Britain at risk to miss Nato defence target, MoD official says

By on 29/05/2015

Britain could miss a crucial Nato target for defence spending, as the UK Treasury is seeking to cut the budgets of most government departments this year by an extra 5%, it is reported today.

The Treasury has told each ministry, with the exception of health, education and international development, to find savings amounting to £3bn or more before the budget on July 8, according to an article in the Times newspaper.

The Ministry of Defence has been asked to find £1bn of the savings, a move that defence sources told the Times would result in military training and possibly operational deployments being curtailed or cut. “The department is on budget so you would have to stop doing a lot of stuff,” one defence source with knowledge of the situation said.

A saving of £1bn by the end of March next year “would not be a thing you could just swallow and carry on”, the source said.

Analysts said that such a reduction would make it harder for the prime minister to keep defence spending above the Nato minimum of 2% of national income, the Times states.

The United States is putting pressure on Britain to retain defence spending above this threshold at a time of growing insecurity caused by the rise of Islamic State and the resurgence of an adversarial Russia.

It is expected to be an issue that President Obama will raise with David Cameron when they meet at a G7 summit next month in Germany.

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World – the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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