Select Committee on Defence Fourth Report


The Ministry of Defence's Spring Supplementary Estimate 2005-06 seeks additional provision of some £1,890 million. Of this, some £1,264 million is in respect of peace-keeping in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We found the information provided in MoD's initial Estimates Memorandum inadequate and present a further break-down which we have obtained from MoD. We draw attention to the large element of contingency, some £146 million.

We call on MoD to provide better information in future in support of its requests for resources and more detail on outturn costs of operations in the Annual Report and Accounts.

We express concern about the arrangement by which MoD waits for the Spring Supplementary Estimates before seeking Parliament's approval of expenditure on operations and recommend that, in future, provision for commenced operations be made in the Main Estimates in the usual way, if necessary with a large element for contingency. We also recommend that MoD provide to this Committee regular updates of the cost of operations, in the same way as it provides information to the Treasury.

We outline the reductions in the overall size of the Armed Forces set out in the Votes A for the financial year 2006-07.

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Prepared 16 March 2006