London, November 19
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out the biggest programme of investment in British defence since the end of the Cold War in Parliament on Thursday, pumping in an extra 4 billion pounds a year over the next four years.
Addressing the House of Commons via videolink, he said the move will “end the era of retreat, transform our armed forces and bolster our global influence”.
The Opposition Labour Party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said he welcomed more defence spending but questioned how it would be funded and asked whether the money would be raised through tax rises.
The mega investment plan will fund space and cyber defence projects and is expected to create thousands of new jobs, Downing Street said.
A new agency dedicated to Artificial Intelligence, the creation of a National Cyber Force and a new “Space Command”, capable of launching our first rocket in 2022, are among the areas for the investment focus.
“I have taken this decision in the teeth of the pandemic because the defence of the realm must come first,” Johnson said.
“The international situation is more perilous and competitive than at any time since the Cold War and Britain must be true to our history and stand alongside our allies,” he said. — PTI