Cost of wars Fox, Liam
By Ian Drury
Last updated at 9:34 AM on 27th September 2011
The cost of Britain’s military mission in Libya could hit £1.75billion – seven times what the Government predicted it would spend.
The sum, calculated by one of the UK’s leading defence specialists, is an embarrassing blow to Liam Fox who said in June the operation to stop Colonel Gaddafi attacking civilians would cost £260million.
Originally the Treasury believed the cost would be no more than ‘tens of millions’ of pounds.
Francis Tusa, editor of Defence Analysis, claims the real bill will far exceed this because of the sheer number of strikes carried out by the RAF and Royal Navy.
His analysis, using MoD figures, gave two estimates of the cost until the end of last month - between £1.38billion and £1.58billion using one method, and £850million to £1.75billion using another.
He added: ‘Where there has been doubt, I have underestimated in my calculations.’
Mr Tusa said the MoD had omitted costs including extra training, ‘wear and tear’ to equipment, and modifying jets and helicopters for Libya.
Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: ‘It is vital we have transparency on this.’
An MoD spokesman said the cost of the war would be met by the Treasury, adding: ‘We estimate the net additional cost is in the region of £110million from the start of the operations in mid-March to mid-September.
‘The cost of replenishing munitions may be up to £130million. These are not the final figures.’