Budget: No extra funds for MoD, Royal Navy, Army and RAF as Jeremy Hunt silent on immediate military spending

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Military spending will not be increased in the short term as the government prioritises funds elsewhere.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a variety of measures in the Conservative Party's latest budget - speaking in the House of Commons for over an hour. It was mooted last week that no immediate funding boost was expected despite tensions rising worldwide in the Red Sea amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The bitter war in Ukraine following Russia's invasion has also reached its third year. Defence secretary Grant Shapps previously said the government plans to raise to eventually raise the UK's defence spending commitment to 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street, London, with his ministerial box before delivering his Budget in the Houses of Parliament. Picture date: Wednesday March 6, 2024. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street, London, with his ministerial box before delivering his Budget in the Houses of Parliament. Picture date: Wednesday March 6, 2024. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street, London, with his ministerial box before delivering his Budget in the Houses of Parliament. Picture date: Wednesday March 6, 2024. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire | Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer slammed the Conservative budget and said it was a last-ditch effort by a party that has "failed". Pictured is the Labour leader on Wednesday February 28, 2024. Picture: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA WireLabour leader Sir Keir Starmer slammed the Conservative budget and said it was a last-ditch effort by a party that has "failed". Pictured is the Labour leader on Wednesday February 28, 2024. Picture: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer slammed the Conservative budget and said it was a last-ditch effort by a party that has "failed". Pictured is the Labour leader on Wednesday February 28, 2024. Picture: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire | House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Speaking in parliament today (March 6), Mr Hunt said those plans are still in place but will only be put forward when circumstances allow. His message echoed previous statements by prime minister Rishi Sunak despite a raft of calls to increase immediate spending. Funds are being sent to Ukraine for military aid.

Mr Hunt said: “We are providing more military support to Ukraine than nearly any other country and our spending will rise to 2.5 per cent as soon as economic conditions allow.” The majority of the budget was centred around personal taxes and cuts to national insurance. Personal taxes are set to be slashed to their lowest rates for almost 50 years ahead of this year's general election.

The chancellor confirmed a 2p cut in national insurance for employees and the self-employed as the centrepiece of the budget. Mr Hunt also offered more help with child benefits to parents earning more than £50,000 and cut the top rate of capital gains tax on property sales – arguing that reducing it from 28 per cent to 24 per cent would bring in more money because of increased activity.

But as he insisted that those with the “broadest shoulders” would pay more, he committed to scrapping the non-dom status for wealthy foreigners, putting the £2.7 billion a year raised as a result towards tax cuts. The national insurance cut from April will be worth an average £450 for workers and £350 for the self-employed.

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When combined with a previous reduction which came into effect in January it will be worth £900 for 27 million workers and £650 for two million self-employed. Mr Hunt said: “That means the average earner in the UK now has the lowest effective personal tax rate since 1975 and one that is lower than in America, France, Germany or any G7 country.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer branded the budget "the last desperate act of a party that has failed” in a highly-charged and rowdy House of Commons. He added: "here we have it, the last desperate act of a party that has failed. Britain in recession, the national credit card maxed out, and despite the measures today, the highest tax burden for 70 years.

“The first Parliament since records began to see living standards fall, confirmed by this budget today. That is their record, it is still their record, give with one hand and take even more with the other, and nothing they do between now and the election will change that.”

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