March 13, 2023

Growing the economy by protecting security

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a massive £5 billion boost to defence spending to meet the challenges of an increasingly volatile international situation.

The 2023 Integrated Review Refresh [IR23] confirms that an additional £5 billion will be provided 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.

This increase follows a £24 billion four-year cash uplift in defence spending in 2020, the largest sustained increase since the Cold War. The Prime Minister also set out an ambition to increase defence spending to 2.5% of GDP in the longer term so the nation’s security and prosperity are guaranteed in times yet to come.

Within NATO, the core of European security, the UK will continue to provide leadership to shape NATO’s posture and allocate the burden of maintaining security fairly across all its members. Moreover, the IR23 commitments will be reviewed again in 2025, demonstrating how committed the Conservatives are to maintaining our security on an ongoing basis.


Challenges to economic growth

We must tackle the existential threat to security in Europe posed by Russia, in light of their barbaric, illegal invasion of Ukraine; and we will tackle it through all means at our disposal to ensure that Moscow gains no benefit from it.

We are strengthening the UK’s approach to China, with greater national security protections in areas where China’s actions pose a threat and doubling funding to build China capabilities across government. This extra funding to build China capabilities will allow us to understand China better and enable us to engage confidently where it is in our interests to do so. Aligned with our allies, we will engage directly with China bilaterally and in international fora so that we leave room for constructive and predictable relations.

Growing the economy by backing economic security

Specific measures introduced by IR23 include:

  • Creating the National Protective Security Authority, providing immediate expertise from the security services to businesses and other organisations which require advice.

  • Establishing the Economic Deterrence Initiative, bolstering the efficacy of sanctions against oligarchs and human rights abusers.

  • Doubling funding for a government-wide China Capabilities programme, supporting all government functions to deal with China including training in Mandarin and Chinese diplomacy.

  • Developing a College for National Security curriculum, rolling out national security capabilities across government.

  • Setting up a new Integrated Security Fund worth £1 billion, implementing IR23 objectives including economic security, cyber security, counter-terrorism and human rights safeguarding.

  • Refreshing the Critical Minerals Strategy, ensuring the UK has access to all the raw materials needed to build the advanced tools of the future.

  • Boosting the BBC World Service with an extra £20m in funding, to counter disinformation by rogue states; 42 language services will be supported.

Commenting, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

As the world becomes more volatile and competition between states becomes more intense, the UK must be ready to stand our ground.
By investing in our armed forces for the long-term, we will be ready for the challenges of today and of the future. As I will discuss with our American and Australian allies in the US today, the UK will remain a leading contributor to NATO and a reliable international partner, standing up for our values from Ukraine to the South China Seas.
We have seen all too clearly in the last year how global crises impact us at home, with Russia’s appalling invasion of Ukraine driving up energy and food prices. We will fortify our national defences, from economic security to technology supply chains and intelligence expertise, to ensure we are never again vulnerable to the actions of a hostile power.


The Conservatives are delivering on your priorities: growing the economy by investing in all measures needed to protect it going forwards, regardless of emerging threats.