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Sunak’s £75 billion defence boost: Fact or fiction?

PM Rishi Sunak’s defence spending announcement has sparked debate, with experts challenging the £75 billion figure as inflated and misleading, and criticising potential job cuts and lack of transparency in funding.



Sunak’s £75 billion defence boost: Fact or fiction?

PM Rishi Sunak’s defence spending announcement has sparked debate, with experts challenging the £75 billion figure as inflated and misleading, and criticising potential job cuts and lack of transparency in funding.

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ishi Sunak’s recent announcement on defence spending has ignited a crucial debate, with significant concerns about the accuracy and implications of the proposed budget increase. The Institute for Fiscal Studies and Economist Ben Zaranko have cast doubt on the projected £75 billion increase in defence spending over six years. Zaranko specifically points out that this figure is based on the assumption of stagnant spending in cash terms, potentially violating NATO commitments.

In reality, when considering defence spending as a percentage of GDP, the increase amounts to approximately £20 billion over the specified period. Zaranko has acknowledged this discrepancy as a significant announcement, emphasising the unnecessary inflation of figures to create a misleading impression of the investment. The government’s strategy to counterbalance the additional defence expenditure through significant civil service job cuts has sparked criticism. The lack of transparency about the source of £2.9 billion annually for defence spending and the potential impact on 70,000 jobs in Whitehall have been met with scepticism.

Despite PM Sunak’s assurance that the funding is secure and sustainable, pressing questions remain about the feasibility of maintaining public services, cutting taxes, and implementing the defence budget increase. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has also expressed doubts about the government’s ability to balance these commitments effectively, underscoring the potential implications for the public.

PUBLIC SQUARE UK



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▪ This piece was first published in PUBLIC SQUARE UK on 24 April 2024.
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