Britain announces its largest military investment since the Cold War

Hydrogen specialists surge on Boris Johnson

Johnson is self-isolating after coming into contact with an MP who has since tested positive for coronavirus.

After formally leaving the European Union in January, it will end the 11-month Brexit transition period at the end of the year and begin a new era in global trade and relations.

He outlined plans on Thursday for a new space command, an artificial intelligence agency and said the navy would be restored as Europe's most powerful.

The widely trailed move to bring forward the phase out of petrol and diesel cars comes in the wake of guidance from the government's advisory Committee on Climate Change which said it should be implemented by 2032 at the latest.

Britain's main opposition Labour's Party said the increase was long overdue after the ruling Conservative government had cut the size of the armed forces by a quarter in the last decade.

"Based on our assessment of the worldwide 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. And while the United Kingdom was deeply involved in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, its armed forces have faced further budget cuts in the past decade as successive Conservative governments clamped down on spending to get the public finances into shape after the global financial crisis.

"My 10-point plan will create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050", Johnson said in a statement ahead of publishing the full blueprint.

He also said Britain will "establish a new world-leading industry in carbon capture and storage", backed by £1bn of state investment, while a £1bn energy innovation fund "will help commercialise new low-carbon technologies" and City of London will be transformed into "the global centre for green finance" through a sovereign bond, carbon offset markets and disclosure requirements.

Political leaders from across the political spectrum gave a guarded welcome to the prime minister's announcement.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the deal is "enough" for the armed forces to be modernized but refused to be drawn on whether some of the new money will come from the country's overseas aid budget. Some in government have argued for a reduction in the commitment to maintain aid spending at 0.7% of national income to 0.5%, which could free up billions of dollars for use elsewhere.

These and other new projects will create up to 10,000 jobs, the government said.

The UK auto industry already manufactures a significant proportion of electric vehicles in Europe, including one of the most popular models in the world.

Sir Keir also questioned how the increased defence spending will be paid for, asking whether it would be funded by extra borrowing, tax rises or a squeeze on other government departments.

Mr Johnson told MPs that the UK's defence budget had been "trimmed and cheese-pared" for decades and that he had "decided that the era of cutting our defence budget must end, and it ends now".



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