Michael Fallon says Britain should boost Nato spending over ‘intensifying threats’
Michael Fallon has said the Government should pledge to increase Britain’s contributions to Nato from its current level at 2% of GDP.
The Defence Secretary said with security threats on the rise ministers should “aim to do better” and go beyond that required of member states.
An official assessment by the alliance last year found the UK to be just one of five countries in the 28-member group to meet the 2% target.
Mr Fallon’s surprise intervention came ahead of his speech to the Conservative Party conference, where he announced a £1bn support deal for the Royal Navy.
The minister would not attach a figure to the proposed increase in Nato funding, which comes just weeks ahead of the Chancellor's budget.
Speaking to Sky News, he insisted he has the full support of Theresa May on the issue and that upping the UK’s contributions would ensure the country had adequate resources to fight terror.
“The budget goes up each year and we meet the Nato commitment of 2%, but that’s a minimum commitment so we should aim now to do better than that. The threats to our country are intensifying,” he said.
“The 2% commitment by Nato members, we meet it at the moment, we’ve also committed to increasing the budget ahead of inflation each year, but we are reviewing now the threats to our country which have intensified in the last couple of years, so we do need to be sure that we have the resources that we need and we should aim to do better.”
He added: “The Prime Minister is 100% on my page. She understands very well the threats to this country and she has been rock solid in helping us to address them.”
Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith said it was "pretty galling" for Mr Fallon to talk about going beyond the 2% commitment when the Government is "barely scraping over the line at present".
"Indeed they can only claim to be doing so by counting items, such as pensions, that do not contribute to our defence capabilities and which Labour did not include when in Government.
“Labour is fully committed to spending at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence as we consistently did when in government. If Sir Michael Fallon is serious about putting more money on the table, he should act immediately to give our Armed Forces the real terms pay rise that they have been so cruelly robbed of since 2010.”