Politics

Shadow Defence Secretary 'Shocked' By Modernising Defence Programme

Nia Griffith has told Forces News that she's "shocked" by the Government's announcement on MDP.

The Shadow Defence Secretary has told Forces News that she's "shocked" by the Government's announcement this week on the Modernising Defence Programme (MDP).

Nia Griffith said the MDP is not good enough, adding she expected a "highly professional document" but instead received something that "didn't really tell us anything": 

"Quite frankly I was absolutely shocked.

"We've been waiting a very long time for this and we expected a highly professional view, really grasping the issues and actually trying to deal with the priorities.

"But what we've had is a very bland document which doesn't really tell us anything."

WATCH: Griffith reacts to the Government's statement on the MDP. 

Nia Griffith said what she wanted from the MDP was more clarity on what would be prioritised in the future, stating the "industry needs certainty".

"I really expected them to explain exactly how they're going to make ends meet.

"What are they going to prioritise? What sort of timescales are they working to?

"The industry needs certainty and we're not going to get that by not knowing what they're going to put first."

Ms Griffith went onto say the programme needs “focused thinking”.

She then reiterated past comments in regards to the outsourcing recruitment company, Capita, which was recently the subject of a highly critical report drawn up by the National Audit Office (NAO). 

“There needs to be a grip on some of these companies, like Capita who are running away with public money and not delivering the goods.”

Capita sign
In 2012, Capita received a £495 million contract for Army recruitment but, according to the report, it has not hit its recruitment targets in any year since receiving it (Picture: PA).

She was also unimpressed with the new money Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson negotiated for the Ministry of Defence in the last budget:  

“He's made an awful lot of fuss but if you look at all of the money he’s managed to get in the budget, it’s a fraction of what’s been cut.

“They cut £10 billion and put £1 billion back and quite frankly it’s really just to cover overruns in programmes and so it’s not really new available money to do anything new and constructive with.”