UK military given £16.5bn boost for cyber security

Additional funding for the UK Defence Ministry will help position the UK as a global leader in cyber, space and naval security. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Boris Johnson commits to increase Britain’s influence with ‘once-in-a-generation modernisation of armed forces’

UK prime Minister Boris Johnson has approved a multi-year investment of £16.5 billion in the military to boost cyber, space security and naval power.

Mr Johnson announced an increase in defence spending of about £24 billion over the next four years to MPs. That figure is £16.5 billion above the government’s original manifesto commitment. 

This represents the largest funding boost to the UK military in 30 years. It will also cement the UK’s position as the largest defence spender in Europe and the second largest in Nato.

The additional funding will position the UK as a global leader in cyber and space security. Mr Johnson said: “Extending British influence requires a once-in-a-generation modernisation of our armed forces” and that the emerging technologies of warfare, “will make the returns from defence investment infinitely greater”.

As part of the advancement, a new National Cyber Force will be created as well as a centre dedicated to artificial intelligence. Mr Johnson claimed that the investment will safeguard existing defence jobs and create 10,000 additional ones each year, 40,000 in total.  

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “This is excellent news for defence, and provides us with the financial certainty we need to modernise, plan for the future and adapt to the threats we face.” Wallace also said that more details of Ministry of Defence plans will be released in the next few months.

Members of the public criticised the policy on Twitter, pointing out that the government refused to fund free school meals over half term.

“So the government were unable to find the money to feed starving kids but are able to find £4million a year for Johnson’s space army?” one wrote.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer asked whether the government intended to fund the new investments through increased taxes or spending cuts elsewhere. Mr Johnson did not respond.

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