How much does the Ministry of Defence budget for equipment for the armed forces? Why has the budget been deemed 'unaffordable'? How does the MoD plan what equipment is needed for future conflicts and interventions and why are MPs concerned over shipbuilding?

Talking us through key issues around defence procurement this week is Commons Library defence researcher, Louisa Brooke-Holland, who spoke to us on 2 April 2019.

To go straight to the answers that interest you the most, skip to:

  • What does buying equipment for the armed forces mean in practice? (0:54)

  • What’s the MoD’s budget? (2:36)

  • Why has the National Audit Office described the MoD equipment budget as ‘unaffordable’? (2:57)

  • What types of financial risks could result in costs exceeding the budget? (3:47)

  • Why have previous governments struggled with costs and the defence budget? (4:43)

  • Defence procurement is fundamentally different to other types of procurement – presumably the MoD can’t buy everything it needs off the shelf? (5:53)

  • Do single source contracts used by the MoD throw up any issues? (7:25)

  • Is the Government already amending regulations on the use of single source contracts? (8:26)

  • How does the UK work with other countries to buy equipment and develop capabilities? (8:53)

  • There have been quite a few debates in Parliament about shipbuilding for the Royal Navy – why is this a tricky issue? (9:49)

  • What have MPs been saying about shipbuilding and procurement? (11:08)

  • How big a part of the MoD’s budget goes on Trident? (11:59)

  • Will Brexit have an impact on defence spending? (12:41)

Further reading

To dig deeper into the issues discussed in this episode, you might find the following Commons Library briefings and Insights useful:

More in this series