UK Armed Forces Debate

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Department: Ministry of Defence

UK Armed Forces

Lord Lee of Trafford Excerpts
Tuesday 12th March 2024

(4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Earl of Minto Portrait The Earl of Minto (Con)
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My Lords, as I have said before, and I can do no more than say again, we are faced with a lot of conflicting needs and requirements from all the different departments of Government. Looking at the level of defence spending, we are spending more in financial terms than we have ever spent before—the highest level in history—and it is increasing in real terms. It is not where we would like it to be, and I think the Prime Minister has made clear the direction of travel in which he wishes it to go.

Lord Lee of Trafford Portrait Lord Lee of Trafford (LD)
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My Lords, to say that defence expenditure will be increased to 2.5% “when economic conditions allow”, when Russia and China are massively increasing their defence expenditure and when the world is a tinder-box at the present time, is frankly totally unacceptable and a complete dereliction of national responsibility. How does the Minister react to the recent PAC report that only two of the MoD’s 46 equipment programmes are rated highly likely to be delivered on time, on budget and of high-enough quality? How does the MoD justify employing 60,000 civilians—virtually the same number as over the last five years? What do they all do, when the Army itself is only about 70,000?

Earl of Minto Portrait The Earl of Minto (Con)
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My Lords, there were a lot of questions there. On the question of the contracts, the DE&S is actually overseeing 2,600 different contracts across 550 different programmes, delivering, believe it or not, 98% of key user requirements. It achieves 90% of the strategic milestones and, contrary to public perception, and indeed to perception within this House, it delivers well to budget.