Modernising Defence Programme - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:24 pm on 18th December 2018.

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Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords 8:24 pm, 18th December 2018

I am sorry that the noble Lord feels that way. I gently put it to him that the size of the document belies the depth and significance of its content. This was never going to be about a catalogue of future assets or platforms or number of ships in the Navy. As I said earlier, the programme is largely strategic, focusing on those key defence capabilities on which we think we should concentrate in the light of the threats facing us. In effect, it is a sense check of the SDSR of 2015.

The noble Lord rightly says that the spending review will be an important ingredient in our budget over the longer term, but the outcomes of the MDP will inform next year’s spending review in a helpful way. It provides a solid foundation on which to base the case that we will present for defence spending over the coming few years.

Noble Lords should not underestimate the importance of the Budget settlement. That settlement will undoubtedly enable our Armed Forces to modernise and meet the intensifying threats and risks that we now face, including prioritising investment in key capabilities. The spending review will come next year, but we have in the meantime the ability to move forward on a number of vital fronts, which is extremely valuable.