Britons were warned today that they face further tax hikes to fund higher defense spending as the West thwarts the threat from Russia.
Economists have said the Treasury may need to raise more revenue if it accepts a request from Ben Wallace for £10billion of additional funding.
In a letter to Boris Johnson, the Defense Secretary highlighted alarming capability gaps such as the lack of drones, the lack of pilots to fly multi-billion pound stealth jets and a shortage of crew onboard the Royal Navy nuclear submarines.
In a historic speech at a RUSI conference today, Mr Wallace will argue that the UK’s annual defense budget should reach 2.5% of GDP by 2028, well above the minimum of 2 % of NATO.
Respected think tank IFS said the increase would be a “big deal” and bring funding back to 1990s levels.
Director Paul Johnson stressed that the tax burden is already set to reach record highs as the government tries to balance the books in the wake of Covid.
Tweeting a graph showing how more money for health budgets had been found by cutting military spending since the 1950s, Mr Johnson said: ‘The reduction in defense spending over the past 60 years has given way to the welfare state without the need to raise taxes.
“No further opportunity to reduce it and taxes are rising to record highs.” If defense spending *rises* again, further tax hikes or a reduction in the welfare state will be needed.
In a historic speech at a RUSI conference today, Ben Wallace will argue that the UK’s annual defense budget should reach 2.5% of GDP by 2028 – well above the 2% minimum of NATO.
Director Paul Johnson has pointed out that the tax burden is already set to reach record highs as the government tries to balance the books in the wake of Covid
Mr Johnson tweeted a graph showing how more money for health budgets had been found by cutting military spending since the 1950s
The speech is the second time in recent months that Mr Wallace has called for more money to support the armed forces.
In March, he wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak warning him that spending risked falling below NATO’s 2% minimum.
Mr Wallace would use the extra funding to target specific capability gaps rather than increasing the size of the army – which is expected to shrink to just 72,500 by 2025.
In another dramatic intervention at the RUSI conference, the new army chief, General Sir Patrick Sanders, said the country was facing a “1937 moment” following Vladimir Putin’s “brutal aggression”.
Referring to the notorious policy of ceding ground to the German dictator before World War II, he said the will “to act quickly” was the only way to prevent Russian expansionism from ending in all-out conflict in Europe.
“I will have an answer for my grandchildren if they ever ask me what I did in 2022,” Gen. Sanders said, adding that Beijing will “watch carefully” to see how the West responds.
“If we fail to deter, there are no good choices,” he said. “So we must meet force with force and be unequivocally ready to fight.”
Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday pleaded with world leaders to give him the firepower needed to end Russia’s war on Ukraine before winter.
Ukraine’s president fears freezing temperatures in the country’s eastern regions later this year will favor Russian invaders and limit his troops’ ability to defend their land.
In an impassioned address at the G7 summit, he called for long-range weapons and air defense systems to be delivered before then. Speaking live on the Bavarian resort where the leaders are meeting, Mr Zelensky also called for tougher sanctions on Moscow to thwart the Kremlin’s war machine.
He also called for additional help from the West to break the Russian blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which prevents the export of the country’s grain stocks. “If Ukraine wins, you all win,” he said during his speech via video link.
It came as NATO announced a sevenfold increase in the number of high-readiness troops, from 40,000 to more than 300,000, as the defense alliance meets today for its own Mountain peak. The soldiers would respond to any Russian incursion into NATO territory but would not enter Ukraine. National troops would be placed at different alert levels so that the alliance has more combat-ready forces ready at short notice.
The strain on government finances was laid bare last week when figures from May showed the cost of servicing the nearly £2.4trillion mountain of debt jumped to £7.6bn pounds sterling, a record for the month.
The government has introduced more income taxes as it strives to balance the books after the Covid crisis
Last night it was claimed that as part of the NATO commitment, Boris Johnson could announce a significant reinforcement of Estonia, which could potentially more than double the number of British troops available to the Baltic state.
Urging Western allies to increase their support for the war effort, Mr Zelensky yesterday pleaded: “Don’t let winter drag on” and urged them “not to let the pressure down” in terms of sanctions.
In a joint statement, G7 leaders pledged to support Ukraine “as long as it takes”. Ukrainian military leaders want to mount a counter-offensive against the Russians this summer and fall but lack the necessary firepower.
Mr Zelensky is also desperate to address the vulnerability of his country’s major cities to Russian missile attacks and received a push from Washington yesterday with Joe Biden promising the same air defense system that protects the White House and the Pentagon .
More than 20 UK-purchased M109 howitzers are expected to reach the frontline within days while the US has pledged to supply the NASAMS system, which can destroy incoming missiles and aircraft at a distance of up to 86 nautical miles. Military sources said it could be used to protect Kyiv and other cities.