£7bn equipment funding black hole for MoD
The Public Accounts Committee has revealed that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has a funding black hole of at least £7 billion in its 10-year plan to equip the UK's armed forces.
MPs, who claims that the government does not have a ‘coherent and credible’ funding plan, warned in its report that the MoD lacked the ability to ‘accurately cost programmes’ and that the shortfall could reach £14.8 billion by 2028.
The department intends to spend in excess of £180 billion on new warships, submarines, jets and armoured vehicles over the next decade, but has been labelled ‘a repeat offender’ when it came to poor financial planning. Therefore, the Public Accounts Committee has demanded more information on the risks associated with major projects, including the purchase of F-35 stealth jets and Type 31e frigates.
Meg Hillier, chair of the committee, said: “In terms of poor financial planning, the Ministry of Defence is a repeat offender. The Department’s progress with addressing the concerns set out in our last report on the Defence Equipment Plan has been woeful. The MoD simply cannot afford everything it says it needs and it is not acceptable for officials to continue deferring decisions that have a bearing on its current affordability gap and longer-term risks.
“A department that is unwilling or unable to take the action required to help it live within its means is failing taxpayers, who rightly expect government to deliver the best possible value for their money. We urge the MoD to act on our recommendations now, work with the Treasury to ensure its funding and planning models are fit for purpose, and bring some much-needed clarity to its priorities and costs.”