Defence commitee voices concerns over MoD’s ability to save £7bn

At risk? Type 26 frigates
At risk? Type 26 frigates
Royal Navy Cadets at the naming ceremony for HMS Trent

New Royal Navy offshore patrol vessel named HMS Trent

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PLANS for new warships, planes and armoured vehicles could be put at risk because of concerns about the Ministry of Defence’s ability to find more than £7bn in savings, a parliamentary committee has warned.

MPs on the Commons Defence Committee said they ‘seriously doubt’ the MoD’s ability to make the necessary savings as it had proved incapable of doing so in the past.

The committee’s Tory chairman, Julian Lewis, said: ‘It is extremely doubtful that the MoD can generate even more efficiencies from within its already stretched budget on the scale required to deliver its equipment plan.

‘This will inevitably lead either to a reduction in the numbers of ships, aircraft and vehicles or to even greater delays in their acquisition.’

The £178bn plan set out in 2016 involves spending over 10 years on equipment including eight Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy, new mechanised infantry vehicles and nine Boeing P-8A maritime patrol aircraft.

But it rests on finding £7.3bn of efficiency savings, on top of £7.1bn previously announced, and the MPs warned about the MoD’s ability to deliver.

An MoD spokesman said: ‘In the face of intensifying threats, our £178bn equipment plan continues to deliver the cutting-edge kit to keep the UK safe.

‘As we told the Commons Defence Committee, we are making good progress towards our efficiency target.’