After the independent National Audit Office (NAO) rated the Ministry of Defence Equipment plan – which accounts for an incredible 42% of MoD’s total budget – as ‘unaffordable’ for the third year running, Scottish National Party Defence Spokesperson Stewart McDonald today warned the UK was rapidly becoming a ‘hollow force’ unless the UK Government took rapid action to improve its record of good governance and transparency towards the defence budget.
“After a third consecutive year where its ongoing Equipment Plan has been described as simply ‘unaffordable’, people in Scotland are right to wonder if their security is best served by remaining in the UK.”
“It also must go down as an abject failure of Tory Defence Policy, which has lavished taxpayers money on nuclear weapons and Aircraft Carriers, with no clear strategic plan for their utility: while the people who serve in our Armed Forces have been subjected to a decade of wage restraint and austerity. The United Kingdom is rapidly becoming the ‘hollow force’ experts have long warned that it would.”
“Furthermore, as those on the frontline grapple with the cuts that will surely result from this unaffordable equipment plan, attention must turn towards how consecutive Tory Defence Ministers have been allowed to put their grandiose obsessions on big-ticket items ahead of their most basic obligations to our service personnel – the SNP have long argued for Multi-Year Defence Agreements, such as those we see our Scandinavian neighbours employ, and it is time that the UK Government undertook to put good governance and transparency on the Defence budget ahead of party political point scoring.”