zanahoria wrote: ↑22 Dec 2021, 18:49
Putting the “blame Brexit” nature of the article to one side, just the effect of the pandemic on the economy must push it into a slowdown, if not outright negative, territory.
UK governments, regardless of political persuasion, rarely increase defence spending. My feeling is that in the current climate they are even less likely to do so.
I would have said that the "blame Brexit" nature of the article is it's entire reason for being written
Unfortunately, I can't find the figures that the article quotes on the OBR website (I'm not saying that they didn't say it, just that it I can't find it). However, the OBR, the IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies,) and pretty much every independent forecaster does say similar things about the UK economy and it prospects for the immediate future (i.e. return to pre-COVID levels by the end of this year/ Q1 2022, followed by strong growth over 2022, then falls back to the marginally higher than normal levels of growth of 1.9% for 2023 through to 2025. In the long term (50 years), the UK is expected to stay as a G10 economy, but with some other current G10 economies being pushed out by up-and-coming E7 economies (India and China amongst them). If you have a look at the IFS website, there is a graph of UK real GDP from 2008 onwards, which shows no discernible fall in GDP between 2016 and the start of the pandemic in late 2019/ early 2020, putting the article's claim in some doubt.
One significant issue that the OBR does point to, however, is that the Government's tax take has increased by some £50b per annum as a result of recent tax changes, with £30b earmarked for additional spending and £20b for debt repayment - the deficit is also falling as Covid-related costs start to fall. Of the $30b earmarked for spending, around £18b is hypothecated on the NHS catch-up and future Social Care plan, with around £12b being available for other spending. Adding just one billion a year to acquisition of new equipment (i.e £350m pa for the RN) could improve the naval build rate (maybe allowing the build of an additional T26 and T31 within the currently planned timeframes) and improve T31 equipment levels. Similar programme accelerations could be achieved in the other two services.
However, as you say, UK Governments tend towards "bread and circuses" spending, rather than the essentials of national preservation.
Perhaps they need a refresher course on the consequences of failing to attend to the state of the "legions".
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.