UK PM Rishi Sunak confirms a hike in Britain’s defence budget in talks with AUKUS leaders. He pledged an extra GBP 5 billion over the next two years to boost UK defence. He said the increased defence spending will help the UK “stand our ground” in an increasingly “volatile” world.
According to Downing Street, the £3 billion of the additional expenditure is to support the pact. Which will enhance industrial infrastructure and maintaining UK submarines.
The leftover £1.9 billion is to upgrade the UK’s munitions infrastructure and replace the weapons sent to Ukraine. Spending from the additional funds will total £1.98 billion this year and £2.97 billion the following year. The defense budget will reevaluate in 2025.
Without providing exact time line No 10 said spending after this date will be evaluated against a goal. This is to raise defense spending to 2.5% of national income in the “longer term”.
Effect of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and high inflation, the short-term funding is only about half of what Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had allegedly requested. But officials said he was “delighted” with the agreement.
Significant sums of the promised new money will be swallowed up by replenishing ammunition stockpiles handed to Ukraine and work on the Aukus project to develop nuclear-powered submarines for Australia.
That short-term funding is only around half of what Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had reportedly demanded. The military budgets are squeezed by the impact of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and high inflation. Although officials said he was “delighted” with the settlement.
The group will decide on the specifics of a US-UK agreement to provide Australia with nuclear-powered subs.
The Aukus pact, which was signed in 2021 as part of an effort to counter Chinese military dominance in the Indo-Pacific region, is known as such.
According to reports, Australia may decide to modify the British Astute-class submarine and purchase up to five US Virginia-class submarines during the manufacturing phase.