World Media

Hydrogen specialists surge on Boris Johnson"s 10-point green recovery plans"

Hydrogen specialists surge on Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson pledged to "end budget-cutting now" as he announced a £16.5 billion ($22 billion) increase in defence spending and the creation of a cyber force and a space command. Johnson told lawmakers Thursday that the four-year financial package for the Ministry of Defense will "end the era of retreat" and pivot ting it towards potential future threats.

With another 1.5 billion pounds (about 2.0 billion dollars) investment in military research and development, Britain will establish a new center dedicated to Artificial Intelligence and a new Space Command capable of launching the country's first rocket in 2022, Johnson said.

"Our national security in 20 years' time will depend on decisions we take today", the prime minister told the Commons via videolink, as he continues to self-isolate in Downing Street.

These new commitments backed by government funding send a clear signal to industries across the British economy to invest in the United Kingdom, which is why today the Prime Minister will host a virtual roundtable with green investors to set out his ambitious plan and incentivise further private sector investment.

- Restoring the UK's position as the "foremost naval power in Europe", including the deployment of aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and East Asia next year.

With perhaps an eye on his future relationship with United States president-elect Joe Biden, the prime minister hailed how the UK would now be investing more than any other European country in defence projects and more than any other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, other than America.

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer welcomed the investment in Britain's military as top priority, but criticised Johnson for announcing more spending without a strategy.

The British warships and combat vehicles are planned to carry "directed energy weapons" to hit targets with "inexhaustible lasers".

In an address given remotely because he came into contact with someone who subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus, the prime minister said the armed forces will receive $21 billion over and above the government's earlier plan. It represents roughly a 10 percent increase, the country's largest military investment since the end of the Cold War.

The prime minister came under pressure from Conservative ex-cabinet ministers Andrew Mitchell and Jeremy Hunt to resist cutting the UK's foreign aid spending in order to help pay for the new defence commitments.

The government has already rolled the department overseeing overseas aid into the Foreign Office and some in government have argued for a reduction in aid spending from 0.7 per cent of the country's national income gross to 0.5 per cent, which would equate to billions of pounds.

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

"This statement is about our defence and security, and there is no read across to any other issue", he added.