Thursday, 28 February 2013

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.
    The 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.’

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