Scope of the inquiry
The Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) equipment and support programmes are essential for ensuring the UK’s Armed Forces have the equipment they need to meet their objectives. In 2012, following a period of poor financial management, the MoD introduced a 10-year Equipment Plan to encourage a longer-term perspective and greater cost certainty. Since then, it has published an annual statement outlining its expected equipment and support expenditure over the following ten years.
However, a recent report by the National Audit Office has found that the Department’s Equipment Plan remains unaffordable, with forecast costs exceeding budgets by £7 billion over the next 10 years. Moreover, the Committee’s report in May 2018 was also concerned that the MoD lacked cost control, had reverted to previous poor practices, and that the Plan was simply not realistic. Although the Government agreed with all the Committee’s recommendations, it has made limited progress in implementing some of them.
The Committee will question representatives from the MoD on how it plans to address its affordability gap across the 10-year equipment and support plan. It will also ask the MoD on plans to further improve its understanding, accuracy and the transparency of its forecast costs and assessment of affordability. Members may also wish to ask about the broader implications of the MoD’s decisions to manage affordability challenges in the short-term.