In last summer’s Budget the government committed to increase defence spending by 0.5% above inflation every year until 2021 and continue to meet NATO’s target to spend 2% of GDP on defence for the rest of the decade.
1 April 2016 marks the first day that these commitments come into effect with the core defence budget increasing by £800m from the 2015/16 baseline of £34.3bn to £35.1bn. In addition, the MOD will receive £2.1bn from the Joint Security Fund by the end of this Parliament. This means the Defence budget will increase by nearly £5bn to £39.7bn in 2020/21.
Welcoming the new budget, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
Nothing is more important than defending our country and protecting our people. With increasing threats to our security, we have chosen to increase defence spending and give our Armed Forces what they need to keep Britain safe.
The UK has the 2nd largest budget in NATO, the largest in the EU, and the fifth largest in the world. It is one of only five countries that meets the NATO guideline to spend 2% of GDP on Defence.
Over the next five years the MOD budget will increase as set out in the table:
|Ministry of Defence
|Resource DEL (1)
(1) In this table, Resource DEL excludes depreciation
The increased budget will allow the MOD to invest in stronger defence with more ships, more planes, more troops at readiness, better equipment for Special Forces, and more for cyber.
We will fully protect the size of the Armed Forces, not reduce the Army to below 82, 000, and increase the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force by 700 personnel. By 2025 we will have a highly capable expeditionary force of around 50,000 (up from around 30,000 planned in Future Force 2020).
Over the next decade MOD will spend over £178 billion on equipment and equipment support, £12 billion more than in plans prior to the 2015 SDSR. Our investments include:
- Maintain the plan to buy 138 F35s over the life of the programme.
*An extra £2bn on our Special Forces’ equipment.
- 9 Boeing P8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
- Advanced High Altitude surveillance aircraft.
- More than 20 Protector armed remotely piloted aircraft
- Type 26 Global Combat Ships.
- We will also launch a concept study and then design and build a new class of lighter, flexible general purpose frigates
- 2 new Offshore Patrol Vessels.
- 3 new logistic ships.
The Armed Forces will also become more, efficient and effective which means we will:
- Establish 2 additional Typhoon squadrons and an additional F35 squadron.
- Have a full Army division (made up of three brigades) optimised for high-intensity combat operations
- Create 2 new Strike Brigades
*Double (from 1 to 2) the number of Brigades ready to deploy on operations.
- Reducing the number of civilians in the MOD by almost 30% over the next five years.
From 2016/17 all savings from efficiencies and reprioritisation will be reinvested in the defence budget, enabling £9.2bn to be invested in new capability over the Spending Review period.