In a scathing criticism of defence cuts the Public Account Committee said delaying the building of two aircraft carriers and the Astute class submarines had already increased the Ministry of Defence's costs by more than £5 billion in the long term. A report in the Daily Telegraph continues:
"Decisions to delay or cut programmes to save money in the short term continue to lead to increased costs in the longer term and do not represent good value for money," said Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP and PAC chairman.
"Cancelling the Nimrod aircraft at such a late stage has resulted in £3.4 billion of taxpayers' money being wasted without any benefit to the defence forces."
Deliberate delays to Astute, to keep a specialised workforce for the Trident replacement submarines, increased costs by almost £2 billion.
There was widespread dismay last year when contractors cut up the nine new Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol aircraft, at a stroke removing Britain's ability to adequately defend its home waters. Nimrod was cancelled to save £1.9 million in running costs over the next decade.
"Decisions to save cash in the short term – deferring spending and reducing equipment numbers – have added significant long-term costs to the defence programme and so represent poor value for money," the report said. ...
... Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said the MoD had “taken a firm grip” on the equipment programme and put a halt to “vast cost increases of the past”.
“Much has been achieved in clearing up the mess left by the last Government and we are now close to eliminating the black hole in the MoD’s finances.”
He added: “Scrapping the ill-fated Nimrod MRA4 was one of many tough but necessary decisions we had to take to deal with an equipment programme that was out of control.”
- Full report, by Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent, Daily Telegraph - Nimrod destruction cost taxpayer £3.4bn as MoD ignored 'cost implications', MPs say