UK defence budget could be at least £5.2 billion short

The UK’s military capability is ‘at real risk’ as the government has underestimated the cost of acquiring weapons, warn a group of influential MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee said that the cost of the Ministry of Defence’s 10-year equipment plan could be understated by at least £5.2 billion.

They also said that they are not confident that the UK the Ministry of Defence will be able to achieve efficiency savings of £4.1 billion.

ministry of defence

UK defence budget could be £5.2 billion short.

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said:

“We welcome the progress the Ministry of Defence has made in getting to grips with its budget and military equipment costs, but real risks remain to the affordability of its 10-year equipment plan.”

“The department admits that the costs of its £163 billion plan could be understated by at least £5.2 billion – a figure that could grow as it develops a better understanding of the support costs involved.”

“If this turns out to be the case, the department’s contingency of £4.6 billion will not be sufficient and the department would need to draw on funds it has set aside to deliver other military capabilities.”


“While the Department was confident that it could deliver the planned £1 billion savings from the submarine programme, it was less certain about whether it can deliver the £1 billion savings required from the budgets for complex weapons such as guided air-to-air and anti-ship missiles.”

“We are not confident that the department can deliver all the efficiency savings required from its equipment budgets. £800 million of the £4.1 billion savings required has yet to be identified.”

She added:

“Ironically, DE&S is planning to spend £250 million over the next three-and-a-half years on contractors to advise on how it can reduce its over-reliance on contractors,”

Source: “Committee reports on defence equipment and major projects” –