Budget Warning: Rishi Sunak Faces Backlash Over Defence Spending Amid Putin’s Aggression

credit: telegraph

London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Rishi Sunak cautioned against withholding funds for Defence in the Budget amid escalating tensions with Putin’s Russia over the Ukraine conflict.

Rishi Sunak has been cautioned his Government would be “asking for trouble” if the Ministry of Defence is hungered for cash in next week’s Budget despite Vladimir Putin’s continued aggression.

Reports published today have indicated the Ministry of Defence – led by Defence Secretary Grant Shapps – will not get any additional funding next week.

The Treasury, previously captained up by Mr. Sunak when he was Chancellor and now directed by Jeremy Hunt, will assert that ongoing pressure on public finances makes raised defence spending impractical.

Two years after Putin’s aggression on Ukraine, tensions are steaming in Europe, with French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday declining to rule out the possibility of Western troops being deployed there. The French President’s comments drew a sharp rebuke from the Kremlin, with Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov cautioning that conflict with Russia was “inevitable” should Mr Macron go down that path.

Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Crawford, who performed in the 4th Royal Tank Regiment, said that if true the judgment “flies in the face of everything that’s happening in Europe and elsewhere”. He conteded: “If ever there was a time to up defence spending and expand Britain’s military it is now.

“You just can’t do defence properly on the cheap. It’s hugely costly at a time when all departments of government are crying out for money. But without defence, all those other departments might not exist.”

Following Putin’s Russia is now “on a war footing” having stepped up the exhibition of ammunition significantly in recent months, curbs to defence spending were “asking for trouble”, Lt Col Crawford stressed.

He said: “I think it’s a bit of a gamble.

“Britain’s security cornerstone is NATO and I guess we’re relying on sheltering under its umbrella. But if Trump returns to the White House – and I’m pretty sure he will at the moment – then we may be looking at a different scenario altogether.”

In a spread letter to former generals, the head of the British Army General Sir Patrick Sanders stated: “Our strategic resilience is at risk, and we might inadvertently reduce ourselves to a smaller, static and domestically focused land force.

“I am not sure that this is either the Army the nation needs, or the one that policymakers want.”

Read More: Rishi Sunak calls Hungary’s approval of Sweden’s NATO bid an ‘historic day’

However, Mr. Sunak is dedicated to increasing defence spending as a proportion of GDP to 2.5 percent once economic possibilities allow it.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.