Budget fails to deliver commitment on defence spending

Budget fails to deliver commitment on defence spending, says Prospect

Today’s Budget statement has failed to address the pressing need for clarity over the future levels of defence spending, according to Prospect union, which today calls for cross-party support on the need to allocate 2% of GDP.

Prospect, which represents more than 8,000 engineers, scientists, specialists and managers in the defence sector, says government needs to show leadership at a time of multiplying threats.

Garry Graham, deputy general secretary, said: “Defence has risen rapidly up the political agenda in recent months with many commentators identifying a mismatch between ambition and reach and resourcing.

“We face a resurgent Russia as witnessed by events in Ukraine and increased military activity in the seas and skies around Britain. We also need to be mindful of the increased global terrorist threat from groups such as Isis.”

Prospect is concerned about the recently reported comment from the foreign secretary that “there are no votes in defence”, which Graham says indicates the lack of a strategic view based on a coherent threat-based assessment.

“In 2010 defence spending represented 2.6% of GDP. That figure has dropped as the potential threats we face have continued to rise.

“We need to see real political leadership across the political spectrum. There is a need to signal that defence spending is a key priority. We are looking for a commitment that defence spending will not be allowed to drop below 2% of GDP as a crucial first step,” Graham said.

Prospect has called for more MPs from all parties to sign the early day motion which calls for this and which has already been supported by high-profile figures including Rory Stewart, Sir Menzies Campbell and Bob Ainsworth.

The EDM can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/757

For further information contact:
Garry Graham 020 7902 6678 (w) 07713 511703 (m) garry.graham@prospect.org.uk
Andrew Child 020 7902 6681 (w) andrew.child@prospect.org.uk