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23 Apr, 2024 19:03

Britain to put industry on ‘war footing’ – PM

London plans to increase defense spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2030, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says
Britain to put industry on ‘war footing’ – PM

The UK is set to embark on the “biggest strengthening” of its national defense “in a generation” and plans to gradually increase defense spending to £87 billion (around $108 billion) annually by 2030, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced.

Sunak made the remarks on Tuesday at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg while on a visit to Poland. 

Sunak pledged to gradually increase Britain’s defense spending, promising to even surpass the NATO-targeted 2% of GDP by the end of the decade. Annual spending is expected to reach the £87 billion ($108 billion) mark in 2023, he said, constituting some 2.5% of Britain’s GDP. 

London is set to allocate additional long-term funding for ammunition production, Sunak stated, arguing that the Ukraine conflict has clearly shown the country needs deeper stockpiles should it find itself in a large-scale high-intensity war or even a global conflict.

“We will put the UK’s own defense industry on a war footing. One of the central lessons of the war in Ukraine is that we need deeper stockpiles of munitions and for industry to be able to replenish them more quickly,” Sunak said.

“Today is a turning point for European security and a landmark moment in the defense of the United Kingdom. It is a generational investment in British security and British prosperity, which makes us safer at home and stronger abroad,” he stated, hailing the spending plan as the “biggest strengthening of our national defense in a generation.”

The defense spending announcement comes as the UK, one of the top backers of Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, unveiled its biggest-ever military aid package for Kiev, valued at £500 million ($617 million). The “vital munitions” package will include more than 400 combat vehicles, 60 boats, and an undisclosed number of long-range Storm Shadow missiles.

“Defending Ukraine against Russia’s brutal ambitions is vital for our security and for all of Europe,” Sunak alleged. “If [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is allowed to succeed in this war of aggression, he will not stop at the Polish border.”

Speaking earlier in the day in Warsaw, however, the prime minister admitted that a large-scale conflict was not actually imminent and its danger should not be blown out of proportion. “We must not overstate the danger. We’re not on the brink of war, and nor do we seek it,” he acknowledged.

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