Iraq: Costs of Military Campaign

House of Lords written question – answered at on 14 October 2003.

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Photo of Lord Hooson Lord Hooson Liberal Democrat

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the total financial cost to the British Treasury, to date, of financing the preparation for and participation in the war in Iraq and the restoration of law and order and essential services in that country.

Photo of Lord Bach Lord Bach Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Procurement)

The Ministry of Defence identifies the costs of operations in terms of the net additional costs it has incurred. The costs which the department would have incurred had the operation not been undertaken—expenditure on wages and salaries or on conducting training exercises, for example—are deducted from the total costs of the operation.

Calculating all the costs of military action will take some time since they will include the cost of ammunition, bombs and guided weapons consumed in excess of peacetime levels and the cost of repairing and replacing equipment destroyed and damaged. We do however estimate the cost of preparatory activities in 2002–03 at around £700 million—less than the £1 billion set aside at Spring Supplementary Estimates 2002–03. This estimate includes the procurement or modification of equipment, increased maintenance and stock consumption, civil sea and air charter and provision of infrastructure in-theatre. A figure for total costs in 2002–03 including the cost of operations up to 31 March 2003 will be published in the department's resource accounts at the end of October 2003.

It is too early to estimate the costs likely to arise in 2003–04. Once these are known, additional funding will be sought in the normal way through Supplementary Estimates.

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