UKIP Defence Spokesman, Mike Hookem MEP has branded the Chancellor’s budget promise to meet the 2% of GDP NATO defence spending commitment for the rest of the decade, “an utter charade” and “nothing short of devious”.
Mike’s comments come after a closer examination of the budget text revealed the Government is counting the money spent on the intelligence and security services as defence spending to meet its NATO pledge.
Mike, who has been warning of Conservative attempts to fudge the defence spending figures for a number of months, said, “For all the Chancellor’s bravado in parliament today, his promises on defence have already proved absolutely worthless and nothing short of devious. This is just another attempt to hoodwink the British people into thinking the Tories are taking our defence seriously, when the opposite is true.”
“We have already seen the Tories try to use war pensions to make up the defence spending shortfall and now they are including intelligence spending. It’s frankly ridiculous.”
“Bearing in mind that the country currently faces the greatest range of threats we have seen since the Second World War, this news is nothing more than a betrayal of our brave armed forces and of the British public.”
“From speaking to a wide range of military sources, I know how hard pressed and under resourced our armed forces really are. What they need is real investment in people and equipment. What they don’t need is political smoke and mirrors that allows the government to say they are meeting defence-spending targets, when the reality is quite different.”
“Our armed forces need investment if they are to retain any of the operational ability the world security situation currently demands. David Cameron and George Osborne need to get real and properly increase the defence budget as UKIP proposed under its defence spending plans during the election. Only then will we truly meet our NATO pledges.”