65% of the 1,519 Conservative Party members who took part in the April survey of ConservativeHome readers said that defence was deserving of a higher proportion of public spending. In contrast only 30% want education and 22% wanted health to receive a bigger share of public funding. Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox welcomed the findings:
"This is entirely in line with the Conservative instinct that defence of our people must be the number one priority for government. It’s also true that the current Government doesn’t understand that."
We also gave respondents the opportunity to identify other areas where government spending might be increased. Housing and border security were the most frequently mentioned additional causes. Other causes included: support for the family, prison-building, investment in renewable and nuclear energy, fairness for rural Britain and international emergency disaster relief.
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne recently announced a tough process for confirming any increases in public spending. At the beginning of March he made it clear that "no policy proposals with implications for public spending are Conservative Party policy until they have been approved by me and by David Cameron, passed by the Shadow Cabinet, and appear in our draft manifesto."