The UK will invest an extra £16.5bn in military defence spending - here's why

Boris Johnson is set to announce the largest investment in UK military funding for 30 years, with an increase of £16.5 billion over a period of four years.

The government says the money will fund space and cyber defence projects, and could also create 10,000 new jobs a year.

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The current Ministry of Defence annual budget is around £41.5 billion per year, and this extra money will therefore increase the UK’s investment in defence to its highest level since the Cold War.

‘Defence of the realm must come first’

The Prime Minister said on the evening of Wednesday 18 November, that he has “taken this decision in the teeth of the pandemic because the defence of the realm must come first.”

He continued, “The international situation is more perilous and more intensely competitive than at any time since the Cold War and Britain must be true to our history and stand alongside our allies. To achieve this we need to upgrade our capabilities across the board.

“This is our chance to end the era of retreat, transform our armed forces, bolster our global influence, unite and level up our country, pioneer new technology and defend our people and way of life.”

The extra investment comes on top of the Conservatives' 2019 manifesto commitment, which pledged to increase defence spending by 0.5 per cent above the inflation rate (currently at 0.7 per cent) for every year of the current Parliament.

Labour's shadow defence secretary, John Healey, welcomed the investment.

Mr Healey said, "This signals a welcome and long overdue upgrade to Britain's defences after a decade of decline.

"Since 2010 the size of the armed forces has been cut by a quarter, defence spending was cut by over £8 billion and the defence budget has a £13 billion black hole.

"The UK has the know-how to be a global leader in new domains such as cyber and space, as long as government plays its part."

When will the announcement be made?

The new military investment plan is expected to be announced in the House of Commons later today, Thursday 19 November.