Following the Secretary of State for Defence’s statement on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Andrew Bridgen welcomes the Government commitment to raise defence spending to 3% of GDP by 2030 and seeks assurance that the 2030 date will be kept under review.
I commend the Secretary of State on his statement and his ongoing handling of the UK response to the illegal invasion of Ukraine by President Putin.
I have long been of the view that spending on our armed forces should be viewed as an insurance policy to protect not only our security but our national interests. As with any insurance policy, when the risk profile increases so must the premiums. My right hon. Friend has already reconfirmed that the Government have committed to raising defence spending to 3% of GDP by 2030. Given the acute security situation in which we find ourselves at the moment, will he also commit to keeping that 2030 date under review?
My hon. Friend is right; I have often stood at the Dispatch Box and said that as the threat changes so must our investment and funding. That has been all too forgotten when it has come to defence during the last three decades, to be honest. It was interesting that we always understandably responded to pressures in the NHS or the financial markets, but that did not seem necessary when it came to threats. That is how we have ended up with a need to go up to 3% by 2030.
As long as I am Defence Secretary, I will keep the view that as the threat changes we should always review the issues. That is fair and consistent for the men and women of the armed forces. It also sends a strong message to people such as President Putin: that we mean what we say.