UK PM announces largest military investment since Cold War_china

Elias Hubbard
November 21, 2020

On Thursday, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his country's biggest military increase in expenditure since the Cold War.

"The era of cutting our defence budget must end, and it ends now", Johnson told Parliament via video conference from Downing Street, where he is self-isolating having recently come into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. The defence budget is now just under £42 billion a year.

"I have taken this decision in the teeth of the pandemic because the defense of the realm must come first", Johnson said in a statement.

The UK, as one of the leading military powers in the European Union, has always been the main ally of the United States in the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars.

At a time of heightened global uncertainty, the continued rise of China and after four years of US President Donald Trump's worldwide diplomacy, the UK's 2016 vote to leave the European Union has thrown its own role and global influence into doubt.

Over the next four years, an additional £16.5 billion ($21.9 billion) will be dedicated to a slew of new advanced projects, including new warships, the Tempest future combat air program, and the establishment of a "cyber force" and a British space command to rival the US Space Force, alongside a hefty investment in research.

The new financial deal comes just a week after Johnson promised US President-elect Joe Biden the United Kingdom was determined to remain a valuable military ally.

US acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller said the United States "applauds the announcement", which he said would allow the British military to "continue to be one of the finest fighting forces in the world".

The new space command and national cyberforce will be established by 2022 and will create 10,000 job opportunities, according to the British government.

The government said in a statement that the funding will "cement the [United Kingdom's] position as the largest defence spender in Europe and the second largest in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation".

Britain's main opposition Labour's Party said the increase was long overdue after the ruling Conservative government had cut the size of the armed forces by a quarter in the last decade.

"The 16.5 billion pounds extra in the Ministry of Defence's budget over the next four years is the amount over and above the manifesto commitment". "This country is, has been, and will remain one of the biggest contributors to aid on earth".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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