§ Lord Shinwell
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the 3 per cent. annual increase in the cost of defence undertaken by NATO is to be continued, and to what extent this is to be supplemented by contributions from other countries concerned.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Armed Forces (Lord Trefgarne)
Defence budget plans announced today in the 1985 Public Expenditure White Paper (Cmnd. 9428) confirm the Government's decision last year that its commitment to real growth in defence expenditure, in line with the NATO aim of 3 per cent. increases, would not be extended beyond 1985–86. At that stage, United Kingdom defence spending will be some one-fifth higher in real terms than in 1978–79, as the result of an unprecedented period of sustained growth. It is for each individual NATO member to determine its defence expenditure in the light of NATO guidance as well as other factors. We currently spend more in absolute terms andper capita than any of our European allies and the proportion of GDP that we devote to defence is among the highest in the alliance.