Devizes MP Danny Kruger has called on the Government to commit to increasing the size of the British Army.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday (Monday), Mr Kruger told Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace MP: “We need a bigger army, not a smaller one”.
The call came ahead of a debate in Parliament on the 2023 Integrated Review Refresh, after the Prime Minister confirmed £5 billion investment in defence and a new long-term military spending ambition for the Government, in an update to the 2021 Integrated Review.
The 2023 Integrated Review Refresh confirms that the additional £5 billion will be provided to the Ministry of Defence over the next two years, to help replenish and bolster vital ammunition stocks, modernise the UK’s nuclear enterprise and fund the next phase of the AUKUS submarine programme. It follows a £24 billion four-year cash uplift in defence spending in 2020, the largest sustained increase since the Cold War.
Mr Kruger thanked the Government for committing £2 billion to resupply the British Army with munitions and equipment which have been sent to support the Ukrainian war effort, but asked what must be done to convince the Treasury to commit spending to increasing the numbers of troops. He told the House: “We must do more than simply resupply the armed forces, we need a bigger army not a smaller one.”
He said: “The commitment to resupply kit we have sent to Ukraine is great, but the army is still shrinking in manpower. The 2021 Integrated Review set a target for the army to be reduced to 72,500 by 2025, in stark contrast to the previous goal of 2015 to increase it to 82,000 personnel. I appreciate the investment in and focus on the army’s capability, utility and deployability, but firmly believe we need a bigger army.”
Mr Kruger also welcomed further investment into service family accommodation, which he said would be “very welcome to [his] constituents in Tidworth, Bulford and Larkhill”.