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By Christina Georgaki
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On the defensive- examining the parties’ policies on defence

Dods Monitoring | Dods Monitoring

2 min read Partner content

With a week to go until the election, Dods Monitoring policy specialist Roxana Cimpeanu takes a closer look at the parties’ positions on defence. 

Defence reform has featured heavily on the Coalition Government’s agenda, with the Defence Reform Act receiving Royal Assent in May last year.

The Conservatives have praised themselves for turning the defence deficit into a “balanced budget” whilst still meeting the NATO’s target of spending two per cent of GDP on defence.

This came at a price however, as control procurement programmes such as Nimrod have been cancelled and tough decisions were made on the size of the armed forces.

Despite the UK hosting the NATO summit in 2014 and President Obama calling for the UK to maintain the NATO target of two percent of GDP on defence spending, only UKIP has committed to do so in their manifesto.

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On Trident, the Conservatives have committed to a like-for-like replacement and continuous at sea deterrence (CASD), Labour have promised a minimum, independent, credible deterrent delivered through CASD, whilst the Liberal Democrats would like to see the submarine force reduced.

The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens would scrap it altogether, whilst UKIP would like it renewed.

UKIP has positioned itself as the party on defence, having already committed to the two per cent NATO target and made a number of promises to veterans, including the creation of a Minister for Veterans which would be attached to the Cabinet Office.

The defence budget will remain a challenge for any government as the Ministry of Defence will have to contribute to the deficit reduction and further savings are likely to be called for.

The situation in Ukraine, ISIS, and emerging problems in Africa are likely to play a role in influencing the next Strategic Defence and Security Review. These are developments that have changed the nature of warfare and foreign policy: whoever will be in power will need to take into account the challenges that lie ahead and the need for a reactive defence budget.

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The Dods Monitoring team have produced sector specific summaries of the party manifestos: click here to receive your free copy. 

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