Lord Sheikh asked Her Majesty’s Government:
- In light of the increase in the United Kingdom’s military commitments, why defence spending as a proportion of gross domestic product has fallen1 Oct 2007 : Column WA193from 2.9 per cent in 1997 to 2.5 per cent in April 2007; and whether they will revise the Strategic Defence Review to match these commitments. [HL4942]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Drayson): Compared with 1997-98, the defence budget in 2007-08 is some 8 per cent higher in real terms. However, GDP has increased by 32 per cent between 1997 Q2 and 2007 Q2, allowing increased defence spending in real terms, while remaining broadly constant as a percentage of GDP.
We review our long-term defence policy on a regular basis. The White Papers Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter2002 (Cm 5566) and Delivering Security in a Changing World: Defence White Paper 2003 (Cm 6041-I) reaffirmed the challenges and requirements identified in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review White Paper(Cm 3999) and our current analysis continues to support this policy.