UK treasury reportedly admits 'no more money' for defense
The British Treasury stated that it will not be able to devote funding to raise the UK's defense budget.
A senior US general reportedly told UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace last month that the British army was no longer considered a top-level fighting force.
According to unnamed defense sources quoted by Sky News, the UK Treasury has no additional funds for the nation's defense despite admitting the urgent need to rearm in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
The UK will not provide as many troops as the other NATO members desire for the alliance's key new military structure, which is intended to reinforce its defenses, they also said.
Insiders revealed that Downing Street had already been urged to increase the defense budget by a minimum of £3 billion ($3.6 billion) a year and halt plans to decrease the size of the UK army.
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The sources added that they know “at the moment the Treasury and the chancellor [Jeremy Hunt] are playing hardball.”
“They recognize the threats. They recognize the pressure defense is under from inflation, the nuclear deterrent, stockpiles and Ukraine. But despite recognizing the threats and the pressure, they say there is no more money”, according to the insiders.
Regarding the new force model for NATO, they stated that the alliance as a whole anticipates having more than 300,000 military members.
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As part of a significant restructuring of NATO's capacity "to defend itself and deter threats" in the wake of the war in Ukraine, the new force will be entrusted with maintaining a significantly greater level of readiness.
The sources asserted that rather than a division of up to 30,000 soldiers or even more, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will only be able to "credibly" dispatch a brigade of 5,000–10,000 soldiers supported by weaponry, armored vehicles, and helicopters.
“Other nations will be offering divisions or corps. They can say that with confidence because they have now made the investment. For the UK, not only have we not made those investments - and there is no sign the chancellor will - but we are actually cutting the army,” one source pointed out.
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Plans from the Defense Ministry call for a reduction of the army's 82,000 full-time soldiers to 73,000.
The allegations follow last week's disclosure in a UK publication that the British army had handed all of its remaining heavy weapons to Ukraine.
All of the UK’s 30 serviceable AS-90 self-propelled artillery guns have been sent to Kiev, according to the newspaper. "The decision to give them away has stripped two Royal Artillery regiments, based on Salisbury Plain, Wilts, of all their working weapons. If gunners don’t have guns we can’t fight, we can’t train,” an unnamed defense source added to The Sun.
The British government last month announced intentions to send 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks (MBTs) to Kiev along with ammunition, logistical assistance, training, and training. Soon after, both Germany and the US signaled their preparedness to send their MBTs, the Leopard 2 and M1 Abrams, to Ukraine.