Tony Douglas, outgoing Chief Executive of Defence Equipment and Support, has made a please for more defence spending to maintain current capabilities.

The Public Accounts Committee asked Douglas if the current budget was enough to buy equipment outlined in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, he said:

“I will speak as a British passport holder and someone who is as passionate as anyone else in this room. If it was my money I would give them more, because defence needs it. If the rich uncle had £1 spare, I would give it to defence first.”

Ms Hiller, a member of the committee, said: “That sounds like a plea for more money.”

Mr Douglas said: “It sounds like a plea for a rich uncle.”

Recently defence giant Babcock cautioned that UK government spending reductions could “delay the start of large new vehicle programmes” and weigh on revenue growth in its land division, which provides support for military vehicles.



  1. Why are the things always said by ‘ex’, ‘outgoing’, or ‘retired’ people? Why can’t someone in post say it? Pensions at risk?

  2. Saudi Arabia spends 10% of GDP on defence.
    Russia over 5%

    Our “2%” is just a sticking plaster. Our defence capabilities have been hollowed out recklessly.

    Deal with tax havens & sweetheart deals & maybe some of our “rich uncles” would breathe life back into the public purse.

    • Russia has to spend 5% to have a reasonable budget because their GDP is lower, not very comparable.

      If we actually had 2% and didn’t include pensions and removed trident from the budget then all would look a lot rosier! 2.5% on this basis would yield another £10bn or so pa, if I got my maths right. Just imagine what we could achieve with that.

      • Numbers do not tell the full story. Russia is able to accomplish far more with a lower amount of money. The reasons for this are the following:
        1. Very cheap labor costs.
        2. Lower standard of living.
        3. Highly developed domestic defense industry.
        4. Numerous export partners either willing to buy cut down versions of top tier equipment or willing to buy the best if not fund the development of their own advanced variants (India).
        5. Russia has vast natural resources of nearly every type needed to build advanced weapons without imports.

        Just quoting the amount of money spent according to the Russian Federal budget is a mistake. As due to their political, financial, and export systems it is very easy for them to conceal what they are spending and what they are spending it on.

  3. 2% and 0.7% are the two most nonsensical number in British political discourse.

    What was a minimum target spend to shame France & Germany into spending more (failed so far but nudged them a little in the right direction) has simultaneously become comfort blanket and straight jacket.

    I watched evidence and also clear there are inefficiencies to work out of the system.

    I am fully behind significant increases in defence funding but would link some of it to ensuring those efficiency’s are found.

  4. We need much better value for our buck as well. We waste a fortune on procurement of wrong kit or kit not value for money as well as the overspend on delayed kit. Lots of that down to MoD interference but surely we can order stuff, agree price and get it for agreed price at least every now and then.

  5. My tank driver was asked by lord Healey when he was head of MOD, what do you think of your new tank{chieftain mk1} rubbish the engine is no good, we where on our third power pack that week, Healey had changed the engine on coming to power ,he stormed of in a right huff end of visit.

  6. So the man responsible for buying the shiny toys on leaving says we need more money. DES are a suppliers dream, a cash cow to extract more from when ever they want.
    Why is he leaving? What has he achieved? What benefit has he delivered?
    He is going back to industry – either because he couldn’t change the system or the system couldn’t change him.

  7. As always of course when boasting of defence spend comparisons are made with the lower spenders, Bleating what a good boy am I. Its pathetic , weasel words as always from Government . You spend what is necessary , not what is the least you can get away with

  8. Spend 20% of gdp if it gives us what we need in these dark times, after all its our money and not the daft governments but I think they’d rather spend it on foreign aid than.. Lol


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