RUSI Briefing says UK defence spending due to fall below NATO target of 2% of GDP in 2015
While the UK government has called upon European NATO members to meet the Alliance’s target for 2% of GDP to be spent on defence, the UK itself is currently on course to fall below this level in the fiscal year that begins in April 2015, according to a new RUSI Briefing Paper.
A new study for RUSI shows that – on current spending plans and growth projections – the UK’s defence budget (excluding spending on any new operations) is set to fall to an estimated 1.88% of GDP in financial year 2015/16. The finding comes amidst calls by the UK government at the Wales NATO Summit for all member states to meet the alliance’s target of spending at least 2% of GDP on defence.
The new RUSI Briefing Paper, authored by RUSI’s Director of Research and UK Defence Policy, Professor Malcolm Chalmers, shows that existing Ministry of Defence (MoD) planning assumptions (for modest real-terms growth in its budget after 2015/16) would also, in the context of projected GDP growth, see spending falling to around 1.7% of GDP by 2020/21.
Even this scenario may be over-optimistic because of wider government plans for spending cuts after 2015/16. Further cuts in the 2015 Spending Review (of between 4% and 10% in real terms over five years), Chalmers argues, could see defence spending falling further, to between 1.5% and 1.6% of GDP in 2020/21.
Given the risk of further such cuts, Chalmers argues that it would be in the Ministry of Defence’s interests to support the holding of the next Strategic Defence and Security Review in parallel with (rather than subsequent to) the 2015 Spending Review. This would help to ensure that government leaders (in both 10 and 11 Downing Street) are fully aware of the capability consequences of proposed spending cuts before they are finalised.
Because of the short time involved in such a schedule – perhaps only three months after the election before key capability choices need to be made – the MoD will need to complete much of the detailed work on the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of a range of possible policy options in advance of the May 2015 general election. Without such work, government ministers could find themselves – as in the last SDSR in 2010 – being forced to make key decisions without adequate supporting data.
To read ‘The Financial Context of the 2015 SDSR: The End of UK Exceptionalism?’ in full,download the briefing here (PDF)
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- To contact or interview the author, Professor Malcolm Chalmers, RUSI Research Director: email@example.com or call: +44 (0) 78 2584 8197
- If the author is not available, contact Adrian Johnson: +44 (0) 7917 373 068. For all other media inquiries, please contact: Saqeb Mueen / +44(0)20 7747 2618 / +44 (0) 7917 373 069 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Royal United Services Institute is the UK’s leading independent think tank on international defence and security. Its mission is to be an analytical research-led global forum for informing, influencing and enhancing public debate on a safer and more stable world
Latest News from
Work Foundation - Rapid action needed for people to meet challenges of changing world of work25/04/2019 14:35:00
Governments need to overhaul their approach to employment and jobs to reduce further social and economic tensions, according to a new report from the OECD. Without rapid action, many people, particularly the low skilled, will be left behind in the fast-changing world of work.
NIESR: Prospects for the World Economy25/04/2019 14:25:00
Tailwinds from accommodative financial conditions and the US fiscal stimulus boosted global economic growth during the past two years. As these have subsided, global growth has retreated somewhat from its cyclical peak.
JRF response to Food Foundation and Trussell Trust reports on food poverty25/04/2019 13:35:00
Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation, responded to the publication of the Food Foundation’s Children’s Future Food Inquiry and the Trussell Trust’s annual food bank data
IEA - Customs union membership will cost UK economic, trade and foreign policies25/04/2019 12:35:00
Remaining in a customs union with the EU would make it impossible for the UK to establish an independent trade policy, and render reclaiming policy areas such as agriculture and state aid an impossibility, an IEA briefing argues.
NIESR: Prospects for the UK Economy25/04/2019 11:37:00
Our main-case forecast is broadly for a continuation of current economic conditions.
IFS - Deficit low by historical standards, but debt much higher than pre-crisis25/04/2019 11:35:00
Yesterday, the Office for National Statitics (ONS) published their March 2019 public sector finance numbers for the UK. This bulletin presents the first provisional estimates of UK public sector finances for the latest full financial year (April 2018 to March 2019).
Policy Exchange - The Speaker should allow a third meaningful vote on the Brexit deal25/04/2019 10:35:00
By Sir Stephen Laws QC, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange, and former First Parliamentary Counsel from 2006-12
IFS - Universal credit to hit 1.9 million by over £1,000 per year – though for many these losses are temporary25/04/2019 09:35:00
11 million adults (and a third of working-age ones) will be in households entitled to some universal credit (UC). Around 4.2 million of these will be at least £100 per year better off than under the current system and 4.6 million will – after transitional protection expires – be at least £100 per year worse off.