Glenrothes and Central Fife MP, Peter Grant has said that a report released today by the Public Accounts Committee highlights the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) continued “lamentable failure” to “get a grip” and deliver on key defence capabilities needed by the UK’s Armed Forces.
Despite the Public Accounts Committee and National Audit Office warnings “year after year”, the MoD still hasn’t established a stable basis for making an affordable military Equipment Plan or a realistic approach to delivering efficiency savings.
This comes after the MoD admits it has encouraged a culture that prioritises hitting internal targets above delivering defence capability, with a short-term focus on managing annual financial pressures that reduces the UK’s military capabilities yet further, while increasing overall costs.
Echoing its recent report on failures in the MoD’s nuclear defence programme, the Committee urges the MoD and HM Treasury to consider moving to a system of managing strategic programmes on a multi-year basis – with the MoD to demonstrate “why it should be trusted” with this new approach as it is rolled out. Together the MoD and HMT should report to the Committee on the development of this new strategy by the end of the year.
Covid-19 has worsened existing concerns about the financial resilience of some defence equipment suppliers with the potential to worsen the already lengthy delays to the delivery of many key capabilities.
Peter Grant MP, member of the Public Accounts Committee said:
“Despite the MoD being given ample opportunity over the years to improve the delivery of key strategic priorities, they have allowed the same gaps in our national defence and the same risk to our armed forces personnel to continues year after year.
“The MoD knows what it’s getting wrong, it has admitted to knowing what it’s getting wrong. It’s now time it makes the changes necessary, and quickly, which they owe to the nation and the armed forces.
“The Public Accounts Committee is now saying to the MoD and to the Treasury now: come back to us by the end of the year with a concrete plan for how you are going to turn this around.”