16 Mar 21. The UK Ministry of Defence (the Department) has published its Equipment Plan (the Plan) each year since 2013, setting out its intended investment in equipment and support projects for the next 10 years. The Department assesses whether this is affordable within its future budget. The Committee remains extremely concerned that the latest Plan was again unaffordable, with the funding shortfall potentially as high as £17.4bn between 2020 and 2030. The Department also faces significant additional cost pressures—estimated to be more than £20bn—to develop future military capabilities that are not yet included in the Plan. This is highly destabilising for defence and must not continue. The Committee has highlighted serious affordability issues year after year and, while the Department has made some improvements, it has not yet established a reliable and consistent basis on which to assess the affordability of its equipment programme.
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