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UK defence: House of Commons to hold debate on Select Committee reports

14 March 2024

The House of Commons will hold a debate on Thursday 21 March around three reports on UK defence published recently by the Defence and Public Accounts Committees (PAC).

The three reports address concerns around the UK’s military readiness and capabilities. The debate will be an opportunity for Members of the House of Commons to explore the reports’ recommendations and conclusions.

The Defence Committee’s report, Ready for War?, found that overstretch has negatively impacted high intensity warfighting readiness due to the number of operations and other commitments the Armed Forces are tasked with. The Committee voiced concern over the crisis in recruitment and retention, slow procurement processes and the resultant stockpile shortages.

Following the Spring Budget last week, the Defence Committee commented that the Defence Secretary’s assessment that the UK is in a “Pre-War” state “does not appear to be reflected in his Department’s Budget allocation”.

The most recent of the PAC’s reports into the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Equipment Plan found that there is no credible Government plan to deliver its desired military capabilities. The report comes in the context of the largest deficit ever (£16.9bn) between the MoD’s budget and its military capability requirements.

The PAC’s January 2024 report found that the MoD did not have the powers needed to deal with the fragmentation of its inventory management, noting that significant risks were caused for front-line armed forces by MoD inventory failures.

Further information

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