Ukraine: Ben Wallace quizzed on whether UK will send fighter jets
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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has claimed the UK needs to start “investing in defence properly” and is said to have asked the Treasury to increase his department’s budget by £10billion to help meet the country’s military commitments. But do you think this is enough? Vote in our poll.
The Ministry of Defence has called for Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to raise its budget by as much as a fifth over the next two years, according to The Sunday Times. The raise would cover the cost of inflation, foreign exchange fluctuations, as well as funding for NATO and Ukraine.
Mr Wallace claimed the British army had been “hollowed out” over the last 30 years and the ongoing war in Ukraine had “exposed our vulnerabilities”. He added that the additional funding would “insulate defence” from inflationary pressures.
Mr Hunt is reportedly reluctant to increase departmental spending, in an effort to keep inflation down. Yet in his Autumn statement, Mr Hunt said that he and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak “recognise the need to increase defence spending”.
Mr Wallace said that while it is important for the UK not to “break our own fiscal discipline”, it is the “right thing” for a department to argue for an increased budget to “meet their priorities”. He added that it is his “duty to the public” to properly fund defence. He added that his department is braced for an “uphill battle” with the Treasury ahead of the budget on March 15. Mr Wallace told Sky News he will have “lots of meetings” with Mr Hunt between now and the budget to “come to a deal” on the financing of his department.
Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, Chair of the Defence Select Committee, told the Daily Express that the UK’s security is “increasingly vulnerable” due to “stagnated” spending. He said: “Year on year, the threat picture is progressively deteriorating but defence spending has stagnated meaning our security and indeed economy are looking increasingly vulnerable.”
So what do YOU think? Is £10billion enough to boost UK defence budget? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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