Britain announces its largest military investment since the Cold War

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Outlining the first conclusions from a big review of foreign policy and defence, he announced an extra 16.5 billion pounds ($A29.9 billion) for the military over the next four years.

"The era of cutting our defence budget must end, and it ends now", Johnson told Parliament via video conference from Downing Street, where he is self-isolating having recently come into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.

The UK, as one of the leading military powers in the European Union, has always been the main ally of the United States in the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars.

The military spending announcement comes a week after Johnson promised U.S. president-elect Joe Biden that Britain was determined to remain a valuable military ally. China, on the other hand, possesses an unstoppable economic and military force, while President Donald Trump's has cast doubt on USA support for traditional allies.

"This is the government saying just because we have Brexit it doesn't mean we are not a strong alliance player and punching above our weight as we have done for decades", Chalmers told Reuters. "Their commitment to increased defense funding should be a message to all free nations that the most capable among us can - and must - do more to counter emerging threats to our shared freedoms and security", acting Pentagon chief Christopher C. Miller said in a statement Wednesday.

The government said the increase will cement Britain's position as the largest defence spender in Europe and second-largest in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

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Half of the participants in Pfizer's trial received two doses of the study vaccine and half received two shots of saline. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the EU could move quickly too - by the end of the year.

Scotland will host the rocket launches and much of a new programme of naval shipbuilding, Johnson said, as he pushes back against a resurgent campaign for independence by the Scottish National Party.

Johnson wouldn't say directly whether the government is set to abandon other financial commitments, but his comments appeared to signal a change in approach at the very least.

The extra spending of £16.5 billion ($22 billion) over four years was welcomed by Donald Trump's outgoing United States administration and comes as Johnson bids to build bridges to the incoming presidency of Democrat Joe Biden.

"We can all be proud of our record on overseas aid and that will continue, but it's also by investing in armed services that you can do some of the greatest things for the poorest and neediest people around the world", he said.

"I was responsible for this budget in Whitehall, and there is no doubt that this decision will lead to tens of thousands of otherwise preventable deaths - perhaps as many as 100,000, mainly children, whose lives would have been saved by United Kingdom aid".

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