I have regular discussions with the Chancellor. The 2015 spending review set out spending plans for the remainder of this Parliament. The Chancellor confirmed last Wednesday that the Government are committed to growing the defence budget at 0.5% above inflation each year until 2020-21. We also have access to the joint security fund. With these commitments, the defence budget will rise from £35 billion this year to almost £40 billion by the end of this Parliament.
Why does the Government’s defence spending return to NATO include more than £1 billion of war and civilian pensions? These do not contribute to our defence and were not included under a Labour Government. Concern over these accounting tricks undermines confidence in our defence spending targets.
The return we make to NATO captures all the spending that falls to the defence budget, and it is for NATO to decide whether that return is properly completed. Indeed, a Committee of this House found that the
“accounting criteria fall firmly within existing NATO guidelines.”