Jobs of 25,000 soldiers could have been saved if MoD had not wasted £13bn

By Nigel Nelson

The jobs of 25,000 soldiers could have been saved if the MoD had not wasted so much money.

Labour analysis shows that the Whitehall department has squandered £13billion of taxpayer cash on failing projects since the Tories came to power in 2010, £4billion of that after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace took over in 2019.

Yet Tory cutbacks mean the number of troops has fallen from 102,200 twelve years ago to 77,200.now. It would have cost £9.4billion to keep the Army at 2010 strength.

And another 10,000 soldiers are set to go by 2025 to save £668million.

Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey said: “Ministers are failing British troops and British taxpayers.

“With the increasing threats the UK faces ministers are reckless to press ahead with even deeper cuts to Army numbers.”

Mismanagement led to £4.8 billion blown on cancelled contracts and £5.6 billion in overspend. Another £2.6 billion was written off.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace (via REUTERS)

Yet the Army is cutting main battle tank numbers by a third to 148, and Mr Wallace could have bought four new Type 45 Destroyers with the money he has fritered away.

A report by Commons spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee, slammed the MoD’s procurement system as “broken and repeatedly wasting taxpayers’ money”.

Projects which have gone over budget include an extra £1billion on a new nuclear warhead manufacturing plant at Burghfield near Reading which is now 76 months behind schedule.

There is another £1billion overspend on seven Astute Class attack submarines, and the RAF’s fleet of new Protector drones is already £325million over budget and 28 months late.

The MoD also abandoned plans to upgrade the Warrior armoured vehicle which cost nearly £600million and £4million went down the pan when a new IT system was scrapped.

And it has been fined £32million by the Treasury for breaching its own accounting rules.

Mr Healey said a Labour government would make the MoD subject to spending rules laid down by a new Office for Value of Money.

The MoD said: “This government is serious about investing in defence modernisation. That means taking tough decisions to replace old equipment and halt programmes that no longer fit requirements.”


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