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Armed Forces: Urgent Operational Requirements

Volume 709: debated on Tuesday 24 March 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the annual amount spent on urgent operational requirements by the Ministry of Defence in each year since 2002–03; in each case, how much of that amount was funded from the Ministry of Defence budget and how much was funded from HM Treasury's contingency reserve. [HL1901]

The approval cost of urgent operational requirements (UOR) per year is shown in the table below:

Financial Year

Approval cost


£500 million


£180 million


£130 million


£260 million


£790 million


£1,550 million


£800 million

For FY2008-09, the figure given is the anticipated approval for the financial year, noting that the financial year is not yet complete.

UOR figures are collated as approvals rather than expenditure; the answer is therefore couched in those terms. We do not have robust information on previous UOR expenditure, because these figures have not been collated centrally.

UORs are normally funded from the reserve and not subject to repayment. There are however occasions when an urgent capability will also bring long-term benefit to the MoD, and it is therefore appropriate for the MoD to contribute to the cost of the UOR. Equally, existing funded programmes in the MoD's forward equipment plan may be brought forward for urgent operational reasons, and if reserve funding is provided to meet the urgent requirement, it may be subject to repayment.

Exact proportions of any cost-share will vary according to the particular projects and final costs and are not held centrally. An exact breakdown of costs to the MoD and the reserve for all UORs could only be provided at disproportionate cost.