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    UK Defense Equipment Plan 'At Risk' Over Underestimated Costs

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    Report by the British Public Accounts Committee (PAC) criticized the British government for underestimating the cost of procuring weapons as well as for its excessive reliance on contractors.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The UK Defense Ministry's equipment plan is at "real risk" of overspending, a report by the British Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said Friday.

    "We welcome the progress the Ministry of Defence has made in getting to grips with its budget and military equipment costs, but real risks remain to the affordability of its 10-year Equipment Plan," Margaret Hodge, Chair of the PAC was quoted as saying in the report.

    The report also criticized the British government for underestimating the cost of procuring weapons as well as for its excessive reliance on contractors.

    "The Department admits that the costs of its £163 billion [$244 billion] Plan could be understated by at least £5.2 billion [$7.8 billion] – a figure that could grow as it develops a better understanding of the support costs involved," Hodge emphasized.

    The report was released amid criticism of the UK government from its own parliamentarians over sharp cuts in the defense budget, subject to a review following the general elections in Britain in May.

    The current equipment plan covers the United Kingdom’s spending on defense from 2014 to 2024. The major projects covered in the UK Defense Ministry’s plan concern, in particular, spending on submarines, fighter jets, drones, aircraft carriers and helicopters.

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    UK Ministry of Defence, UK Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Margaret Hodge, United Kingdom
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