Government announces record £25bn spend last year on defence industry…

But it’s all too little, too late, as we have warned for years

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2024

Facts4EU reports on defence expenditure, our current weaknesses, and the EU’s failures

On Thursday (08 Feb 2024) the Government published a statement and statistics showing that its spending with defence contractors had increased to £25bn in the last year – a record sum – and that overall defence spending by the MoD is now at £50bn per year.

In today’s report we analyse the data and look at the positives and negatives of the latest announcement.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

UK annual defence spending on contractors, in £’s billions, adjusted for inflation

  • 2013/14 : £23.3
  • 2014/15 : £23.3
  • 2015/16 : £22.7
  • 2016/17 : £22.0
  • 2017/18 : £22.0
  • 2018/19 : £22.0
  • 2019/20 : £22.6
  • 2020/21 : £21.5
  • 2021/22 : £23.2
  • 2022/23 : £25.0

[Source : Ministry of Defence, 09 Feb 2024.]

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2024 - click to enlarge

Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps said:

“As threats increase across the globe, it’s crucial that investment in our Armed Forces matches that picture.

“That’s why we’re spending more than £50 billion annually on helping equip our military with cutting-edge capabilities, so they can continue to protect our freedoms around the clock.

“These statistics demonstrate how all parts of the UK are playing their part in that crucial work, delivering through our fantastic defence industry and boosting local prosperity.”

The United Kingdom’s record on defence is SO much better than the EU’s

Before we look at the UK’s defence spending, we should point out that for years we have highlighted how the UK in this critical area has been the shining beacon in Europe.

In comparative terms, the EU’s contribution to its own defence has been pitiful. Without the US and the UK, Europe would have been in a very sorry state if it came to defending itself against aggressors.

Spending on defence in Western Europe

As we have reported on many occasions over the years, the United Kingdom has been the mainstay for defence within Western Europe for decades. The UK has spent far more than any EU nation, including Germany which has an economy much larger than that of the United Kingdom.

In the example below we have singled out expenditure on military equipment, as this was the subject of the MoD's statement.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Percentage of total defence spend on equipment – 2014-2022 average

  • United Kingdom : 23.5%
  • Germany : 14.8%

[Source: NATO defence expenditure data released 21 Mar 2023.]

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2024 - click to enlarge

In the last nine years the UK has devoted proportionately almost 60% more than Germany to its defence equipment budget.

What about Germany, where Ursula von der Leyen was Defence Secretary for so many years?

Sadly, Germany’s record on defence has been somewhat disappointing, to put it mildly. Above we have shown Germany’s underspend on defence equipment compared to the NATO minimum.

From Germany sending soldiers to NATO exercises with broomsticks due to a shortage of rifles, to most of its jet fighters being unserviceable, to tanks unable to be driven, it is not surprising that Ms von der Leyen was lambasted in the German press for being the worst-performing minister in Angela Merkel’s government, before she was parachuted into her current role in Brussels.

In our next reports we will go into this in more detail.

Spending on defence takes years to take effect

Putting the EU’s failings to one side, it is a simple fact that spending on defence takes years to have an effect on a country’s military capabilities. Thursday’s report from the MoD might be welcome but any increase in expenditure is not like turning on a tap.

Increased production of tanks, missiles, drones, ammunition, ships and aeroplanes, and the recruitment and training of military personnel does not happen overnight.

This is why for the last eight years of its existence Facts4EU has argued strongly for a minimum doubling of defence expenditure to 4% of GDP. We also argued that business people should be brought in to replace the grossly inefficient procurement heads in the MoD, to ensure that projects are delivered on time and on budget.

In Parts II and III – The EU’s appalling appeasement policies and the hypocrisy over the Tucker Carlson interview of Putin


We live in an increasingly dangerous world. This was most amply demonstrated 10 years ago, way back in 2014, when Putin’s Russia illegally invaded and annexed Crimea – a sovereign part of Ukraine.

Western governments can hardly say they were not warned. The UK responded, as we shall reveal, while the EU stood idly by.

We now face multiple threats. In Parts II and III of this report we will look at the controversy over the Tucker Carlson interview of Putin. We will also review the EU’s policies of appeasing dictatorial regimes over many years. In addition we will look at the threats from Iran, the Houthis, Hezbollah, plus the growing threats in the South China Sea from President Xi-Jinping.

These are all key issues which will directly affect the livelihoods and safety of the British people and the fortunes of the newly-independent United Kingdom.

We must get reports like this out there

Reports like the one above take far longer to research, write and produce than many people realise. If they were easy, readers would see other organisations also producing these daily. However, there’s little point in the Facts4EU.Org team working long hours, seven days-a-week, if we lack the resources to promote them effectively – to the public, to MPs, and to the media. This is where you come in, dear reader.

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[ Sources: Ministry of Defence | NATO ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Sat 10 Feb 2024

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