British defence spending to rise by more than 1 billion pounds, the Telegraph reports

The Britain's national flag flies next to the Elizabeth Tower, commonly known as Big Ben, on national day of reflection to mark the two year anniversary of the United Kingdom going into national lockdown, in London, Britain, March 23, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

LONDON, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Britain will increase defence spending by more than 1 billion pounds ($1.21 billion) to avoid a real-terms cut over the next two years, the Telegraph newspaper reported on Saturday.

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 pounds from 48.6 billion to avoid a real-terms cut as inflation remains above 10%.

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

"We have one of the largest defence budgets in Europe and in 2020 we announced the biggest increase to defence 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.

($1 = 0.8293 pounds)

Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar

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