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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace responds to £16.5 billion Ministry of Defence financial deal

The UK military is set to get its biggest spending boost in 30 years as Boris Johnson is expected to unveil a four year financial deal for the Ministry of Defence. 

The Prime Minister is set to invest £16.5 billion into the armed forces.

The move is aimed at transforming the military with the promise of cutting edge capabilities in cyber and space.

Having been joined by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, Susanna Reid asked him how the government were able to invest so much money when it struggled to find money to help businesses in the north of England and feed hungry children.

Explaining that the amount needs to be put in "perspective", Mr Wallace said: "We’re getting £16.5 billion over four years. We’ve spent £200 billion on Covid measures ranging from support to business, support to people through Universal Credit. There’s the difference. £16.5 billion over four years, £200 billion in under a year in supporting through Covid."

"This is partly because what you see right now across the country is the United Kingdom armed forces providing the resilience that is helping this country get through Covid. Our armed forces aren’t static. They are there to do a job which is to obviously defend the nation and to make sure we are planning the future from our adversaries who are currently investing record sums of money and indeed in some areas overtaking our capabilities."

"You have to value them with money, you can’t just say things as a nation. We have to invest in them, in their training and their equipment because if we don’t they end up using equipment that is outmatched," he added.

On the subject of Christmas and the reports that the UK could go into a 25 day lockdown in January in order for people to gather over the Christmas period, Mr Wallace was asked if he supported the loosening of restrictions around Christmas.

Explaining that the decision won't be made until the current lockdown ends, Mr Wallace said: "On the December 2 when we’re going to come out of lockdown, we will make those decisions as best and informed as possible then. I know people want to plan for Christmas now but I genuinely believe that we are midway through this lockdown. We need to make sure we’re evidence informed when it comes to the big decisions about what we do around Christmas and our intent is trying to get people together for Christmas. How we do that is obviously about the evidence that we will come to government around the 2nd December because we don’t know the full impact of the lockdown right now."

"If we don’t take correct measures at any stage of the year whether that’s at Christmas or any other time, the consequences could be severe when it comes to hospital admissions and deaths. We know about Covid. It is highly infectious. It spreads very quickly...This should not be about short term events, it should be about trying to get on top of it and protecting those people that if the virus strikes, it could see them very quickly go into hospital."

Watch the full interview above.

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