Ministry of Defence: Major Project Report 2012: Chair's statement

10 January 2013

A statement from The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts:

Yet again, the MoD’s annual report card on its 16 largest defence projects has found unacceptable cost increases and delays, making it harder for the Ministry to deliver today’s capability needs and close tomorrow’s capability gaps. In the last twelve months, costs have swollen by £468 million and delivery dates have been pushed back 139 months - more than 11 years. These latest overruns mean that since these 16 projects were approved their total cost has ballooned by £6.6 billion, with delays of an unbelievable 39 years.

In one particularly shocking instance, delays to the delivery of the £32 million Falcon communications system intended for use in Afghanistan mean it now will not even be deployed. Uncertainties around costs make it harder for the Ministry to address looming capability gaps, such as in air transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft.

My committee will be taking evidence from the Ministry later this month and we will want to know what action is underway to finally get a grip on spiralling costs and delays. The Ministry will also need to demonstrate to us how it intends to strike a better balance between delivering the capability it requires and the taxpayer funds it has available.

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