15 May 2009 | Martha McKenzie-Minifie
A group of MPs has criticised the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for delays and cost overruns in delivering major projects.
The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee's MoD Major Projects Report 2008 - released today - found that in 2007-8 the delay to the introduction of its 20 biggest military equipment projects increased by 96 months.
Committee chairman Edward Leigh said the major projects had been monitored for several years and the new report showed the worst in-year "slippage" - or increase in delivery delays - since 2003.
The forecast cost of the projects increased by another £205 million over the original budget during the period, the report said, to total almost £28 billion.
"What lies behind this are the same old failings including, at the start of projects, a lack of realism and unjustified optimism about what can be achieved, at what cost and by when," said Leigh.
Quentin Davies,(pictured) minister for defence equipment and support, said delays were "regrettable" but had not led to gaps in frontline capability.
"Our troops are as well equipped as any professional armed forces in the world today," he said.
Among the report's recommendations were that the MoD further develop staff project management skills and that it works more closely with industry on complex projects.