SPAIN’S Defence Minister has said the government plans to boost defence spending by 73% by 2024.

Maria Dolores de Cospedal’s announcement means the total defence budget will increase to €18 billion.

Cospedal said the increase was in line with the governments plans to increase military spending to ‘around 1.53 percent of GDP’ as it currently spends €10.4 billion, according to AFP figures.

But opposition MPs say social services will suffer as a result of the increase.

Socialist Partido Popular lawmaker Ana Botella said defence spending was increasing at a time when austerity measures imposed from the 2007 crash had weakened social services.

“Spanish families’ daily lives are marked by hardship and precarity,” she said.