Defence spending faces savage real-terms cuts of £1.7 billion over the next three years, new research commissioned by the Liberals Democrats has revealed.
The analysis from the House of Commons Library forecasts that the Ministry of Defence budget will be eroded by soaring inflation, leading to a 5.6% real terms cut to day-to-day spending by 2024/25.
It means day-to-day defence spending will fall in real terms from £31.5 billion in 2021/22 to £29.9 billion in 2024/25.
This amounts to a cut of £1.7 billion over three years, £900 million of which will take place next year.
The real-terms cut to defence spending comes as the Conservatives admit they are on course to break a manifesto commitment to increase the defence budget in line with inflation, marking yet another broken promise by Boris Johnson.
Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesperson Jamie Stone MP said:
“The Conservatives are playing fast and loose with our armed forces with these real terms cuts.
“Soaring inflation risks gutting our defence spending, undermining our ability to stand with our allies in Europe and around the world.
“National security must be of the utmost importance for any Government. In the face of the threat posed by Vladimir Putin, I urge the Conservatives to reverse the armed forces cut immediately.’
Commenting, newly elected Liberal Democrat MP and former Army Major Richard Foord said:
“The Conservatives claim to support our armed forces, yet they are stripping back defence spending at this critical time.
“They’re inflicting real terms cuts of £1.7bn, adding yet another broken manifesto pledge to their pile of discarded promises.
“At this dark moment, we should be investing in defence, not neglecting our armed forces. Liberal Democrats will reverse these misguided cuts and back our troops.”