The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has slammed the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) £160bn wish list – saying it is ‘as unjustifiable as it is unrealistic’ and ‘an astonishing waste of taxpayers’ money’.
On the same day that the Prime Minister reaffirmed his commitment to a real-terms increase for the defence equipment budget from 2015, the MoD has set out an eye-watering ten year projection of spending which includes nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers and drones.
But it is not just campaigners challenging the plan – Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, expressed grave concerns over the MoD’s ability to even stick to this £160bn plan. She said ‘The Ministry’s own internal review warned that this plan understates costs by as much as £12.5bn.’ And that’s an optimistic estimate. She cited independent analysis which has shown that the MoD typically delivers major projects around 40% over-budget.
‘If there’s one positive thing to come out of this,’ said CND’s Kate Hudson, ‘it’s that we now have a better idea of the cost of building Trident’s replacement. The MoD says £20-25bn, so we can safely assume it’s £28-35bn.’
‘Worse still, the MoD is budgeting here to replace Trident, when a parliamentary decision isn’t even due until 2016. If they wanted to really sharpen their maths skills, they could take the Successor submarines out of the shopping basket and calculate how much they could be saving the British public!’
Further reading: Trident subs, aircraft carriers and drones on MoD’s £160bn shopping list