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:firstname.lastname@example.org 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 / email@example.com
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
Civitas - Anti-racism industry creating a dependency upon race experts in which ‘racial divisions are becoming ever more firmly entrenched’, says think-tank report08/04/2021 10:35:00
The anti-racism industry ‘creates a dependency’ upon a race discourse that sows division, finds a new Civitas report. ‘The tragic consequence’, the report finds, ‘is that racial divisions are becoming ever more firmly entrenched’.
The King’s Fund response to The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report02/04/2021 09:10:00
Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, commented on the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities
UK economy will likely bounce back “more strongly than many expect,” says IEA expert01/04/2021 14:35:00
Julian Jessop, Economics Fellow at the free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, responded to the latest GDP data from the Office for National Statistics
Civitas - ‘Nurturing Britain’s high-tech capabilities’ and ‘safeguarding critical industries’ should be central to managing potential risks of economic dependence on China, think-tank report finds01/04/2021 13:35:00
‘British policymakers should think carefully about the degree of economic reliance on China that it is wise to tolerate where critical infrastructure is concerned’, a new think-tank paper suggests.
Commit to new deal for healthcare workers or risk ‘deadly exodus’, IPPR warns government01/04/2021 12:35:00
As many as one in four healthcare workers – equivalent to 330,000 staff - say they are more likely to leave the NHS due to a year of unprecedented pressure, according to new polling by IPPR/YouGov. The figure - which includes the equivalent of 100,000 nurses and 8,000 midwives – adds pressure to a workforce that was experiencing a crisis of unfilled vacancies even before the pandemic.
UK right to call for WTO reform, says IEA expert01/04/2021 11:35:00
Mark Littlewood, Director General at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, responded to the news that Britain it to use its G7 presidency to press for reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
IFS - Scottish Government funding per person is over 30% higher than equivalent English funding. But it has still chosen to use temporary COVID funding to pay for some new permanent spending commitments.01/04/2021 10:35:00
Real-terms funding for the Scottish Government’s day-to-day (or resource) spending in 2021-22 is still set to be 2% lower per person than in 2010-11, after excluding temporary COVID-19 related funding, and adjusting for new responsibilities.
Financial Ombudsman Service needs “major reform,” says new research01/04/2021 09:35:00
A new report from the Institute of Economic Affairs, written by IEA Head of Regulatory Affairs Victoria Hewson, draws attention to the shortcomings of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).