JAMES Gray MP in his weekly column says he favours a 50 per cent rise in our spending on defence – from two per cent of GDP, to three per cent. We currently spend about £44bn so this would rise to £66bn. Perhaps Mr Gray could tell his constituents how he imagines this increase would be funded, whether through yet more austerity measures, cuts to the NHS, extra taxation etc.
The fact is two per cent or three per cent of GDP are are entirely arbitrary figures. Rather than being needs-led, determining what we are aiming to achieve, and setting a realistic budget, we risk wasting billions of pounds because of campaigning by Tory backbenchers for this further £22bn.
The Government should coolly and clearly assess the risks to this country – from terrorism, cyber attacks etc and shape our defence capability to deal with these. Mr Gray is coming at it from the wrong end – wanting the money first, then deciding what to spend it on. No Government department is funded in this way.
Woodland Park