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George Osborne says operations in Libya will cost tens, not hundreds, of millions of pounds

By Jonathan Isaby

George Osborne Commons Despite the fact that the Budget is today, yesterday saw the four-weekly hour of questions to George Osborne and his Treasury team in the Commons.

There were a variety of last minute requests from MPs, all of which were met with variations on "wait and see".

But during topical questions, Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, chose to ask a very topical question:

"Will the Chancellor make every effort to keep the House informed about the cost of our operations in Libya by providing an estimate at the earliest opportunity? Will he also tell us whether those costs will be funded from the Ministry of Defence budget or drawn from the Treasury reserve?"

George Osborne indicatd that he had been given notice by Tyrie of his intention to try and catch the Speaker's eye to ask that question, enabling him to prepare the following answer:

"The House will understand that it is too early to give a robust estimate of the costs of the operations in Libya, but I can say that they should be modest compared with some other operations, such as Afghanistan. The MOD's initial view is that they will be in the order of tens of millions of pounds, not hundreds of millions. I can tell the House today that whatever they turn out to be, the additional costs of operations in Libya will be fully met from the reserve."


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