def070301 - No.33

Session 2006-07, 1 March 2007

Publication of Report

Publication of Report


A failure to increase investment in defence research will impact on the UK's future defence capability, says the House of Commons Defence Committee in a report published today (Eighth Report of Session 2006-07, The work of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the Funding of defence research, HC 84).

The Committee reports its concern that the gap between the UK and the US in defence research spending is widening and that the UK will also fall behind other nations which are increasing their investment in defence research.

UK operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are having an impact on defence research. The Committee acknowledges that support for these operations is the priority, but says that the MoD must not make reductions in the funding of longer-term defence research to fund these operations.

In its report the Committee examines the work of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), which provides vital support to military operations and is regarded as a world authority in many fields of defence research. The MPs note Dstl's successful performance against its targets but says there could be benefit in Dstl operating in a more competitive environment. The Committee also calls on Dstl to draw on outside project management expertise to monitor the progress of its major change programme - which is rationalising its sites at a cost of some £92 million.

Commenting on the report, Committee Chairman Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP said "The Government's own analysis has shown that military advantage depends on the Research and Development investment made over the previous 25 years. The UK's defence research is currently amongst the best in the world, but this is at risk. If the UK continues to fall behind other countries in defence research spending, our armed forces will lose their capability advantage and fighting edge. The Government cannot just rely on industry to fund research, but must itself invest for the future. We want to see this reflected in the outcome of the Spending Review."


1. Dstl was established as a MoD Executive Agency on 1 July 2001 and operates as an MoD trading Fund. Dstl's role is "to provide independent, high quality scientific and technological services to MoD, the UK Armed Forces and Government, in those areas inappropriate for the private sector".

2. 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

3. News Release: No. 33


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