A news report has projected that Britain’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) could face a gap of £15 billion (less than $20 billion) in a matter of a decade if it fails to prioritize its programs for production of modern military equipment.
The National Audit Office (NAO) published a report on Monday suggesting that the MoD would be short of £7 billion in the next 10 years as the ministry’s forecast costs exceed its budget of £186.4.
The NAO said the black hole could be expanded to reach the whopping figure of 14.8 billion if all sorts of identified risks occur and the MoD fails to decide which program to defer or drop as soon as possible.
The report said the MoD had incurred huge costs on taxpayers by postponing projects that should not have been deferred, adding that there will be a “real danger” for the ministry in the next 10 years to waste more taxpayers’ money.
“These [deferred projects] included delaying by two years its program to introduce new remotely piloted aircraft (Protector), resulting in an estimated £160mn cost increase, and delaying some Typhoon training by one year, which increased costs by £6 million,” it said.
The NAO said the British government’s last week budget announcement which gave an extra £1 billion to the defense sector failed to consider the real gaps in the MoD budget in the upcoming years.
“The announcement in the budget of an extra £1bn for defense doesn’t deal with the gap in the MoD’s budget,” it said.
Defense authorities in Britain have already indicated that they are spending around four percent more than what has been allowed in the budget. The country is a key military power in NATO and still contributes to the risky missions in Afghanistan and in the Baltics where the Western military alliance is allegedly confronting Russia.
Britain is also a major arms manufacturer and sells billions of pounds worth of military equipment to countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.