Tri-Service

Military chief 'confident' defence is being recognised ahead of Autumn Statement

The head of the UK Armed Forces says he is "confident" defence is being recognised ahead of the Government's Autumn Statement.

Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said he believes the budget will take into account the Ukraine war and its implications for the UK, adding he has spoken to both Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt is expected to announce cuts to public spending and tax rises on Thursday.

"Both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor recognise the seriousness of this situation, the financial pressure is partly caused by the security crisis in south-east Europe and that we need to keep addressing both aspects, the financial aspects and the security crisis... both in the short term and the longer term," Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said.

"The seriousness and the richness of the conversations that you would expect to be happening are happening, I am confident in the way that our position is being recognised."

Watch: Defence Secretary Ben Wallace wants to see defence "get its fair share" of Government cash.

The Armed Forces chief also told the BBC's Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg that "continued investment" in defence is needed, adding the UK is living in both "serious" economic and security times.

He told the BBC programme: "We need continued investment. And that's continued investment over the long term.

"I welcome the conversations we can have with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor and accompanying the Defence Secretary.

"These are incredibly serious times. They're serious economic times, but they're also serious security times with a war in Europe. Both of those have to be dealt with.

"When you look at the security aspect, these are long-term threats and they require long-term investment."

It was put to Admiral Radakin that it sounded like he was trying to say the long-term budgets for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) must not be cut.

He replied: "For the ambition of the Government to be met, we need to maintain that investment, and the Defence Secretary has been very clear about that.

"I think the Government's been very clear about its own ambition to respond to the threats that are out there and to have a stronger defence."

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has called for an increase in defence spending, recently saying defence must get its "fair share" despite the current "difficult economic time".

The Prime Minister has not pledged to spend 3% of the UK's GDP on defence, something his predecessor Liz Truss had promised.

Mr Sunak previously described Ms Truss' promise as "arbitrary" but vowed he would never "short-change" the Armed Forces.