British defense spending to rise by more than $1.21 bln: Media

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Britain will increase defence spending by more than £1 billion ($1.21 billion) to avoid a real-terms cut over the next two years, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Saturday.

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Finance minister Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce the increase in his budget in the spring, it said.

The newspaper said military experts estimate that the Ministry of Defence budget in 2024/25 must rise to £50.1 billion from £48.6 billion to avoid a real-terms cut as inflation remains above 10 percent.

Hunt, in his autumn budget last month, said the government recognized the need to increase defense spending and confirmed it would maintain the budget at least 2 percent of gross domestic product in line with its commitment to transatlantic alliance NATO.

“We have one of the largest defense budgets in Europe and in 2020 we announced the biggest increase to defense spending since the Cold War,” a government spokesperson told Reuters.

Any increases to defence spending will be considered as part of the next integrated review, a document laying out Britain's defence, security and foreign policy priorities, in the spring, the spokesperson added.

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