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Defence Equipment Plan: NAO Report

Volume 687: debated on Thursday 21 January 2021

What the planned timescale is for a response by the Government to the NAO report findings on the Ministry of Defence's equipment plan 2020 to 2030, published on 12 January 2021. (911093)

The National Audit Office produced an important report examining the Ministry of Defence’s assessment of the affordability of the equipment plan for 2020 to 2030 and the management of equipment expenditure. It is the latest annual update on the financial pressures that the Ministry of Defence faces in developing its military capabilities. The Government will respond to the expected Public Accounts Committee report on the subject after it is published.

In its devastating report, the NAO finds that the equipment plan

“remains unaffordable for the fourth successive year”,

that the budget gap is between £7 billion and £17 billion and that the MOD

“continues to make over-optimistic and inconsistent judgements when forecasting costs.”

What specific parliamentary scrutiny would my hon. Friend encourage to force the Government to address these very serious issues?

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his assiduous following of this issue. He asked me about this issue in September last year, after the National Audit Office report on Carrier Strike. We now have the new report, “The Equipment Plan 2020-2030”, published on 12 January, and I am pleased to tell him that the Public Accounts Committee will be taking evidence on that report on 4 February. I would also be happy to draw his interest in this matter to the attention of the Chair of the PAC, the hon. Member for Hackney South and Shoreditch (Meg Hillier).