The amount the government spends on defence has varied greatly, often aligning with the conflicts the UK is involved in. For example, defence spending decreased after the Cold War, then rose sharply after the 2001 deployment in Afghanistan. There is pressure on many European countries to keep defence spending at 2% or more of GDP, a commitment of NATO members.
In 2017-18, defence spending in the UK was £36.61 billion, up from the previous year’s £35.3 billion, a real-terms increase of 1.9% when things like inflation are considered. This is well above the government’s 0.5% commitment, and since publishing the manifesto the government has repeated its 0.5% promise, as in this brochure from September 2017.
Because defence spending has increased more than 0.5% between 2016-17 and 2017-18, and because the government has repeated its intention to stick to these yearly rises, we’re confident that this policy is ‘in progress’. We’ll only know for sure that it is ‘done’ when the next election arrives, so stay tuned. Follow this policy for updates.
Increase your fact stack, get the details
- UK Defence Expenditure – Parliament.uk
- Ministry of Defence: Annual Report and Accounts 2017-18 – Gov.uk
- Ministry of Defence: Annual Report and Accounts 2016-2017 – Gov.uk
- UK Defence in Numbers – Gov.uk