FORMER Defence Minister and Ludlow MP Philip Dunne has welcomed an extra £24bn of investment in national security – the largest boost to the UK’s defence budget in the last 30 years.

The Prime Minister confirmed plans to increase the defence budget by an extra £24.1 billion over the next four years. This both delivers and surpasses the government’s manifesto commitment to exceed the NATO defence spending target of 2 per cent of GDP - by providing an extra £16.5 billion in funding above the 2019 commitment.

The funding will mean the UK has the largest defence budget in Europe, and the second largest budget in NATO, after the United States, with the UK spending 2.2 per cent of GDP on defence.

This increase in spending will allow creation of 10,000 new jobs a year in the defence and security sectors, with investment in cutting edge technology to position the UK as a leader in cyber, space and shipbuilding.

“Defence is the first duty of government, and with this announcement the government has strongly signalled its intent to remain an outward looking nation on whom our allies can depend," said Mr Dunne, who served as a Minister in the Ministry of Defence for four years.

"I welcomed this material increase in defence funding during the Prime Minister’s statement to the House of Commons and he agreed this will have a significant impact on defence’s contribution to UK prosperity.

"I made clear in my Report for the Defence Secretary back in July 2018, there is real scope to invest in defence capabilities to enhance the UK’s prosperity.

"So this multi-year investment in new cutting edge technology, will help modernise the Equipment Plan and get it back on track to help overcome risks emerging from a stop and start procurement.

"At a time of great global uncertainty, I am very pleased the government is standing by our Armed Forces and ensuring UK capability for years to come.”