Turn on thread page Beta

B1416 – Defence Spending (3%) Bill 2018 watch

    • Wiki Support Team
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    Wiki Support Team
    B1416 – Defence Spending (3%) Bill 2018, TSR Libertarian Party


    Defence Spending (3%) Bill 2018 Bill 2018

    A Bill to set a minimum a Government can spend on Defence.

    BE IT ENACTED by The Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

    1: Definitions

    (1) Defence Spending, for the purpose of this bill, includes spending on military defence, civil defence, foreign military aid, research and development in the defence industry, including capital spending, and does not include economic aid.
    (2) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is defined as the monetary value of all finished goods and services produced within a country’s border within a given time as measured by the Office for National Statistics.

    2: Minimum Defence Spending

    (1) From April 1st 2019, defence spending shall not be less than 2.50% of GDP;
    (2) From April 1st 2020, defence spending shall not be less than 2.75% of GDP;
    (3) From April 1st 2021, defence spending shall not be less than 3.00% of GDP;

    3: Commencement, Short Title, Extent and Conditions

    (1) This bill shall come into force upon Royal Assent.
    (2) This bill may be cited as the Defence Spending (3%) Bill 2018.
    (3) This bill extends to the United Kingdom.

    Notes and Costings
    Spoiler:
    Show
    A recent report by the Commons Defence Select Committee made clear that the current defence spending levels are inadequate and that a rise to 3% would be preferable. Proposed in the bill is a minimum of 3% defence spending. This means we can begin to urgently rebuild a military which has not been looked after in recent years.

    2018 Q1 UK GDP - £504,195m
    2018 Q2 UK GDP Forecast - 0.3% Growth [OBR] - £505,708m
    2018 Q3 UK GDP Forecast - 0.5% Growth [OBR] - £508,236m
    2018 Q4 UK GDP Forecast - 0.4% Growth [OBR] - £510,269m
    2018 UK GDP Forecast - £2,028,408,000,000
    2019 UK GDP growth forecast - 1.3% growth [OBR] - £2,054,777 m
    2020 UK GDP growth forecast - 1.3% growth [OBR] - £2,081,489 m
    2021 UK GDP growth forecast - 1.4% growth [OBR] - £2,110,630 m
    2019 2.50% of GDP - £51,369 m
    2020 2.75% of GDP - £57,241 m
    2020 3.00% of GDP - £63,319 m

    http://cdn.obr.uk/EFO-MaRch_2018.pdf - OBR Growth Forecast Page 52
    https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/gross...eries/abmi/qna - Using seasonally adjusted Q1 GDP as basis for growth figures.

    https://publications.parliament.uk/p.../818/81802.htm - Defence Select Committee Report on Defence Spending.

    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    While i do support the principal behind a substantial increase in defense expenditure, i shall have to reserve judgement on whether such an increase can be deemed affordable at this time.
    • Political Ambassador
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    Aye, for what we wish the military to do it is severely underfunded, the fact that the type 31e project has been put on hold on financial grounds despite only being a £1.25bn project says it all, the fact that we have a government so ideologically driven to have an immediate surplus at the expense of defence however is worrying.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    As I said in various private discussions prior to the release of this bill, which has apparently and unfortunately failed to persuade the Libertarians to at least try to reach a common ground, I do not see any good reason to support such a substantial increase because we need the funds elsewhere with much higher urgency. While the threat of a military invasion or whatever catastrophic scenario that requires such a vast defence budget might seem like an immediate danger to some, I'm much far more worried about the health, education, and well-being of our citizens who face issues that can be alleviated immediately with much less.

    Here's something I wrote before to support this position when the bill was introduced to me:

    Amongst NATO countries, the UK has already got the third highest defence budget relative to GDP at 2.1% (second highest in absolute numbers) and is one of only five countries which meet the 2% target set by NATO. At the same time, the UK has got around 300,000 homeless people, more than one fifth of its population living in relative poverty, poor projected GDP growth, and the highest national debt since 1970s at around 87%, which is projected to increase further, while facing potential economic instability as a result of Brexit.

    To me, this doesn't look like a good time to spend another billions of pounds on military that isn't needed and it would be even less needed if the British government enforced healthy immigration policy over the past 20 years and fought actual terrorism rather than sovereign foreign governments. The rationale given by the Commons Defence Select Committee seems to be nothing other than the old scaremongering akin to what preceded the invasion of Iraq and the very costly mess it's been since then. Much like the unfinished British imperialism of the past, the interventionist policies targeting the Middle East have created threats that could have been avoided had it not been for the arrogance and exploitation of foreign resources by western powers.

    While I haven't read the whole report, I've read enough to see that it centres around the usual scapegoats such as Russia or China. I've already written quite a lot on this topic here so I trust you know my position, but I'd like to reiterate that the reasoning is pathetic, unsubstantiated, and overly interventionist, and I can't help but compare it to how the seemingly trigger-happy US military officials including General MacArthur went over the line in the Korean War and advocated the use of nuclear weapons after having provoked the Chinese intervention. The issues of today require diplomatic solutions, not arrogant demonstrations of power, and I don't see how a major increase in our military budget would help achieve that, especially with the much more pressing issues I've outlined above in mind. The sooner the US and British governments accept that their sphere of influence won't span all over the world, the sooner we can move past our differences and help rather than control each other.

    In response to criticism which I won't quote because it wasn't shared with the public, I wrote the following:

    I don't see how what I'm saying is similar to giving up nuclear deterrence or asking allies to pledge their support and then dismantling the whole military, leaving us with nothing to contribute. On the contrary, I support the maintenance of strong nuclear deterrence and a military force capable of effectively dealing with medium-sized threats such as Islamic terrorism, piracy, or a bunch of cheeky Argentinians. However, that obviously doesn't require an increase in spending by one half, particularly in the context of our NATO membership which at least reportedly serves to protect a bunch of smaller countries with smaller militaries against big threats by sharing resources in the hour of need.

    I understand that projects such as the ones you listed take quite a while to complete but while the current military equipment might be too scarce given the demands of military officials, it isn't outdated and I'm not aware of any demanding next-generation projects being planned at the moment, perhaps with the exception of laser weapons and cyber warfare, but looking at the costs of the current contracts (including top-notch ones financed by DARPA in the US), you certainly don't need to increase the budget by £24 billion in three years! The whole DARPA operates with just £2.6 billion per year.

    Furthermore, if the investments wouldn't produce any major effect for the next decade or so, why does the report cite allegedly current threats and why is a military solution preferred to a diplomatic one?

    The main ‘security problems’ according to the report are:
    • the increasing threat posed by terrorism, extremism and instability;
    • the resurgence of state-based threats; and intensifying wider state competition;
    • the erosion of the rules-based international order, making it harder to build consensus and tackle global threats;
    • the impact of technology, especially cyber threats and wider technological developments;
    • the ongoing growth in serious and organised crime and its impact; and
    • diseases and natural hazards affecting the UK.

    Each of those can be addressed without burning through £64 billion per year. All it requires is a sensible foreign and immigration policy. Stop trying to control the world and telling other countries what to do, and focus on domestic issues.

    Finally, I'd take the report with a grain of salt given the trigger-happiness of military figures who usually prefer arrogant and forceful solutions to simple diplomatic problems, and heavy lobbying in ridiculously costly industries such as military research and development where billions can be lost without raising an eyebrow. For example, the F-35 program which you cited is currently $137 billion over budget and 7 years behind schedule, and it's preposterous to suggest that this hasn't been caused by corruption and is entirely normal and justified. As a layman without the necessary position and security clearance, I can hardly make my own assessment, but looking at other comparable countries such as Germany or France makes me believe that the situation is being overdramatised and that the current funds suffice.

    I'd be willing to support and propose a gradual increase of up to 2.5% in the next five years.
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    One would ask the Rt. Hon member above why a £1.25bn project requires £16bn funding increase. This government is committed to sound finances and sound defense investments.
    • Political Ambassador
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    (Original post by Rakas21)
    One would ask the Rt. Hon member above why a £1.25bn project requires £16bn funding increase. This government is committed to sound finances and sound defense investments.
    Because this is £1.25bn of pretty much essential spending, without it the frigate count drops from an inadequate 13 to an impotent 8, it is just one small thing, it is just the most obvious example of the funding shortfall. The less obvious while sticking within the Navy is that we have 4 what could be considered capital ships for the sake of fleets while only having the support vessels to properly support 2 of them, 3 if spread thin; the Army is at its smallest for nearly two centuries; and while air power hasn't declined as much as ground or naval over the last decade there has still been a modest decline in fighting aircraft and a significant reduction in supporting aircraft.

    It is a simple matter, funding goes up significantly or you give Gibraltar to the Spanish, Falklands to the Argentinians, let the Turks and Greeks fight for Cyprus and relegate us to, at most, a regional power that is reliant on the US to be able to do anything.
    • Political Ambassador
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    Privately not a single Tory was willing to answer the question of when they believe that we should have the capability to protect both our carriers independently so why not try in public and see if that pushes them to actually get off their arses for once:


    You've had a week to consider it so why not tell us when we should be capable of independently operating up to 4 battle groups without compromising other operations such as having to pull assets away from the Falklands?

    Currently we have the following:
    HMS Queen Elizabeth which will need a battle group
    HMS Albion, which should be able to operate with its own battle group
    HMS Bulwark, should be able to operate with its own battle group

    In a couple of years we will also have HMS Prince of Wales, which will require a CBG

    What we have to form these battle groups is:
    3 Astute Class SSNs (one more expected to be commissioned this year and 3 more under construction)
    3 Trafalgar Class SSNs (due for retirement over the next few years)
    6 Type 45s (Guided Missile Destroyers, and you'll be wanting to keep one of those in the vicinity of the Falklands)
    13 Type 23 Frigates (being retired over the next 18 years)
    Those Type 23s are currently planned to be replaced with 8 Type 26 frigates from the mid 20s along with half a dozen Type 31e frigates which will be vastly inferior

    To go with this you have the Royal Fleet Auxiliary which has the primary role of replenishing the rest of the fleet, they're just as important as your carriers and Amphibious launch platforms because its those tankers that make sure the fleet has the fuel, food, fresh water reserves, and ammo to stay out at sea
    You have 2 Tide Class tankers with 2 more coming later this year
    You have 2 Wave Class tankers
    You have 1 Fort Victoria Class vessel, which may not be with us for much longer anyway
    Finally 2 Fort Rosalie Class replenishment ships, these don't carry fuel and so would need to go along with one of the other types of ship

    Then you have the added complication of speed, a battle group can only go as fast as the slowest ship and with Tide barely going half the speed of the carriers it isn't practical to pair Tide with Elizabeth (not that they won't slow down the Albion Class led battle groups either)

    Given it's SoS Def's problem maybe they want to propose an answer EagleKingdom and I guess it's the PMs problem in a way too so let's hear his thoughts Life_peer
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    I don't often refer to The Guardian but I recommend everyone to read this commentary which pretty much reflects my position regardless of the technicalities.
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    As the Rt. Hon member is plainly aware timing is not at significant issue.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    I do, of course, support this bill however it is unfortunate that we could not reach a figure that is agreeable also to our Tory friends.

    I would urge both of our parties to unite behind this to achieve our long established goals of getting more funding for our armed forces - both parties agree that 2% is too little so we should not squander this opportunity to increase (with our combined parliamentary majority) over the technicality of the timeframe and the figure of the increase, otherwise our armed forces could remain perpetually underfunded if the Left and Centre regains the balance of power.
    • Community Assistant
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    22
    ReputationRep:
    Community Assistant
    Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Unsurprisingly I will be opposing this bill.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    My views haven't changed since I first saw this. No.
    • Community Assistant
    • Political Ambassador
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    Community Assistant
    Political Ambassador
    There is no need to raise our defence spending above the 2% and it would be crazy to do so in a time where our public services are reeling from the effects of austerity. I shall be voting No.
    Offline

    19
    ReputationRep:
    2.5% seems, to me, to be a sensible compromise.
    • Wiki Support Team
    • Political Ambassador
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    Wiki Support Team
    Political Ambassador
    (Original post by Life_peer)
    As I said in various private discussions prior to the release of this bill, which has apparently and unfortunately failed to persuade the Libertarians to at least try to reach a common ground, I do not see any good reason to support such a substantial increase because we need the funds elsewhere with much higher urgency. While the threat of a military invasion or whatever catastrophic scenario that requires such a vast defence budget might seem like an immediate danger to some, I'm much far more worried about the health, education, and well-being of our citizens who face issues that can be alleviated immediately with much less.

    Here's something I wrote before to support this position when the bill was introduced to me:

    Amongst NATO countries, the UK has already got the third highest defence budget relative to GDP at 2.1% (second highest in absolute numbers) and is one of only five countries which meet the 2% target set by NATO. At the same time, the UK has got around 300,000 homeless people, more than one fifth of its population living in relative poverty, poor projected GDP growth, and the highest national debt since 1970s at around 87%, which is projected to increase further, while facing potential economic instability as a result of Brexit.

    To me, this doesn't look like a good time to spend another billions of pounds on military that isn't needed and it would be even less needed if the British government enforced healthy immigration policy over the past 20 years and fought actual terrorism rather than sovereign foreign governments. The rationale given by the Commons Defence Select Committee seems to be nothing other than the old scaremongering akin to what preceded the invasion of Iraq and the very costly mess it's been since then. Much like the unfinished British imperialism of the past, the interventionist policies targeting the Middle East have created threats that could have been avoided had it not been for the arrogance and exploitation of foreign resources by western powers.

    While I haven't read the whole report, I've read enough to see that it centres around the usual scapegoats such as Russia or China. I've already written quite a lot on this topic here so I trust you know my position, but I'd like to reiterate that the reasoning is pathetic, unsubstantiated, and overly interventionist, and I can't help but compare it to how the seemingly trigger-happy US military officials including General MacArthur went over the line in the Korean War and advocated the use of nuclear weapons after having provoked the Chinese intervention. The issues of today require diplomatic solutions, not arrogant demonstrations of power, and I don't see how a major increase in our military budget would help achieve that, especially with the much more pressing issues I've outlined above in mind. The sooner the US and British governments accept that their sphere of influence won't span all over the world, the sooner we can move past our differences and help rather than control each other.

    In response to criticism which I won't quote because it wasn't shared with the public, I wrote the following:

    I don't see how what I'm saying is similar to giving up nuclear deterrence or asking allies to pledge their support and then dismantling the whole military, leaving us with nothing to contribute. On the contrary, I support the maintenance of strong nuclear deterrence and a military force capable of effectively dealing with medium-sized threats such as Islamic terrorism, piracy, or a bunch of cheeky Argentinians. However, that obviously doesn't require an increase in spending by one half, particularly in the context of our NATO membership which at least reportedly serves to protect a bunch of smaller countries with smaller militaries against big threats by sharing resources in the hour of need.

    I understand that projects such as the ones you listed take quite a while to complete but while the current military equipment might be too scarce given the demands of military officials, it isn't outdated and I'm not aware of any demanding next-generation projects being planned at the moment, perhaps with the exception of laser weapons and cyber warfare, but looking at the costs of the current contracts (including top-notch ones financed by DARPA in the US), you certainly don't need to increase the budget by £24 billion in three years! The whole DARPA operates with just £2.6 billion per year.

    Furthermore, if the investments wouldn't produce any major effect for the next decade or so, why does the report cite allegedly current threats and why is a military solution preferred to a diplomatic one?

    The main ‘security problems’ according to the report are:
    • the increasing threat posed by terrorism, extremism and instability;
    • the resurgence of state-based threats; and intensifying wider state competition;
    • the erosion of the rules-based international order, making it harder to build consensus and tackle global threats;
    • the impact of technology, especially cyber threats and wider technological developments;
    • the ongoing growth in serious and organised crime and its impact; and
    • diseases and natural hazards affecting the UK.

    Each of those can be addressed without burning through £64 billion per year. All it requires is a sensible foreign and immigration policy. Stop trying to control the world and telling other countries what to do, and focus on domestic issues.

    Finally, I'd take the report with a grain of salt given the trigger-happiness of military figures who usually prefer arrogant and forceful solutions to simple diplomatic problems, and heavy lobbying in ridiculously costly industries such as military research and development where billions can be lost without raising an eyebrow. For example, the F-35 program which you cited is currently $137 billion over budget and 7 years behind schedule, and it's preposterous to suggest that this hasn't been caused by corruption and is entirely normal and justified. As a layman without the necessary position and security clearance, I can hardly make my own assessment, but looking at other comparable countries such as Germany or France makes me believe that the situation is being overdramatised and that the current funds suffice.

    I'd be willing to support and propose a gradual increase of up to 2.5% in the next five years.
    Whilst I disagree with the Right Honourable Gentleman's final point on a gradual increase, I completely agree with most of the other points he has made. There is no way that this can be justified whilst the funds are desperately needed elsewhere
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    Well its of course going to be an aye from me, a very reasonable bill to protect british security
    • Political Ambassador
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    (Original post by PetrosAC)
    Whilst I disagree with the Right Honourable Gentleman's final point on a gradual increase, I completely agree with most of the other points he has made. There is no way that this can be justified whilst the funds are desperately needed elsewhere
    Pray tell where? Of the larger budgets there is only one that could realistically "benefit" from extra funds and that is the welfare budget, already bloated and something that you can expect even this so called "Conservative" government not to fund. It's also worth noting that the suggestion of 2.5% over 5 years is beyond token given the fact that already in 2018-19 the defence spending is at that level, it is a promise not to cut.

    (Original post by Rakas21)
    As the Rt. Hon member is plainly aware timing is not at significant issue.
    IS it the policy of this government to sell one or both of the Queen Elizabeth class carriers within the next few years, if it is not then I would invite the Rt Hon Gentleman to answer my question that neither the PM nor defence secretary seems capable of answering.
    • Political Ambassador
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    (Original post by Rakas21)
    One would ask the Rt. Hon member above why a £1.25bn project requires £16bn funding increase. This government is committed to sound finances and sound defense investments.
    It should be further noted that this £1.25bn cut is after a £4bn cut a number of years ago due to constrained budgets, the initial plan was for our 13 Type 23 frigates to be replaced by 13 type 26 frigates, 5 of which fell victim to cuts instead being replaced with the previously mentioned type 31e frigates which shouldn't really be called frigates at all as they are totally incapable of carrying out the primary role of a frigate.

    Further it is nowhere near at £16bn increase, nominally it is a £14bn increase which adjusted for forecasted inflation drops to a £10bn increase, a figure that you were actually willing to pay even before it was explained to you that capital heavy projects have real costs well below the ticket price due to taxation and employment through the supply chain.

    You preach sound finances and sound defence investment while refusing to ensure that our primary defence assets are actually able to be used, there is no bigger waste of money than £6bn of supercarrier with a further £2.5-5bn worth of aircraft onboard with a cost to man measured in the hundreds of millions a year stuck in port because it cannot be safely deployed all because we have a PM that does not wish to recognise legitimate threats purely because he wished to get in bed with Putin and Jinping.
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Though I am not going to be baited into a public debate on the issue the Rt. Hon member is well aware that if he agrees to guarantee the future of this nations infrastructure, to free the average person from the burden of taxation and to commit to fiscal conservatism then he can likely have his defense cake and eat it.
    • Political Ambassador
    Online

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Political Ambassador
    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Though I am not going to be baited into a public debate on the issue the Rt. Hon member is well aware that if he agrees to guarantee the future of this nations infrastructure, to free the average person from the burden of taxation and to commit to fiscal conservatism then he can likely have his defense cake and eat it.
    Tell me when you're offering that, while at it answer simple questions? Does our own chancellor not know what the RL departmental budgets are or the revenue implications of assorted policies? It seems that the chancellor doesn't even know that the ONS measures real GDP and not nominal GDP so I can't say I'd be surprised.

    It is a simple question: does the government intend on selling one of both Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers since you clearly have no intention on protecting them?
 
 
 
Turn on thread page Beta
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Updated: August 28, 2018
Poll
Which accompaniment is best?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.