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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

UK Budget an Opportunity for Sleepwalking UK Government to Get Serious on Defence

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The Spring Budget offers the “sleepwalking” UK government an opportunity to “finally get serious” on defence, the SNP has said.

Highlighting the Ministry of Defence’s £17 billion equipment blackhole, the party’s defence spokesperson, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP, warned the UK government have been failing to take rising threats to our allies’ security seriously.

Mr Docherty-Hughes also claimed the UK government’s priorities are askew, with an estimated £205 billion in costs for the UK’s nuclear weapons stockpiles taking precedence over much-needed conventional equipment and capabilities. 

Cuts in recent years to the UK’s defence budget have also seen the armed forces shrink, with infantry numbers at their lowest levels in hundreds of years.

Commenting, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said: 

“The Spring Budget offers this sleepwalking UK government an opportunity to finally get serious on defence.

“However, whether they take it remains to be seen.

“The UK government has so far refused to take growing threats to our allies’ security seriously, and the Ministry of Defence’s enormous £17 billion equipment black hole is just the tip of the iceberg.

“Sweeping cuts have also seen infantry numbers slashed to their lowest levels in hundreds of years – these are not the actions of a government preparing for a more unstable and unpredictable world.

“If we’ve learned anything from the rising threat level in light of the war in Ukraine and trouble in the Middle East, it’s that we should be bolstering our defence capabilities, not cutting them.

“All this is made even more scandalous by the £205 billion wasted by the UK government on weapons of mass destruction that will continue to sit and gather dust unless the UK has plans to indiscriminately wipe out entire populations.

“That’s money that could be invested in our out of date and worryingly small supply of conventional equipment and capabilities, but instead Westminster’s preference is weapons of mass destruction.

“Scotland is a nation that stands ready to take our collective defence seriously, but our unique needs have been ignored and hindered for too long by successive Labour and Tory governments whose priorities have been askew.

“Only a vote for the SNP can ensure Scotland’s values are represented and our unique defence needs are met.”

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