November 28th, 2007


(no subject)

Recently, some former chiefs of defence staff criticized the government over a what they see as low levels of military spending. The argument seems to be based at least partly on percentage GDP spent; which is much lower than Cold War levels. The government's response is that there is a sustainted"real terms" increase in military spending. According to SIPRI UK military spending when measured in constant 2005 US dollars was cut between the end of the Cold War and 1999, and has since increased to nearly Cold War levels. However, the UK economy has grown substantially in that time, and military spending is now 2.5% of the GDP rather than 4.1% in the earliest SIPRI data (1988), or a claimed 5% in 1982.

Measured by offical exchange rates, the UK military spending is second only to the US in the world. By PPP it is fifth in the world, after the US, China, India and Russia. (See this for details of spending and this for a discussion of PPP for measuring military spending).

In other statistics, many people are pleased that UK Official Development Assistance has increased to about 0.5% GNI, and by 2008/09 may meet the 0.7% target set by the UN.

So, some polls:

Should changes in military spending be considered

as a percentage of GDP/GNI
as an absolute figure (allowing for inflation)

Should changes in ODA be considered

as a percentage of GDP/GNI
as an absolute figure (allowing for inflation)

Should the UK continue to attempt to be a significant global military power (with the spending that entails)?


Should UK military spending as a percentage of GDP/GNI

Greatly increase (to >4%) (similar to US and Russia)
Slightly increase (to >3%) (similar to India and Pakistan)
Stay about the same (between 2-3%) (as it is now, similar to France)
Decrease somewhat (to <2%) (similar to Norway or Italy)
Greatly decrease (to <1%) (similar to Ireland)
Set to zero (as Iceland)

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