BRITAIN wastes up to £2.2bn a year because of over-ambitious defence projects getting out of control, a report commissioned by the government said yesterday.
The report, by former Ministry of Defence adviser Bernard Gray, said average defence equipment programmes take five years longer and costs 40 per cent more than planned.
“This programme is unaffordable on any likely projection of future budgets,” it said.
Public borrowing is forecast to hit a record £175bn this year due to the recession, and all major political parties have called for spending cuts.
The report was released a day after Prime Minister Gordon Brown planned to boost British troop numbers in Afghanistan by 500 to 9,500.
Retired generals and relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan have accused Brown of failing to provide equipment to protect the country’s troops.
The report recommended governments hold strategic defence reviews in the first session of each new parliament and said a rolling, 10-year defence budget should be agreed.
The government said it accepted most of the recommendations.
Defence secretary Bob Ainsworth told parliament: “We will work to adjust our equipment programme to bring it into balance with future requirements and the likely availability of resources.”