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Defence Equipment Plan

Volume 635: debated on Wednesday 31 January 2018

I am pleased to place in the Library of the House this year’s financial summary of the defence equipment plan. This is the sixth consecutive annual publication of the equipment plan summary, and demonstrates the Ministry of Defence’s investment and the need to continue progress in driving improvements, reform and efficiency, with a plan to spend £180 billion on equipment and support over the decade out to 2026-27 which will provide our armed forces with the capability they need.

The Government remain committed to the defence budget increasing by 0.5% above inflation each year and the Department is focusing on where best to invest across the entire defence programme in order to remain on top of an ever-changing and increasing threat environment. However, it was evident following the 2016 annual planning cycle that both uncertainty and risk had increased in the equipment plan. It did not, unfortunately, prove possible to address these issues satisfactorily in the 2017 annual budget cycle (ABC17) as a result of which, the equipment plan emerging from ABC17 contains a high level of financial risk and an imbalance between cost and budget.

These risks have informed the Department’s work on the national security capability review and associated work in the 2018 annual budget cycle. The Department recently launched the modernising defence programme. We aim to use this work to deliver better military capability and value for money in a sustainable and affordable way, and to ensure that defence capabilities complement other national security capabilities in the most effective way.