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Politics latest news: Defence budget boost will not increase size of UK’s Armed Forces, warns Heappey



Rishi Sunak’s plan to increase the defence budget to 2.5 per cent of GDP will not result in the UK’s Armed Forces growing in size, a former minister has warned. 

James Heappey, who stood down as Armed Forces minister in March this year, welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of £75 billion in new funding for the Ministry of Defence. 

But he told Sky News: “What 2.5 per cent will do is allow the current armed forces – the army, navy, air force – at its current size to be correctly enabled i.e. the engineers, the medics, logistics, to have the stockpiles to put our defence industrial base onto a sort of permanent manufacturing scale that underpins our strategic resilience and our ability to supply the force in war. 

“So all of that is fantastic. Anybody who thinks that 2.5 per cent is going to bring with it a growth in the navy or a growth in the air force or a growth in the army doesn’t really understand just how expensive all this stuff is. 

“And in time I can see the need to have that conversation. But it would be so churlish [to complain now].”

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