Defence Expenditure (NATO Target) Bill

Part of Prayers – in the House of Commons at 2:22 pm on 9 January 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley 2:22, 9 January 2015

I do not support the Bill, because I do not believe any spending should be hypothecated in the way my hon. Friend Mr Chope is seeking to do. I understand his motives for introducing the Bill, and I certainly think that all those people who trooped into the Lobby to vote for our 0.7% target on overseas aid because it was an international commitment, albeit one made in 1970, should—if they are so bothered about international commitments—all be trooping into the Lobby to support this Bill, too. I do not see why one is so important and the other one is not, and I shall be interested to find out why people should think that is so.

I do not believe that spending should by hypothecated, but the point I wish to make is this: if we look at the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts for the next few years, we see that the spending of every Department as a proportion of GDP will decrease, apart from the spending on overseas aid. That applies to health, education and everything else. There is a 2% target for defence, but the OBR says that by the end of the next Parliament—unless my hon. Friend’s Bill is accepted—defence spending will be down to 1.5% of GDP. I do not believe in hypothecated spending, but that amount of money is far too low and the Government need to address the situation. If it takes my hon. Friend’s Bill to do it, fair enough, but I would rather we did not have any hypothecated spending at all.