UK defence issues and the odd container or two

Percent of GDP

Their Lordships sometimes ask defence related questions.

Lord Wigley (Plaid Cymru)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the projected out-turn for defence expenditure in the current financial year; what proportion of the United Kingdom’s gross domestic product that figure represents; and what were the comparable figures in each of the previous five years. 

Lord Astor of Hever (Conservative)

As set out in the Department’s 2013-14 Supplementary Estimate, defence expenditure is projected to outturn at approximately £33,560 million.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimate gross domestic product (GDP) for this financial year to be £1,642,000 million. The proportion of projected outturn to GDP for this financial year is 2%.

Out-turn defence expenditure excludes the cost of military operations and is not the basis upon which the official NATO figure of defence spending as a proportion of GDP is calculated. For comparison, UK defence spending under the NATO definition is expected to be approximately 2.4% this year.

For the previous five financial years (FY) the proportion of outturn to GDP has been:

FY GDP Proportion Defence Outturn £ million GDP £ million
2012-13 2.2% 34,360 1,573,541
2011-12 2.4% 37,169 1,549,085
2010-11 2.6% 39,461 1,502,176
2009-10 2.8% 40,246 1,432,213
2008-09 2.7% 38,579 1,442,253

Outturn is recorded as the sum of Resource DEL plus Capital DEL minus Depreciation and Impairments.

Defence outturn figures are published at the following link:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/publications/finance-and-economics/departmental-resources/2013/2013.pdf

Previous year GDP figures are published at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269878/GDP_Deflators _Qtrly_National_Accounts_December_2013_update.xls

 

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Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

13 Comments

  1. accattd

    But we are goiing under 2 % !

    When, in fact we were at 2.7 at the time of those tabloid headlines… Won’t even qualify for NATO for much longer!
    – or, as the article says, at 2.4 % now

  2. Jedibeeftrix

    Two percent is important politically because it defines the argument over what purpose the public sees the armed forces as fulfilling.

    A continental style defence force, or a tool of an activist foreign policy.

  3. Repulse

    Interesting that Obama commented “NATO can’t just be a U.S. or British exercise.” Sounds like there is more going on than just defence spending to me.

  4. Jedibeeftrix

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10725597/Ukraine-Barack-Obama-says-Europe-must-defend-its-hard-won-freedoms-again.html

    “Mr Obama’s strong message included harsh criticism of low European defence
    spending.

    “The situation in Ukraine reminds us that our freedom isn’t free and
    we’ve got to be willing to pay for the assets, the personnel, the training
    that’s required to make sure that we have a credible Nato force and an
    effective deterrent force,” he said.

    Praising Britain for making a higher than average contribution to Nato
    missions around the world, he demanded a review of European military
    spending “to examine whether everybody is chipping in”.

    “This can’t just be a US or a British exercise, everybody’s going to have
    to make sure that they are engaged and involved,” he said.”

    When the US looks at european NATO dos it see a partner or a leech?

  5. accattd

    No mincing of the words. The departure speech by Bob ” to an old friend” was also in Brussels, but put the same content much more diplomatically, as if excusing the Pivot to Asia. The latter, this much later, is now a fact of life.

    Anyone know about the US army in Europe. A couple oofyears ago there were
    – one heavy bde left in Germany
    – one airborne in Italy (don’t know if that ever was permanent)
    – one Stryker bde in Romania (again, that one may have served the purpose of an OTH reserve for the M East).

  6. Martin

    I think our minimum floor for defence spending will be the 2% of GDP NATO figure but we can see that that floor is still quite a bit lower than current expenditure. Another cut of 0.4% of GDP around £8 billion would be quite devastating for the forces. equal to the entire land forces budget.

  7. Jedibeeftrix

    If operational costs lower significantly we will still need to meet the 2.0% floor, without any less capability funding necessarily.

    The noughties cannot be considered normal jogging by any means.

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