The Conservative Party has officially released its manifesto for the upcoming general election.
The party's key defence pledges:
Defence spending will be increased by at least 0.5% more than inflation every year, the Conservatives have pledged.
The party's manifesto committed to meeting the NATO target of spending at least 2% of GDP on defence, stating that the country has a "responsibility to sustain our fine Armed Forces so that they can defend the realm, our overseas territories and our interests around the globe".
It promised to "maintain the overall size of the Armed Forces" with an Army capable of "fielding a war-fighting division", and to expand its global reach.
This was confirmed to Forces News by Michael Fallon, who said there were no plans for cuts in the size of the Army, and that the size of the Armed Forces would be maintained:
The party also pledged to "protect" Armed Forces personnel from "persistent legal claims" which "cost the taxpayer millions".
It said it would invest £178 billion in new military equipment over the next 10 years, and promised to complete the Astute-class of hunter-killer submarines.
The party said the investment will be the largest programme provided to the Armed Forces for generations.
The manifesto outlines plans to help veterans starting new careers, by introducing a one-year holiday on employer national insurance contributions "for firms hiring service personnel after they leave service".
It will also ensure "that the skills and qualifications they gained in service are recognised by civilian employers" and "maintain and strengthen the Armed Forces Covenant".
The document sets out plans to "improve the co-ordination" of government services - such as housing and mental health - to veterans by introducing a Veterans Board in the Cabinet Office.
The party further promises to continue to provide "strong support to an international order in which rules govern state conduct".
The Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru launched their manifestos earlier this week, while SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was in South Queensferry to mark a decade of her party being in government.
Cover picture courtesy of Twitter/Conservative Party.