Def061207 - No.08

Session 2006-07, 7 December 2006

Publication of Report


DEFENCE COMMITTEE REPORT HIGHLIGHTS COSTS OF MILITARY OPERATIONS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN

The Government has requested £1,400 million to fund the costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan this financial year, says a report by the House of Commons Defence Committee published today (Third Report, Session 2006-07, Costs of Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan: Winter Supplementary Estimate 2006-07, HC 129).

The report gives a detailed breakdown of the estimated costs of these operations this year (which total £860 million for Iraq and £540 million for Afghanistan), but points out that the Ministry of Defence is likely to need to request additional funds in the Spring. It expresses some concern about the manner in which the MoD seeks parliamentary approval for the costs of operations.

The Committee also analyses the outturn costs of these operations, and the peacekeeping operations in the Balkans, for the financial year 2005-06.

And it draws attention to higher than anticipated retention problems in the Royal Marines, which have led the MoD to ask the House of Commons to increase the permitted maximum of Reservists.

The Rt Hon James Arbuthnot, Chairman of the Defence Committee, says "We accept that it is hard to know in advance exactly how much military operations will cost, and it is important that the Ministry of Defence should have the flexibility to respond to urgent needs as they arise. But, in our view, the Ministry of Defence should provide Parliament with its estimates of the costs of all its operations and activities at the beginning of the financial year€”in the same way as every other Department does€”and revise them as necessary later in the year."

The report is published at 11:00 on 7th December 2006. Embargoed copies will not be issued in advance.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. Committee Membership is as follows: Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP (Chairman), Mr David S Borrow MP, Mr David Crausby MP, Linda Gilroy MP, Mr David Hamilton MP, Mr Mike Hancock MP, Mr Dai Havard MP, Mr Adam Holloway MP, Mr Bernard Jenkin MP, Mr Brian Jenkins MP, Mr Kevan Jones MP, Robert Key MP, Willie Rennie MP, John Smith MP

2. News Release: No. 08

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