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UK watchdog reveals $22 billion hole in military equipment plan

4th December 2023 - 20:01 GMT | by Norbert Neumann in London

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The NAO said the MoD’s defence strategies had become economically unsustainable due to an alarming 27% (£65.7 billion) surge in projected costs since the last report. (Photo: UK MoD/Crown Copyright)

The UK National Audit Office (NAO) has delivered a scathing evaluation of the MoD's Equipment Plan for 2023–33, revealing a nearly £17 billion 'blackhole' in the budget.

The MoD’s Equipment Plan (the Plan) for 2023–33 has shown a £16.9 billion (US$21.3 billion) funding gap, according to a report published by the UK National Audit Office (NAO) on 4 December.

The report, characterised as the most critical assessment in the watchdog's history, highlighted a disparity between projected costs and allocated budgets, drawing attention to concerning trends in government spending.

The NAO puts the estimated costs at £305.5 billion against a budget of £288.6 billion. Last year’s 10-year estimate was under budget by £2.6 billion. The watchdog said the MoD's defence plans had become financially unviable as forecasted costs surged by

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Norbert Neumann

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Norbert Neumann


Norbert is the Aviation, Military Training & Simulation reporter at Shephard Media. Before joining Shephard in …

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