Defence cuts could make new military equipment unaffordable, MPs warn
The military may not be able to afford necessary new equipment as it struggles to take on further budget cuts, MPs have warned.
MPs on the Defence Select Committee have cast doubt over whether the department will be able to find the cash for new hardware, as it prepares to implement £7.3bn in spending reductions.
In a new report, the MPs point out that the Ministry of Defence has been “incapable” of making such savings in the past.
The intervention comes after pressure has been mounting on the Government to reverse cuts after Tory MPs lined up to criticise the spending plans set out in the Chancellor’s recent Budget.
In a letter to the new Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, Conservative backbenchers threatened a revolt over further cuts to the brief.
While former soldier and Defence committee member Johnny Mercer has repeatedly warned of growing dissent and Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood reportedly threatened to resign over the issue.
Commenting on today’s report, Defence committee chairman and Conservative MP Julian Lewis said it was "extremely doubtful" the department could make the necessary savings out of an "already stretched budget".
"This will inevitably lead either to a reduction in the numbers of ships, aircraft and vehicles or to even greater delays in their acquisition," he said.
However, the MoD said it was making "good progress" on its efficiency target.
It added that in the face of "intensifying threats", its £178bn equipment plan "continues to deliver the cutting-edge kit to keep the UK safe".