Michael: ‘Defence Needs More Money’

Michael has called on the government to give defence “more money” in the House of Commons today during a statement on the new defence review.

He said: “Is my Rt Hon Friend aware that he would have the support of the whole House if he were to secure additional funding for the pressures this year and next year Defence Review Statement 25th January 2018 standingbut then put the defence budget onto a more sustainable footing that allows our armed forces to tackle the increased threats that they face without these demoralising rumours of deep cuts.

The words here are interesting and they are important, but what really matters in the end is money – more money.”

The current defence secretary responded: “I’d like to thank my Rt Hon Friend for all that he has done for our Armed Forces.  Without his work, without his campaigning, we wouldn’t have been in a situation where we had a rising budget today, with the extra £4 billion worth of extra resources committed to our armed forces by the government.

I will certainly take on board his comments, and I notice his article in the Telegraph today which I thought set absolutely the right tone in terms of approach of how we take things forward, and I hope I have the opportunity to sit down with him to discuss how we get the balance right to make sure that we achieve everything that he has set out and built on for our armed forces over the past four years.

We do need to look at getting additional resources for our armed forces so that they have the capability to protect and truly defend Britain’s global interests both near and far.”

Watch the exchange here: https://goo.gl/7gqAot

Fallon Calls for New Defence Spending Target

In his first defence speech since stepping down, Michael has called on the government to set a new, higher target of 2.5 per cent of GDP for defence spending by the end of the Parliament, warning that Britain’s “security is at stake”.

Michael listed the “new and growing threats” since he took office in July 2014.  He highlighted the threats Daesh posed in the Middle East to energy supplies, key shipping lanes and allies in the Gulf as well as inspiring attacks on British and European cities.  He also noted the increasing use of cyber by state and non-state actors sheltered by Russia, Iran and North Korea, and the fragility of democracies in Africa.

Michael warned of the increasing spending gap with Russia.  He said Britain “has to do better” than the NATO 2 per cent target in light of increased Russian naval activity, cyber and hybrid insurgence and its proxy war in Ukraine.

Michael also reviewed the pressures on the defence budget from the decline in sterling, the need to reprofile nuclear spending, and to deliver efficiency savings earlier.  He wants the Treasury to provide immediate relief of £1 billion, in return for removing back-office and inter-service duplication.  “Efficiency savings are a continuous process, not a one-off exercise,” he said: “all three services need to work much more collaboratively in everything from helicopters to medical and logistics support”.  In return, defence spending should rise from 2.1 per cent to 2.5 per cent of GDP over the next four years.

Concluding his speech, Michael called on Britain to reassess its role in the world.  “If we retreat from our vision of a confident, outward-looking Global Britain”, he cautioned, “then we will drift downwards to being a bit-part world player, a part-time champion of democracy and freedom.  That would mean walking away from our international obligations, letting down our allies, and in the end leaving us less safe.

“On the contrary, we should be doing more in the world: our troops, planes and ships should be seen on every continent, in every sky, on all seven seas.  And our ambition needs a fully-funded budget to match.”

Read Michael’s speech here: Reflections on Defence speech 22nd January 2018.