The increase, part of a major update to U.K. foreign and defense policy, is less than military officials wanted. Sunak said the U.K. would increase military spending to 2.5% of gross domestic product “in the longer term,” but did not set a date. Britain currently spends just over 2% of GDP on defense, and military chiefs want it to rise to 3%, AP reported.
The extra money will be used, in part, to replenish Britain’s ammunition stocks, depleted from supplying Ukraine. Some will also go towards a U.K.-U.S.-Australia deal to build nuclear-powered submarines.
Britain last produced a defense, security and foreign policy framework, known as the Integrated Review, in 2021. The government ordered an update in response to an increasingly volatile world. Russia’s February 2022 operation in Ukraine upended European security, and the U.K. is also increasingly concerned about what the government calls “the epoch-defining challenge presented by the Chinese Communist Party’s increasingly concerning military, financial and diplomatic activity.”