Whitehall watchdog hits out at '˜unaffordable' defence plan

FEARS have been raised that the budget to pay for new warships, jets and other military equipment is at risk of becoming '˜unaffordable', a Commons spending watchdog has warned.

Wednesday, 26th April 2017, 5:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:51 pm

The cross-party Commons Public Accounts Committee said it was ‘very concerned’ about the UK’s £178bn defence equipment plan for the next 10 years.

It warned that in the coming years the impact of the fall in the value of the pound against the US dollar could increase the cost of programmes, with the F-35b fighter jet and P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft ‘particularly vulnerable to exchange rate fluctuations’.

And MPs criticised the Type 26 warship programme, saying failure by the MoD to agree a ‘workable way forward’ with the main contractor ‘has compromised maritime capability and placed further upward pressure on costs’.

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The MPs said: ‘We are very concerned that the Ministry of Defence’s equipment plan is at greater risk of becoming unaffordable than at any time since its inception in 2012.’

The MoD says it is committed to delivering its £178bn defence programme by 2026.