further statement on ukraine
In his Spring Statement today (23 March), the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, made clear how much the Russia-Ukraine War will affect the nation's finances. He failed, however, to recognise the connection between this war - with its devastating knock-on effect on the UK economy - and the military weakness of Britain and our NATO allies which led to Putin's invasion of Ukraine. This failure to deter Russia is itself is a consequence of political short-termism and of politicians' seeming inability to understand the true cost implications of our present inadequate defence and security provision.
If Mr Sunak wishes to avoid more conflicts of this kind, and an even greater danger from rogue states such as Putin's Russia, with the economic impact that this will inevitably have on Britain, he needs to ensure that our Armed Forces are properly financed - which they are not at present - and that the UK is, with our NATO allies, ready, willing and able to deter any further aggression by Putin. The Chancellor has missed the opportunity with this Spring Statement to announce an uplift to the Defence budget, but this need not be the end of the matter. He should follow up the Statement by acknowledging the urgent need to increase Defence spending and by finding the money from HM Treasury to do what needs to be done. And the sooner the better.
Two per cent of GDP is not enough to provide effective national security. We urge the Government to commit to spending at least 3 per cent of GDP on Defence, and to move towards that now. Some of our NATO countries are already, belatedly, starting to ramp up their military expenditure, but not enough of them. In military terms the UK is one of the two most important Western powers, alongside the USA, and apart from ensuring our own security we need to set an example to the rest of NATO. For all our sakes, it's time to invest in Defence, Mr Sunak!
Andy Smith, Director, Defence UK
23rd March 2022
statement on ukraine
With war raging in Ukraine, and with the nations of the Atlantic Alliance urgently seeking a more effective strategy to meet the growing challenge from Putin's Russia - which now threatens to push at the very borders of NATO - the British Government must immediately reassess its 2020 Integrated Review of defence, security and foreign affairs. In particular, ministers must rethink their short-sighted decision to reduce personnel numbers in our Armed Forces. Now is the time for the Government to expand our Armed Services, not to continue the policy and practice of previous administrations to squeeze staffing levels in the Royal Navy, Army and RAF so that they are permanently undermanned.
"This week the Chancellor of the Exchequer will present his Spring Statement to the House of Commons. We urge him to take this opportunity to announce a significant increase in the UK's defence budget, bringing military expenditure to at least 3 per cent of GDP. Present levels of defence spending are clearly inadequate and put our nation's security at risk. Raising the MOD budget to 3 per cent of GDP is not just affordable, it is absolutely essential. War is so much more expensive than defence and deterrence, so if the Government wants to ensure the safety and security of the UK, and to promote peace and prosperity for the future, it must invest in our Armed Forces. Britain must spend to defend.
Andrew Smith, Director, Defence UK
22nd March 2022
Russia's invasion of Ukraine must be met with the most robust British and Western political, economic and military response. It is not too late for full mobilisation across Nato to counter Russia; indeed this is essential if we are to stand any chance of deterring further Russian aggression. British and Nato reinforcements must be rapidly deployed to all of our allies and partners facing the threat from Russia.
Vladimir Putin is set upon recreating the old Soviet Union. He thinks he can get away with this because of Nato weakness and the reluctance of Western politicians to deploy our military assets. We have to prove him wrong.
Andrew Smith, Director, Defence UK
24th February 2022
If you find the articles here and on FaceBook of interest, please consider making a donation of, say, £5 to Defence UK, or even becoming a member.
Our only income comes from membership subscriptions and donations.
Click here for details.
“Defence UK is an independent pressure group that campaigns for a strong and well-resourced Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, to ensure the security of the United Kingdom, her Sovereign Territories, trade and commerce, and to protect her citizens wherever they may be. We also call for a greater commitment by the UK Government to the nation's defence industries, and to non-military services such as the Merchant Navy, Coastguard, Border Control and Homeland Security that are essential to the Defence of the Realm.”