General Lord Richard Dannatt said Russian aggression in Ukraine means that recent cuts to funding for the armed forces need to be reversed.
He told GB News: “We’ve probably taken too much risk with our land warfare capability and what we’re now seeing and what the Russians are doing has exposed us to the extent that we can’t really match that type of capability, the sort of capability that the Russians are showing.
“So, there’s a very strong case to say we need to increase our defence budget by about ten billion pounds a year.”
Speaking on Breakfast with Eamonn and Isabel Dannatt said defence funding needs to be boosted by 20 per cent and called for a reversal in cuts to the numbers of land forces and tanks.
In 1990 the UK had 150,000 Army personnel and 1,200 battle tanks – we now have 82,500 soldiers and 227 tanks.
Under current plans those numbers will reduce further by 2025 to 72,500 troops and 148 tanks.
Lord Dannatt added that defence procurement costs could be minimised by buying off the shelf equipment.
“It’s very good for British industry to design our own equipment but sometimes if there’s an urgency about it, we ought to look to see what is there probably on the American market and consider holding our nose and buying foreign as opposed to building it ourselves.”