New Forest East

DEFENCE – EQUIPMENT PLAN & 3% OF GDP - 23 March 2021

DEFENCE – EQUIPMENT PLAN & 3% OF GDP - 23 March 2021

Dr Julian Lewis: I am sure that the Minister knows that friends of defence on both sides of the House wish to campaign for the 3% of GDP, as recommended by successive Defence Committees, to be spent on defence, but to do that, we need accurate figures. Does the Minister accept that the black hole in the defence budget was correctly described as £17 billion? How much of that £17 billion would be met by cuts and cancellations? How much would be topped up by money from the extra £24 billion, and, at the end of the process, how much of the extra £24 billion will be left for new projects?

[The Minister for Defence Procurement (Jeremy Quin): It is interesting to hear that there are colleagues in the House wishing to campaign for 3% of GDP to be spent on defence.]

Dr Lewis: For a long time.

[Jeremy Quin: My right hon. Friend says that to a Minister for Defence Procurement who is interested to hear it. I think we have a good settlement this time round. I am sure that he welcomes the extra £24 billion and regards it as a very good step forward for the defence of our country.

I do not recognise the £17 billion number, but there was a black hole – of that there is no doubt; we said that the equipment plan was not affordable. We recognise that there will be programmes as part of the equipment plan that we want to take forward, so within the £24 billion there will be programmes that we were hoping to finance but did not have the money for, including the Type 26s and the Type 31s. The equipment plan will be published in due course, and my right hon. Friend will be able to get all the details he wishes, and more, from that.]