £16.5bn figure used by Mr Johnson was a “misleading” way to present the figures.

Instead, the IFS said the best way to describe the new settlement would be £7bn of new money for the annual defence budget by 2024/25.

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