Public Accounts Committee attacks MoD over spiralling costs of aircraft carriers


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The Independent Online

Britain’s aircraft carrier programme faces further spiralling costs and the project remains a “high risk”, MPs have warned.

Significant technical problems have not been resolved and there is potential for “uncontrolled growth” in the final bill, according to the Public Accounts Committee.

MPs warn they are “still not convinced” that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has a grip on the project and suggested it has “little control” over the costs of acquiring the aircraft

They heap criticism on the MoD for providing “deeply flawed information” that led to plans to switch the type of aircraft to be flown from the carriers.

The move was later abandoned at a cost to taxpayers of £74m, the National Audit Office revealed earlier this year.

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the PAC, said: “This U-turn is the latest in an ongoing saga that has seen billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money down the drain.”

In a report today, MPs said they are “still not convinced” that the MoD has got the Carrier Strike programme under control and also raised concerns that the early warning radar system that protects the carriers will not be available until two years after the first one is delivered.

They accused the MoD of a “history of making poor decisions, based on inadequate information” and also warned the department it must be more consistent in assessing what capability it needs.

Around 400 employees are working on the programme, but MPs said they were concerned that “staff are wasting their time with bureaucracy and duplicated effort” in their checks on contractors.