Defence Expenditure

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th February 2001.

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Photo of Dr Alan Williams Dr Alan Williams Labour, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr 12:00 am, 12th February 2001

How much total expenditure on defence was as a percentage of gross domestic product in the last financial year. [148231]

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

Over the last year defence spending has represented 2.4 per cent. of gross domestic product.

Photo of Dr Alan Williams Dr Alan Williams Labour, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

Will my hon. Friend confirm that defence expenditure, though rising as a percentage of gross domestic product, is much lower than it was in the mid 1980s, thanks to the peace dividend? Will he also confirm that a higher proportion of that spending is now spent on peacekeeping than on offensive capability?

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

These issues are not so easily divisible. The ability to undertake high-intensity war fighting also produces the forces that have been able to react rapidly throughout the world, very professionally, to bring peace and stability to many areas—to Kosovo, to Sierra Leone and elsewhere. That is all part of the overall capability of our armed forces.