def070516 - No.50

Session 2006-07, 16 May 2007

Publication of Special Report


LEVEL OF FUTURE GOVERNMENT FUNDING OF DEFENCE RESEARCH REMAINS UNCERTAIN

In the face of criticism that a failure to increase investment in defence research would impact on the UK’s future defence capability, the MoD acknowledges that it needs to maintain an “appropriate level” of investment in defence research, but does not quantify how much. Today sees the publication of the Government’s response to a report published in March by the House of Commons Defence Committee into the work of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and the funding of defence research,

The Committee’s report had highlighted concerns about the widening gap between the UK and US spending on defence research. The Government response states that “the future levels of MoD research spend will be reviewed in, and in the light of the outcome of, the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007”.

The Committee’s report acknowledged the vital work provided by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), particularly in supporting UK operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Government Response assures the Committee that the cost of research in support of current operations is funded from the Treasury Reserve, and not from the core budget, so it does not impact on the funds available for long-term research.

The Rt Hon James Arbuthnot, Chairman of the Defence Committee, says “I welcome the Government’s Response to our report, but it is disappointing that the Response does not set out how much the Government plans to invest in defence research in the future to ensure that our Armed Forces do not lose their capability advantage and fighting edge. The future level of MoD spending on defence research will not be known until the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007. This is an issue which the Committee plans to monitor closely in the future”.

The Tenth Special Report of Session 2006-07, The work of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the funding of defence research: Government Response to the Committee’s Eighth Report of Session 2006-07, HC 512, is published on Wednesday 16 May 2007).

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. The Committee’s report is available at

http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/defence_committee/defence_committee_reports_and_publications.cfm

3. News Release: No. 50

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