Select Committee on Defence Eleventh Report


This Report presents the evidence we have obtained from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) during our scrutiny of the Main Supply Estimates. It also includes the Government response to our recent Report on the Spring Supplementary Estimate.

We have identified no issues which require to be debated by the House of Commons before it is asked to agree to the Main Estimates, but we point out that the MoD's request for resources of £34.5 billion in the Main Estimates does not include the expected costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and so greatly underestimates the total expected cost of the MoD's activities in 2008-09. The MoD has, however, provided a forecast for these operations in 2008-09 of some £2 billion. We argue that the MoD should provide more detail within this forecast in future.

We commend the MoD for including provision for Balkan operations in the Main Estimates for the first time.

No proper relation seems to exist between operational decisions, political announcements, and financial scrutiny. This simply cannot be satisfactory. It is essential that the House has available to it accurate and up-to-date forecasts before it is asked to vote on the defence Estimates.

We consider that the MoD should update the Committee between Estimates with more up-to-date forecasts of cost than might formally be presented in the Supplementary Estimates.

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Prepared 7 July 2008