Defence and Security Industrial Strategy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:49 pm on 23rd March 2021.

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Photo of Meg Hillier Meg Hillier Chair, Public Accounts Committee, Chair, Public Accounts Committee 12:49 pm, 23rd March 2021

I welcome that we are getting more clarity on some of the issues around defence spending, and particularly the Minister’s bold statement that he wants to see us

“achieving real reform in how we procure.”

It would be great if we saw some of that go down to our SMEs. However, as he knows, the National Audit Office concluded in its recent report on the defence equipment plan that the Department

“continues to make over-optimistic and inconsistent judgements when forecasting costs.”

That information comes from the Department’s own cost assurance and analysis service. Can the Minister tell the House and the country what precisely he is going to do differently to ensure that procurement and cost management in the equipment plan is managed better? What precise actions is he going to take?