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UK defence spending as share of GDP falls despite Russia’s war in Ukraine

New figures from NATO reveal that the UK’s defense spending was lower than 2021, despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Only seven countries, including Britain, met the minimum threshold of allocating at most 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP), to their armed forces by 2022. This is a decrease of one nation over the previous year.

Jens Stoltenberg NATO secretary General said that the pace at which we are increasing defense spending isn’t fast enough. My message to allies: I appreciate what they have done, but they need speed up and deliver more.

We must invest more in defense because we live in a more dangerous world.


He spoke at a NATO headquarters news conference in Brussels to celebrate the publication of the annual report. It included the most recent defence expenditure numbers.

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They showed that the UK’s defense spending was 2.16% of its GDP in 2022, compared to 2.25% in the previous year.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak announced last week that defence spending will reach 2.25% by 2025. He also announced an additional PS5bn in funding for the Armed Forces over the next two-years.

He set a goal to raise the level to 2.5%, but he didn’t commit to a time frame.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was also non-committal in the spring budget. He stated that it would be done “as soon fiscal and economic conditions allow”.

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PS11bn will be added to the defense budget

Despite the decline in GDP share, the UK is still one of the few countries within the NATO 30-strong alliance that has met the NATO minimum spending pledge.

Stoltenberg stated that the alliance had hoped to have two more allies cross that threshold at 2%, but they failed to do so because of faster GDP growth than anticipated.

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He didn’t specify which countries he meant.

The eight-year-old increase in defense spending by allies has been noted by NATO Chief, who added that “it is evident that we need more and need to get it done faster.”


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