MoD wastes £6.6bn on kit and supplies it does not need as it tries to save money by cutting troops
Military chiefs waste 6.6bn of taxpayers' money on unnecessary stock
MoD spend £1.1bn on computer system to fix stock control 'weaknesses'
The Ministry of Defence is squandering
billions of pounds on kit and supplies it does not need while trying to
save money by getting rid of troops. Military
chiefs are wasting ‘unacceptable’ sums of taxpayers’ cash by buying and
hoarding excess equipment, according to a scathing report today. MPs on the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee found at least £6.6billion of stock was either unused or over-ordered.
The top civil servant at the MoD,
permanent secretary Jon Thompson, admitted there were ‘problems’ in
managing the inventory of kit and equipment. He said the cash-strapped
department was spending £1.1billion on a computer system to tackle
‘weaknesses’ in stock control.
cross-party committee’s report will be a blow to morale as the fighting
capability of the Army, Royal Navy and RAF continues to be reduced.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is
axing 29,000 personnel and scrapping warships, fighter jets and armoured
vehicles in an attempt to balance the books. The
report by MPs came as the Royal United Services Institute think-tank
warned that the MoD faces having to find another £17billion of cuts
over the next decade. The
MoD has 710million items in its stores – everything from nuclear
submarines and missiles to uniforms, medical supplies and ration packs.
The inventory is worth £40.3billion.
The report said that the department had
identified a £3.4billion stockpile of supplies that it wanted to get rid
of, possibly by selling them on the MoD’s disposals website – a
military version of eBay.
MPs on the committee said they were
‘disappointed’ that problems still existed with MoD stock control
despite being highlighted as long ago as 1991. The
committee said of the MoD: ‘The department has failed to provide
effective incentives or accountability for those responsible for
ordering, retaining and disposing of inventory.’ Tory
Richard Bacon, committee vice-chairman, said: ‘It is unacceptable that
the MoD is wasting significant amounts of public money buying equipment
and supplies that it doesn’t need. 'It is particularly galling at a time when funding is tight. ‘With stock returning from Afghanistan and soon from Germany, the problem is likely to get worse.’ Bernard
Gray, the MoD head of procurement, told the committee: ‘There is
nothing more annoying than throwing something away and then finding,
five minutes later, that it would cost you a fortune to replace it.’ Defence equipment minister Philip Dunne said: ‘I am determined to reverse decades of lax inventory management.’