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May vows to boost UK's defence budget

British Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to increase the country's defence budget British Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to increase the country's defence budget
Eleena Tovar | 15 May, 2017, 20:18

Mrs May said her party would also continue to meet the pledge to spend at least 2% of national income on defence.

Fallon's comments follow Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement on Wednesday that she meant to stick to a government pledge to increase defense spending above inflation every year of the next parliament, and to meet a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commitment to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense.

Whenever the defence secretary is asked about the scale and priorities of British defence spending he offers numbers but little in the way of context or reassurance.

It follows claims by a series of retired senior military figures that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was guilty of "accounting deception" in meeting the 2% spending level.

"Under my leadership the Conservatives will ensure that the fearless men and women of our Armed Forces have the equipment and resources they need to keep our country safe - and that we meet our obligations to the world", May will say.

"Only a vote for me and my Conservative team will deliver the strong and stable leadership that is vital for our national security".

"The 2015 Strategic Defence & Security Review charted a path towards our future security", it said.

Although the Conservatives have repeatedly boasted about their achievement of spending 2% of GDP on defence, the Government's very own newly released calculations show they have fallen short of that.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon dismissed criticism from General Sir Richard Barrons, former head of Joint Forces Command.

"Most analysts agree core defence expenditure for hard military power is well below 2 percent, " the signatories said. He reminded voters that the navy would soon take delivery of its first new aircraft carrier in more than 30 years, and that 14 F-35 jets would be deployed from it.

"Their cuts have left our forces more under-resourced and underpaid than at any time in the modern era", said Nia Griffith. "He's passionate about defence and so am I, which is why the defence budget is growing and that's why we're investing now".

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown, who served in the Royal Marines and SBS, said: "This Conservative government has slashed funding on defence, cut our Royal Marines and left our troops on the front line without basic equipment".