The biggest programme of investment in British defence since the end of the Cold War has been welcomed by Rachel Maclean, MP for Redditch.

Today (November 19th), Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a £16.5 billion increase in defence spending over the next four years. This increase in the Ministry of Defence’s budget over the next four years is the amount over and above the manifesto commitment.

The Government has already pledged to increase defence spending by 0.5% above inflation for every year of this parliament. On existing forecasts, this is an overall cash increase of £24.1 billion over four years compared to last year’s budget.

This increase will also cement the UK’s position as the largest defence spender in Europe and the second largest in NATO.

The commitment will allow the Government to invest in cutting-edge technology, positioning the UK as a global leader in domains such as cyber and space and addressing weaknesses in our defence arsenal that cannot be allowed to continue.

To support these advancements, the Prime Minister has also announced a new agency dedicated to Artificial Intelligence, the creation of a National Cyber Force to protect our people from harm and a new ‘Space Command’, capable of launching our first rocket in 2022.

This will be underpinned by a record investment of at least £1.5 billion extra and £5.8 billion total on military research and development and a commitment to invest further in the Future Combat Air System.

These projects are expected to create up to 10,000 thousand jobs annually across the UK.

Rachel said:

“The first duty of any government is to protect its citizens and defend our country, and today’s announcement is recognition of this government’s solemn commitment to the defence of our nation.

“Britain has a proud history of standing tall on the world stage and this £16.5 billion increase in defence spending will enable us to continue to stand alongside our allies and upgrade our capabilities across the board.

“Having had the privilege to spend time with our troops as part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, I’ve seen first-hand their dedication and commitment to defending our country. This Government continues to recognise their bravery and we’re ensuring they will always have the support and tools they need to protect the UK.

“I know how proud Redditch is of our armed forces, as seen at the town’s Remembrance Sunday events which are always so well attended. We have our own connections with the armed forces too with the 37 Signal Regiment based in Redditch – and we’re incredibly proud of all that they do.

“As the Prime Minister has rightly said, 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.”