Thursday, 6 August 2009
An internal Ministry of Defence report which reveals that £2.5 billion is being wasted on equipment each year has been suppressed, it was claimed last night.
Channel 4 News said it had been told the report was so damning that the MoD had decided against publication.
The report by Bernard Gray, a former MoD official, is said to contain devastating examples of taxpayers’ money being wasted on expensive procurement projects which are unaffordable.
He was asked in December by John Hutton, then Defence Secretary, to examine ways of getting better value for money from the biggest defence programmes.
Last night it emerged that the report, which had been due to be published, is now to be used as part of the Government’s plans for a strategic defence review, to be held after the general election next year.
One example is the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier programme. The cost of buying two 65,000-tonne carriers was supposed to be £3.9 billion, but after the MoD delayed the construction programme by up to two years last year, the price has now risen to nearer £5 billion.
Another example and far more recent is the sad sad number of soldiers who have been killed in highly vulnerable Vikings. Ten have died in similarly unprotected Snatch Land Rovers, 15 in Wimiks, 10 in Jackals, five in Pinzgauer Vectors. Almost all these 48 deaths – more than a third of those killed in action in Afghanistan – might have been avoided had the MoD equipped our troops with properly "mine-protected" vehicles, such as the Mastiffs, which have saved scores of other lives, and which are provided for the troops of almost every other nation in the theatre.
The reason the MoD has been guilty of such misjudgment is not that much-touted "under-funding" (Vikings cost £700,000 each). The MoD has been spending billions of pounds on projects which have been complete failures rather than equipping them properly for the wars they have been actually expected to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. They know what is needed.........just ask any solider, sailor or airman or their field commanders for the answer.
A quick glance at Wiki tells me the Mastiff costs c. $475K - which would appear to be very considerably less than £700K for the existing unsuccessful ground transport vehicles they use.
Look at the recent story about hardware stuck in Dubai and conflicting reports that either the vehicles are being kept to deploy in October or the armour is so secret only the RAF can fly them.
It also took them 8 years to get £422 million quids worth of Chinook helicopters of the ground. And for the record roadside bombs have not damaged a Chinook yet!!!!
Sadly the MOD make complete cock and bull stories on the defence procurement fiascos showing that there are far too many politicised MOD officials and not enough capable field-experienced officers directing what really needs done.
These facts are a terrible testament to the MoD's incompetence.
Both do nothing David Cameron and our supreme leader have promised to protect spending on the NHS. Super Gordon has said he will safeguard spending on education as well. Neither leader has said a damn thing about our military.
Bernard Gray’s full report needs to be published as soon as possible. We also need as full a disclosure of MoD finances as possible, as the next government is already facing a massive shortfall. Labour must not be allowed to operate in this manner.
I also notice that minister number 21 out of 23, Bob ainsworth has not said a word.
The politicians, the MOD, have a responsibility to the men and women they order into battle, especially when they lie to send them their in the first place.