Keir Starmer: Labour Proposes Raising Defense Spending to 2.5%

Labour leader Keir Starmer has announced plans to increase defence spending to 2.5% of GDP and conduct a strategic review of defence and security priorities. This mirrors Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s goal and would mark an increase from the current level of 2.1%.

Earlier this year, ministers Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Tom Tugendhat urged the government to invest more rapidly in defence. Chancellor Hunt has stated that as economic conditions allow, defence spending will rise to the proposed 2.5%.

Sir Keir emphasized Labour’s total commitment to maintaining the UK’s nuclear deterrent, highlighting its importance in the face of rising global threats and Russian aggression. He asserted that nuclear weapons are crucial for ensuring the safety of the UK and its NATO allies, as well as supporting employment opportunities across the country.

Acknowledging Labour’s evolving stance on nuclear deterrence, Sir Keir emphasized the necessity of nuclear weapons despite their cost. He reiterated Labour’s commitment to reaching the 2.5% spending target in alignment with NATO obligations.

However, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps criticized Labour’s approach, citing past leadership under Jeremy Corbyn, who opposed Trident and questioned British intelligence. SNP’s Martin Docherty-Hughes criticized Labour’s willingness to allocate additional funds to nuclear weapons, arguing that the money could be better used elsewhere.

NATO member states have committed to spending at least 2% of GDP on defence by 2024. Currently, Poland leads in defence spending, followed by the US, which has consistently maintained a high level of expenditure in this area.

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