Meanwhile former head of the Navy lashes out at defence cutbacks
David Cameron has announced an additional £2bn spending package for UK forces in a bid to tackle Isis in the wake of the Paris terror atrocities.
The money will go towards the special forces, drones and fighter aircraft capable of hitting ground targets.
The extra £2bn in military spending will mean that the UK’s budget over this parliament will remain at 2% of GDP, in line with Nato’s target.
The new focus on drones and special forces is a significant departure from the government’s previous large-scale military spending plans, which, in 2010 saw the government confirm plans for two huge aircraft carriers.
Meanwhile, the former head of the Navy, Lord Alan West, has described the last five years of government cut-backs to defence as a “national disgrace”. His comments come ahead of George Osborne’s national spending review next week.
Speaking to Portsmouth newspaper The News, Lord West said: “In five years since 2010 there has been a 30% reduction in military capability. So when one looks at the navy, the impact is that they put off the aircraft carriers and got rid of the Harriers – which was a disgrace.
“They had just been upgraded and were perfectly fit for purpose in Libya and Iraq. They were better than the Tornadoes or Typhoons.”
Cameron also announced major changes to the overseas aid budget with half of the £12bn now set to go to failed states and fragile developing countries.
Speaking about the changes to the aid budget, Cameron said it would be changed to make it “even more fundamentally part of our strategy to keep this country safe”, and would focus on “stabilising and supporting broken and fragile states”.