§ Mr. George Robertson
The latest estimate of total Trident procurement costs is some 12.6 billion (1996–97 prices) and the total estimated Eurofighter procurement costs are £15.9 billion (1997–98 prices). Less than 10 per cent. of the Trident costs and around 80 per cent. of the Eurofighter costs will be spent after the end of this financial year. For Trident operating costs and Eurofighter support costs I refer my hon. Friend to the answers I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) on 1 December 1997,Official Report, columns 21–22, and the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Hancock) on 12 January 1998, Official Report, column 129.241W
Departmental budgets beyond 1998–99 are being examined in the Comprehensive Spending Review and, for my Department, the Strategic Defence Review. In any event year-on-year spending forecasts for particular projects constitute projections and assumptions which inform advice to Ministers on the affordability of the defence programme. The percentage of the defence budget involved would therefore be withheld under exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.