Rishi Sunak told to divert funds from foreign aid budget to pay for UK military investment

The Chancellor will set out his Spring Statement next week as war rages in eastern Europe and faces multiple competing demands for extra government spending

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been urged by GB News viewers to divert money from the foreign aid budget to boost the UK's military spending.

The Chancellor will set out his Spring Statement next week as war rages in eastern Europe and faces multiple competing demands for extra government spending.

He will have to decide whether to allow defence spending to fall over the next three years, or borrow to boost it.

On top of this, the UK has already seen a surge in energy prices, which are likely to increase again after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

He has already been urged by colleagues to cut fuel duty, increase mileage rates from 45p to 60p and give a 15% cut to “vital fuel users”, such as haulage firms.

The Chancellor will set out his Spring Statement next week as war rages in eastern Europe and faces multiple competing demands for extra government spending.
The Chancellor will set out his Spring Statement next week as war rages in eastern Europe and faces multiple competing demands for extra government spending.

Mr Sunak stopped short of offering any commitments ahead of the Spring Statement on March 23, but offered to “bear in mind” the suggestions.

Now, GB News viewers have urged Mr Sunak to use money intended for foreign aid to boost the UK's defence spending.

Two polls run by GB News received more than 5,000 responses.

The first asked if the UK should boost its defence budget after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Of the 2,849 who voted, more than 85% said it should.

Another, asked if Rishi Sunak should divert money from the foreign aid budget to boost the UK's military spending.

It received 2,690 votes, with more than 90% voting in favour.

Yesterday, former head of the British Army General Lord Dannatt told GB News UK defence spending must “increase by around £10billion” a year, to help counter the threat from an ultra-aggressive Russia.

Lord Dannatt
Lord Dannatt

Defence “has to be a key priority”, according to the former Chief of the General Staff, whose target of a £10 billion annual boost, would equate to an increase of roughly 20% on the current budget.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence told GB News: “To tackle the growing threats we face, we launched the Army's radical 'Future Soldier' reforms at the end of last year which will make the service more agile, lethal and expeditionary.

“Across Defence, this approach is supported by a £238 billion Equipment Plan delivering world class ships, aircraft and vehicles for our Armed Forces.”

The Ministry of Defence has faced repeated criticism over the years for badly managed and over ambitious equipment programmes, which have often seen their cost spiralling out of control.

Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Tom Tugendhat MP told GB News’ Colin Brazier: “We don’t spend enough in influencing ourselves abroad.

“Frankly, an army of 72,000 is far too small.

“I’d like to see the army going back up in numbers.

“We do need more ships, we do need more soldiers, and we need more aircraft.

“We need to make sure that when we turn up, we turn up in numbers and that we’re able to match not just in skill but actually sadly too often in size as well.”