United Kingdom announces largest military investment since Cold War

The 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom arrives at the British territory of Gibraltar on Friday Feb. 9 2018

The military spending announcement comes a week after Johnson promised USA president-elect Joe Biden that Britain was determined to remain a valuable military ally.

The prime minister said the deadline is needed to meet legally binding climate targets the government has set.

"Based on our assessment of the global situation and our foreign policy goals, I have decided that the era of cutting our defense budget must end, and it ends now", he said.

Downing Street has hailed the biggest programme of investment in British defence since the end of the Cold War, which it said will also see the creation of 40,000 jobs.

The British government's military investment comes amid backlash, including from within Johnson's ruling Conservative Party, over its plans to cut the foreign aid budget from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent of gross national income.

"This will spur a renaissance of British shipbuilding across the UK".

Political leaders from across the political spectrum gave a guarded welcome to the prime minister's announcement. Johnson, who is grappling with Europe's most deadly COVID-19 crisis, Brexit trade negotiations, and the departure of his most senior adviser, wants to underscore his green credentials as part of what he hopes will be a reset for his government.

There has been speculation the aid budget will be slashed from 0.7% of national income to 0.5% in next week's spending review as Whitehall is forced to tighten its belt in response to the economic damage caused by coronavirus.

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Johnson had said in February his government would aim to end such sales by 2035, but will now only allow the sale of hybrid vehicles until that year.

"We can all be proud of our record on overseas aid and that will continue, but it's also by investing in armed services that you can do some of the greatest things for the poorest and neediest people around the world", he said.

Sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be phased out by 2030, Boris Johnson has confirmed as he set out his 10-point plan for a "green industrial revolution".

"Cutting the aid budget whilst finding the money for bombs is mind-boggling", said Romilly Greenhill, the United Kingdom director of worldwide nonprofit organization One Campaign.

Johnson is to tell lawmakers remotely, because he is self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus, that the armed forces will receive an additional 16.5 billion pounds ($21 billion) over and above the government's current plans.

BRITAIN'S auto industry faces a "cliff-edge" target to meet Boris Johnson's ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in ten years' time.

Johnson's new pledge, which amounts to about £4 billion per year, will swell the defense budget by over 10%.

"Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future".

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