PM announces major defence investment in launch of Integrated Review Refresh
The Prime Minister has announced that the UK will ramp up investment in defence to meet the challenges of an increasingly volatile and complex world, as the Government launches an update to the 2021 Integrated Review.
The 2023 Integrated Review Refresh [IR23] confirms that an additional £5 billion will be provided to the Ministry of Defence over the next two years, to help replenish and bolster vital ammunition stocks, modernise the UK’s nuclear enterprise and fund the next phase of the AUKUS submarine programme. It follows a £24 billion four-year cash uplift in defence spending in 2020, the largest sustained increase since the Cold War.
The Prime Minister will also set out an ambition to increase defence spending to 2.5% of GDP in the longer term, and the UK will lead a conversation with Allies on future posture and burden sharing at the NATO Summit in Lithuania this summer. We will review defence spending after 2025 in light of this ambition.
IR23 was commissioned to respond to emerging geopolitical threats, from Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine to China’s economic coercion and increased competition between states. These trends were identified in the original IR and have intensified in the last two years, with far-reaching consequences for the security and prosperity of the British people.
The report identifies a number of priorities to tackle those threats head-on. The first and foremost is dealing with the fundamental risk posed to European security by Russia, and denying Moscow any benefit from their illegal invasion of Ukraine.
The IR Refresh also sets out how the UK will adapt our approach on China to deal with the epoch-defining challenge presented by the Chinese Communist Party’s increasingly concerning military, financial and diplomatic activity. It contains new measures to bolster the UK’s economic security, technology capabilities and international development offer in the face of that threat. The Prime Minister has set the direction across government for a consistent, coherent and robust approach to China, rooted in the national interest and aligned with our allies.
IR23 confirms that the UK will continue to play a leading role in Euro-Atlantic security, while also consolidating the strategic shift we achieved with the Indo-Pacific tilt. As the first step to deliver on those priorities, the Prime Minister is in San Diego today [Monday 13 March] for a meeting with President Biden and Prime Minister Albanese to advance the next phase of the AUKUS submarine programme.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
As the world becomes more volatile and competition between states becomes more intense, the UK must be ready to stand our ground.
By investing in our armed forces for the long-term, we will be ready for the challenges of today and of the future. As I will discuss with our American and Australian allies in the US today, the UK will remain a leading contributor to NATO and a reliable international partner, standing up for our values from Ukraine to the South China Seas.
We have seen all too clearly in the last year how global crises impact us at home, with Russia’s appalling invasion of Ukraine driving up energy and food prices. We will fortify our national defences, from economic security to technology supply chains and intelligence expertise, to ensure we are never again vulnerable to the actions of a hostile power.
IR23 sets out a number of additional priority actions to deliver on our refreshed strategy, including:
- The creation of a new National Protective Security Authority within MI5, established from today [13th Mar] to provide a wide range of UK businesses and other organisations with immediate access to expert security advice.
- Establishing an Economic Deterrence Initiative to strengthen the power of our sanctions enforcement, closing off routes for human rights abusers and oligarchs to evade sanctions.
- Doubling funding for a government-wide China Capabilities programme, including investing in Mandarin language training and diplomatic China expertise. We will also roll out a College for National Security curriculum, to bolster national security capabilities across government.
- Setting up a new Integrated Security Fund worth £1 billion to deliver on the core objectives of the Integrated Review at home and around the world, including in economic and cyber security, counter terrorism and human rights. This replaces the existing Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).
- Publishing a refresh of the UK’s Critical Minerals Strategy to ensure the UK has reliable access to the vital components for everyday and future technology.
- Providing an additional £20m in funding for the BBC World Service, ensuring it can continue to provide 42 vital language services – including in countries targeted by hostile states for disinformation.
The ‘Integrated Review Refresh 2023: Responding to a More Contested and Volatile World’ will be presented to Parliament by the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly later today [Monday], and then published in full on gov.uk.