The UK expenditure on defence as a percentage of national GDP in 2020 was 2.3 percent, according to a report from the Ministry of Defence in November 2021 – easily putting the country above the two percent guideline set by NATO for its members. In the same year, Britain’s spending on defence increased once again, up by 0.2 percent from 2019. NATO also sets a guideline that its members should spend at least 20 percent of their defence budget on equipment and in 2020, the UK spent 22.2 percent of its defence expenditure on equipment.
Since Vladimir Putin began Russia’s destructive invasion of Ukraine, Britain has been widely-praised for its military response, sending anti-tank missiles, defensive weapons and ammunition to Ukraine.
The Prime Minister held a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday and vowed he would work with Western allies to provide “further defensive equipment” to Kyiv.
But Mr Johnson is being urged to double defence spending in order to be able to effectively fight off any future aggression from the likes of Russia and China.
Nile Gardiner, a foreign policy expert and former aide to Margaret Thatcher told Express.co.uk: “Russia and China will increasingly coordinate all of their activities, and I expect to see strategic and military collaboration between them on multiple fronts in the coming years.
“We need to take the same approach as the immediate period leading up to World War 2 where Britain re-armed and we have to do that today.
“Defence spending should double from two percent to four percent in the coming years if Britain is serious about being a world power again that can stand up to the likes of Russia and China.
“Britain has demonstrated tremendous political leadership on so many fronts with regards to Ukraine but the reality is, we need to be able to fight and win a ground war against the Russians in Europe.”
“We have to have that capability we had generations ago.”
READ MORE: Russia is ‘running out of troops’ as key military misstep exposed
“The safest option for Britain and our European allies is to spend more on defence, project strength and resolve and make the Russians back off.
“If we don’t, what you see in Ukraine will happen in other parts of Europe.”
Recent reports have suggested Britain could increase its defence spending as soon as this month, with the Ministry of Defence looking to review its military upgrade based on the failings of Russian forces in Ukraine.
The huge cash boost could be agreed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the spring statement on March 23 that could fund more deliveries of weapons to the Ukrainians or to improve Britain’s forces, according to Government sources speaking to The Telegraph.
This move has not been ruled out by The Treasury, but talks are yet to take place and it is understood the Ministry of Defence has made no formal submission, it is understood.
A Government source outlined a scenario in which an agreement could be made to significantly more weapons, commenting: “If that can’t be done within existing budgets, we’ll look at the way to go.”
But the insider warned: “We’re hyper aware of the cost of living situation.
“Spending more in any area means less for helping people in their pockets in the medium-term. We’ve got to balance all these things.”