The Labour Party Manifesto was released on 13 June 2024, as the campaign to form the next government goes into its final weeks. With a considerable and long-lasting lead in the polls, Labour have played a safe game, moving towards the centre-ground and avoiding any surprise policies that could upset the chances of a major electoral victory. 

For Defence, the launch of the Labour party manifesto has followed the same initiative. Much of the language on national security and the defence industry holds with policies set forth by the Party on 3 June, including a pathway to spending 2.5% of GDP on the defence budget. 

This target is likely to have the greatest impact of any defence policy in the manifesto, and matches ambitions held by the other major parties. The increase is also in line with a proposals for a new Nato defence spending target of 2.5%, a level that is popular with Allies in the Baltic region who are keen to deter Russian aggression. 

Labour’s pledge is singular in that it dos not set a date for when it will be completed. Meeting Labour’s spending commitments is broadly based on increasing growth and balancing the budget without a new tax burden, so arranging an increase in defence spending is likely to pivot on the strength of the economy in the next few years.

Labour’s Nato-test touted to cut MoD deficit

However, some defence policies have much firmer timelines ahead. GlobalData understands that Labour will make the pledge to introduce a ‘Nato-test’ for major defence programmes as a part of its first 100 day efforts, singling it out for early attention. 

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Policies introduced in this period often enjoy a swifter passage through parliament, aided by the elevated popularity of an incoming government and a level of disorganisation among the ranks of the opposition. 

Departments within government vie for such early attention, and policies put forward in the first 100 days will have been selected because they possess a combination of two qualities: being central to the new government’s outlook for the country, and contentious enough that pushing them later on would prove too difficult. 

Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary John Healy has raised the issue of a Nato-test before, in the context of Ministry of Defence (MoD) deficits across its major budgets, stating that the MoD would be the first department subject to Labour’s new Office for Value for Money. 

Any test that cuts MoD deficits is likely to be subtractive. A Nato-test that performs this duty might be expected to cut costly programmes that do not directly support the UK’s obligations to Nato. 

How such a test is is implemented is likely to balance on the findings of the next Strategic Review – another Labour Party Manifesto commitment and the UK’s third Strategic Review in five years, intended to be conducted in Labour’s first year in office.