Departments: Public Expenditure

Defence written question – answered on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Christopher Fraser Christopher Fraser Conservative, South West Norfolk

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the planned programme budget was for his Department in each of the last 10 years (a) in real terms and (b) as a percentage of gross domestic product.

Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence, The Secretary of State for Defence

Since 1998, Defence spending plans have been set as part of the Government's Spending Review process. Prior to this, spending plans were set on an annual basis. The Government accounting process has changed progressively over this period due to the introduction of Resource Accounting and Budgeting (RAB). The terms in which these budgets were set are therefore not directly comparable.

It is however possible to make a broad comparison between the near cash element of budgets under RAB and the cash element of the budget before the introduction of RAB(1).

On this basis, the near cash/cash elements of the planned budget in real terms (2006-07 base year) and as a percentage of GDP are set out as follows:

Cash/Near cash budget in real terms (2006-07 base year) (£ billion) Cash/Near Cash budget as a percentage of GDP
1997-98 27.0 2.6
1998-99 26.8 2.5
1999-2000 26.4 2.4
2000-01 26.9 2.4
2001-02 26.9 2.3
2002-03 26.8 2.3
2003-04 27.5 2.3
2004-05 27.7 2.2
2005-06 28.3 2.2
2006-07 28.7 2.2

For the first two of these years, the Government made it clear that it would work within the existing spending plans while it tackled the structural deficit it inherited and set new policy objectives and spending priorities. Since the first two years, the average annual real increase in the cash/near cash element of the Defence budget, has been over £300 million.

The figures in the table do not include the cost of operations as these are claimed against the Reserve in-year and are reported in Departmental Expenditure figures. The most recent edition of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses, available online at, records that total government expenditure on defence, including operations, was 2.5 per cent. in 2004-05 and estimated at 2.5 per cent. in 2005-06.

(1) See for explanation of terms

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