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Rishi Sunak today committed to spending 2.5 per cent of GDP on defence by 2030 as he holds talks with NATO allies.

The PM made the pledge to boost defence spending by an extra £75billion as he visited Warsaw

He warned that the world is the ‘most volatile’ for years and industry must go on a ‘war footing’. 

But the move is unlikely to appease many on the Conservative benches who have been pushing for at least 3 per cent. 

At a joint appearance with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg at a military base in the Polish capital, Mr Sunak said the UK defence budget will increase immediately.

He vowed it would then rise steadily to reach £87billion a year at the end the decade.

The PM argued that the increase can be fully funded with no increase in borrowing or debt – suggesting that some of the outlay could be classified as international aid

Sounding the alarm that Vladimir Putin ‘will not stop at the Polish border’ if his assault on Ukraine is not thwarted, the premier has announced £500million in extra military funding and the UK’s largest-ever donation of key equipment.

Britain ‘is now on a war footing’: Rishi declares UK will spend 2.5% of GDP on defence by 2030 with military budget growing to £87bn at the end of the decade as PM visits Warsaw for talks with NATO allies on rising threats

Rishi Sunak today committed to spending 2.5 per cent of GDP on defence by 2030 as he holds talks with NATO allies

The PM and NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg inspected military equipment at the Warsaw Armoured Brigade

The PM and NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg inspected military equipment at the Warsaw Armoured Brigade

At a joint appearance with Mr Stoltenberg, Mr Sunak said the UK defence budget will increase immediately and then rise steadily to reach £87billion a year at the end the decade

At a joint appearance with Mr Stoltenberg, Mr Sunak said the UK defence budget will increase immediately and then rise steadily to reach £87billion a year at the end the decade

The premier was flanked by military kit as he made the announcement in Warsaw this afternoon

The premier was flanked by military kit as he made the announcement in Warsaw this afternoon

Mr Sunak argued that the increase in defence spending can be fully funded with no increase in borrowing or debt

Mr Sunak argued that the increase in defence spending can be fully funded with no increase in borrowing or debt

Mr Stoltenberg and Mr Sunak posed for a photo with British soldiers at the Warsaw Armoured Brigade

Mr Stoltenberg and Mr Sunak posed for a photo with British soldiers at the Warsaw Armoured Brigade

Mr Sunak later held a press conference with Polish PM Donald Tusk in Warsaw

Mr Sunak later held a press conference with Polish PM Donald Tusk in Warsaw

Mr Sunak sounded the alarm that Vladimir Putin 'will not stop at the Polish border' if his assault on Ukraine is not thwarted

Mr Sunak sounded the alarm that Vladimir Putin ‘will not stop at the Polish border’ if his assault on Ukraine is not thwarted

The 2.5 per cent commitment – higher than the 2 per cent threshold demanded of NATO countries – matches a promise made by Boris Johnson in 2022.

However, Mr Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt had shied away from adopting the vow up to now, with the public finances under huge strain. 

At present, around 2.3 per cent of GDP annually is being spent, which equates to around £52billion. 

Tory MPs have been clamouring for more investment amid mounting threats from Russia and concerns about China’s intentions. 

Mr Sunak will travel to Germany to hold one-on-one talks with Chancellor Olaf Scholz tomorrow.

‘In a world that is the most dangerous it has been since the end of the Cold War, we cannot be complacent,’ the PM said today, as he spoke alongside Mr Stoltenberg in a military hangar.

‘As our adversaries align, we must do more to defend our country, our interests, and our values.

‘That is why today I am announcing the biggest strengthening of our national defence for a generation.

‘We will increase defence spending to a new baseline of 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2030 – a plan that delivers an additional £75billion for defence by the end of the decade and secures our place as by far the largest defence power in Europe.

‘Today is a turning point for European security and a landmark moment in the defence of the United Kingdom.

‘It is a generational investment in British security and British prosperity, which makes us safer at home and stronger abroad.’

Mr Sunak stressed the UK was ‘not on the brink of war’ but warned about the threats facing the world from ‘an axis of authoritarian states’ including Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

‘The danger they pose is not new, but what is new is that these countries or their proxies are causing more instability, more quickly, in more places at once,’ he said.

‘And they’re increasingly acting together, making common cause in an attempt to reshape the world order.’

Mr Sunak held talks with NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg (left)

Mr Sunak held talks with NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg (left)

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the promise of more defence spending was 'far cheaper than letting Putin win in Ukraine'

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the promise of more defence spending was ‘far cheaper than letting Putin win in Ukraine’

Mr Sunak said some people would think ‘these are far away problems’ but he said they ‘pose real risks to the UK’s security and prosperity’.

The premier also delivered a veiled warning to other NATO states, who were roundly berated by Donald Trump for failing to contribute enough to security.

Mr Sunak said: ‘We cannot keep expecting America to pay any price or bear any burden if we ourselves are unwilling to make greater sacrifices for our own security.’

He added that Britain’s new defence commitments could be made as a result of ‘our management of the economy’.

‘The bedrock of everything we want to achieve as a country is founded on having a strong economy,’ the PM said. 

When asked about the potential impact of Mr Trump returning to the White House at November’s US election, Mr Stoltenberg said: ‘A strong NATO is good for Europe, but a strong NATO is also good for the US.

‘And I expect that regardless of the outcome of the elections in the US later this year. The US will remain a staunch and loyal ally.’

He added: ‘The criticism we have heard from the US, not only from former president Donald Trump but also from others… has not primarily been a criticism against NATO allies.

‘It has been a criticism against Nato allies not spending enough on NATO. That is changing.’

In a signal to other NATO allies, Mr Stoltenberg had earlier claimed the UK was ‘leading by example’ with its commitments to NATO.

But the NATO secretary general did not respond to a question of how reassured he could be by Britain’s announcement of increased defence spending when there might be a Labour government taking office later this year.

Mr Sunak said it ‘wouldn’t be appropriate’ to draw Mr Stoltenberg into the UK’s domestic politics.

Labour were sceptical of the PM’s defence spending announcement today and said voters would ‘judge ministers by what they do not what they say’.

But Mr Sunak’s announcement was warmly welcomed by James Heappey, who stood down as armed forces minister last month amid reports he was frustrated over the PM’s refusal to give a significant cash boost to the military.

‘This is ENORMOUS news and hugely needed in the MoD,’ Mr Heappey posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Former PM Theresa May said: ‘This is the right decision — not just for the UK but for the wider NATO alliance.

‘At a time when our values are under threat, it’s vital we invest in our hard power to prepare for a more dangerous future.’

Mr Sunak shares a joke with Polish PM Donald Tusk, who was previously president of the European Council

Mr Sunak shares a joke with Polish PM Donald Tusk, who was previously president of the European Council

Mr Sunak, accompanied by Jeremy Hunt and Grant Shapps, arrived in Poland for the first stop of his European capitals tour

Mr Sunak, accompanied by Jeremy Hunt and Grant Shapps, arrived in Poland for the first stop of his European capitals tour 

Boris Johnson has suggested the UK Government should go even further, with a rise in defence spending to 3 per cent by 2030

Boris Johnson has suggested the UK Government should go even further, with a rise in defence spending to 3 per cent by 2030

Mr Hunt and Defence Secretary Grant Shapps travelled with Mr Sunak and backed the announcement.

The Chancellor said the pledge ‘sends the clearest possible message to Putin that, as other NATO European countries match this commitment, which they will, he will never be able to outspend countries that believe in freedom and democracy’.

Drawing lessons from the war in Ukraine, the Government promised a further £10billion over the next 10 years to ensure the military does not run out of ammunition and missiles.

This represents nearly a doubling of current UK spending on munitions production and will focus on capabilities including air defence missiles, anti-armour munitions and 155mm artillery shells.

The announcement came after Mr Sunak unveiled a £500million military aid package including missiles, armoured vehicles and boats for Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who spoke to the PM this morning, said ‘all of this is needed on the battlefield’.

Mr Sunak said Mr Zelensky is ‘in good spirits’, ‘very positive’ about renewed US support and ‘very grateful’ for UK help.

Earlier this month, Mr Johnson suggested the UK Government should go even further, with a rise in defence spending to 3 per cent by 2030. 

The former PM told a conference in Canada: ‘Now is the moment for an even more robust posture. We all need to recognise the world is more uncertain, more dangerous.

‘We all need, frankly, to be spending more on defence – that goes for the UK as well as everybody else.’

Calling for Ukraine to be allowed to join NATO and be given the tools to defeat Russia on the battlefield, Mr Johnson insisted that the country had chosen its path to be a ‘free, independent European nation’.

Responding to the PM’s announcement today, Labour’s John Healey, the shadow defence secretary, said: ‘As Keir Starmer recently set out, Labour wants to see a fully funded plan to reach 2.5 per cent.

‘But the Tories have shown time and time again that they cannot be trusted on defence and we will examine the detail of their announcement closely.

‘The British public will judge ministers by what they do not what they say.

‘Since 2010, the Conservatives have wasted more than £15billion mismanaging defence procurement, shrunk the Army to its smallest size since Napoleon, missed their recruitment targets every year, and allowed morale to fall to record lows.

‘Labour will conduct a strategic defence and security review in the first year in government to get to grips with the threats we face, the state of our Armed Forces, and the resources required.’



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