The International Institute for Strategic Studies claims that Britain spent 1.98 per cent on defence in 2017 — the same figure reported for the previous year.

However, according to NATO, the UK spent 2.14 per cent of GDP on defence.

IISS Director General John Chipman said:

“Only two European Nato states – Greece and Estonia – met the aim to spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence, down from four European states. The UK dipped slightly below this at 1.98 per cent, as its economy grew faster than its defence spending.

Nonetheless, the UK remained the only European state in the world’s top five defence spenders. If all NATO European countries were to have met this 2 per cent of GDP target, their defence spending would have needed to rise by over 40 per cent.”

IISS is a a leading authority on global security, political risk and military conflict. The Military Balance 2018, the annual assessment of global military capabilities and defence economics from the IISS suggests that European states are ‘increasingly conscious that the world is a dangerous place.

Military capabilities on the continent have, however, become hollowed out as states first reaped a post-Cold War peace dividend and then made defence a discretionary activity in the wake of post-2008 austerity’ say IISS.

The report states:

“Our figures show that Europe’s growing defence investments are still not fully geared towards preparing European armed forces for future challenges. For most, defence R&D remains limited.

Indeed, in 2016 three global defence firms – BAE, Boeing and Lockheed Martin – each spent more on defence R&D than all but two European states. Only France and the UK outranked them. And allocations for other costs, like military pensions, remain high in some states.

In 2017 for instance, military pensions absorbed over 33% of the Belgian and Portuguese defence budgets.”

The report discusses moves to recover and rebuild capability have been given impetus by stronger US pressure on European states to do more for their own defence, but claims they will take time to bear fruit.

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farouk

I’ve always been a little dubious of the 2% claim by the British government, as i do believe that Military missions regards humanitarian (Caribbean/South Atlantic (As per today’s posts) and the UK Military Assistance to Ukraine is paid out of the military budget and not out the foreign Aid one.

Joe

Strip out the pensions & the money that gets redirected to foreign aid and the number drops further still.

The main thing is, that the Tory lie about “2%” is a myth and should be resisted.

Ian

*applause*

2% a meaningless number anyway which has become an unintended thing in itself. It bears no relationship to capability, need, risk, planning, supply chains, gaps yada yada yada

Originally designed to shame the shameful we have wrapped ourselves in it like a comfort blanket which will shield us from all the troubles in the world and its dangerous AF.

andy

they seem to forget that we as a nation do not spend 2% on defence at all,as the overall budget is 2% but out of that 2% we pay war pensions to ex service personnel compensation for injuries along with these allegation claims of mistreatment by British troops to Iraq civilians and our nuclear deterrent which never used to be part of the defence budget until the idiot,s Cameron and Osbourne came along so i would reckon we spend maybe 1.2%,but they always like to fabricate the truth…plus with further cuts on the way lord only knows what the true… Read more »

Riga

Well raised point. How much cash has been abstracted by the abuse claims etc?

Pacman27

We really need to be clear on what we spend money on (not just defence). From my perspective there are really only 3 pools of money required. People (who will do it) , Facilities & Equipment (where and what they will do it with) and Operations (the day to day costs of doing things). Put simply Personnel and Welfare Capital Expenditure Operational Expenditure As a rule of thumb I would say 40% to personnel, 30% to equipment and 30% to operations This would broadly come out as £16bn, £12bn and £12bn, which actually should be more than enough to provide… Read more »

Joe

NATO give a rough breakdown on expenditure per country
– personnel
– equipment
– infrastructure
– “other”

Given the porkie-pies the government dish out on spending, who can say this is accurate though!

https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets/pdf/pdf_2016_07/20160704_160704-pr2016-116.pdf

andy

makes you wonder why the USA has the hump with most countries on spending,and if our idiots in power don,t stop cutbacks soon we will also be in the sights of the USA they have already warned us against cuts and further cuts,where will it all end….i remember when Bosnia kicked of we short manned then due to the collapse of the wall and options for change they got rid of to much manpower and equipment way to quick,then when Bosnia turned up we did not have enough resources i was attached to 2 battalions who had staff shortages then… Read more »

Pacman27

All things said and done it takes an awful amount of effort to spend £40bn pa.and have so little to show for it. I have costed a joint UK force out in some detail and believe me we can do so much better if we were consistent in our orders (4 ships, 1000 vehicles, 30 Aircraft and 500,000 uniforms etc….) it really isn’t rocket science. £12bn pa on equipment will allow for a great navy, much larger airforce and well equipped land force, but will need careful management – something we don’t seem too able to do. It has to… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

The vast UK defence budget is there to give huge contracts to the military industrial complex which provides small amounts of kit at eye watering prices. It gives the UK many capabilities others lack, which is important, but they really need to get more balance in quality and quantity, which will mean cheaper kit in greater numbers and a two tier navy. And the problem of sheer incompetence throughout Mod and the military when it comes to managing money, government delays, cuts, and the cost of Successor placed in core budget leaves the MoD in the position it is in.… Read more »

Pacman27

Daniele I agree with much of what you say, but dont think we do need 2 tiers for any of the forces. A FREMM frigate is circa £600-800m and for me is better than a T45 as it has offensive capabilities. I would also be happy with a Huitfeldt or Absalon that would all come in cheaper and better equipped – we’ve also spent a small fortune on FRES when actually an updated Warrior would seem to have been the solution (as would an updated T23 as I think the hull is acoustically very good even now). And yet when… Read more »

sjb1968

This just can’t be true with our rising defence budget and £178 billion equipment plans. Surely our Government wouldn’t be telling us a load of old BS would they?
Then the total indignation and anger – “of course the civil service are impartial”, when many do not believe their computer models suggest BREXIT will reduce growth. They just think ordinary people are stupid. All very sad and predictable.

dadsarmy

Very roughly, for illustration only with wild guesses, if the UK with its £40 bn budget spent all that outside the UK on kit and built none, then that would be half the budget with no return apart from the assets themselves. No design in the UK, no management, no research and development for those assets. So only £20 bn spent in the UK on wages, bases, infrastructure etc. At an economic mulitplier of 0.6, that £20 bn returns £12 bn to the economy, so nett cost of that £40 bn spend is £28 bn. But the UK does design… Read more »

Mr Bell

2 words
Creative accounting
All courtesy of George Osbourne. He should never have been allowed to lump strategic nuclear deterrent and armed forces pensions into core defence budget. He has created an utter mess as the armed forces budget cannot deliver renewed deterrence and a decent conventional military force. The budget was not uplifted enough to do this and would have to be somewhere around £45-50 billion to suffice or 3% GDP to defence ratio.

Lee H

Morning all 1.98% or 2.1% all doesn’t really matter as it talks about the % of GDP that can get measured in many dofferent ways to satisfy politicians and economists and not the departments that actually get given a DEL (Departmental Expenditure Limit). The MoD struggles most years to spend the money it is allocated and is allowed, unlike other departments, to hold on to that money over the financial year boundary. When MoD goes to Treasury and asks for even more money it is very difficult for Treasury to give more when the MoD cannot spend the money it… Read more »

Pacman27

Lee , well said The Mod needs a clear 25 year strategy that can then deliver a defence industrial strategy and procurement plan. It also needs the ability to move funding across the whole plan or to be able to smooth costs out with suppliers. One of the key problems as I see it – is the lack of trust between industry and defence whereby defence cuts volumes and industry inflates prices. Fixed price/fixed volume contracts are the way to go with perhaps the risk of weapons integration being mitigated by a stanflex style approach – whereby the connectivity is… Read more »

Elliott

The solution for the personnel expenses would be to allow more leeway in attaining the recruitment quota. By say using a variant of the US and Japanese systems. In them say the DOD know they won’t make quota. The recruiting commands are allowed to give greater incentive bonuses for signing on or re-enlisting. Furthermore the Services can come up with the incentives size, eligibility, and requirements. Without having to wait on a Congressional bill to raise the pay. Due to the money having already being allocated. This allows them to be much more flexible in the goal of achieving recruitment… Read more »

Frank62

The 2% was supposed to be a minimum acceptable defence spend, not a target or achievement in itself as HMG makes out. Our “2%” is achieved by very dubious accounting which amounts to deliberately decieving the electorate. One day we’ll be caught out, under funded, under manned, under equipped & ill prepared for the next major conflict & many will be killed or maimed unnecesarily.

[…] The spokesman also said that the U.K. would “continue to exceed” the NATO target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense. According to some calculations this is true; others say that last year Britain fell just below this threshold. […]

[…] The spokesman also said that the U.K. would “continue to exceed” the NATO target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense. According to some calculations this is true; others say that last year Britain fell just below this threshold. […]

[…] The spokesman also said that the U.K. would “continue to exceed” the NATO target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense. According to some calculations this is true; others say that last year Britain fell just below this threshold. […]

[…] The spokesman also said that the U.K. would “continue to exceed” the NATO target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense. According to some calculations this is true; others say that last year Britain fell just below this threshold. […]

[…] The spokesman also said that the U.K. would “continue to exceed” the NATO target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense. According to some calculations this is true; others say that last year Britain fell just below this threshold. […]

[…] The spokesman also said that the U.K. would “continue to exceed” the NATO target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense. According to some calculations this is true; others say that last year Britain fell just below this threshold. […]

[…] The spokesman also said that the U.K. would “continue to exceed” the NATO target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense. According to some calculations this is true; others say that last year Britain fell just below this threshold. […]

[…] The spokesman also said that the U.K. would “continue to exceed” the NATO target of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense. According to some calculations this is true; others say that last year Britain fell just below this threshold. […]