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Government 'failing British troops' as taxpayer billions wasted by Ministry of Defence, according to Labour

A Labour Party dossier reveals billions of taxpayer money has been wasted by the Ministry of Defence since 2010

"MOD Sign" by Defence Images is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Ministry of Defence has wasted nearly £13 billion of taxpayers money since 2010, according to new research released by the Labour party which accuses the government of “failing British troops and British taxpayers”.

The “Dossier of Waste in the Ministry of Defence” found 67 officially confirmed cases of waste funds, funds that Labour claim could have been used to support areas of defence that are already underfunded by the government.

​​“The Ministry of Defence has blown billions of pounds at the same time as cutting back our Armed Forces,” said Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey. 

“The MoD is a uniquely failing department, yet Ministers have taken no serious steps to secure value for taxpayers’ money. This scale of waste is totally unacceptable.”

The opposition has accused the Conservative party of overspending and mismanagement within the Ministry of Defence, with almost £4 billion wasted since Ben Wallace became secretary of state for defence in 2019.

The dossier revealed that cancelled contracts have resulted in waste worth £4.8 billion since 2010, whilst Ministry of Defence projects have overspent £5.6 billion. According to Labour’s research, approximately £64 million was wasted on admin errors alone in the last decade.

The Ministry of Defence spends roughly £40 billion every year with almost half of this budget contributing to UK defence equipment. Despite the department’s annual cost, Labour’s report acknowledged that none of its 36 major projects are on schedule and on-budget. The dossier says that the Ministry of Defence is “the worst performing department in Whitehall” and that “the scale of MoD waste is significant and systemic.”

The report describes the Ministry of Defence as a “black hole” of expenditure and government ministers have “no grip” on the department’s finances. 

Much of the department’s operations and financial data is inaccessible to the public, meaning that the dossier’s findings may only be “the tip of the iceberg” according to the report. 

The Ministry of Defence Press Office responded to the Labour report in a tweet, saying: “We always review and renew our capabilities to ensure relevance to today’s threats and taxpayer value for money.”

The report covers slashes of various areas of the UK’s defence in recent years. Labour said cuts to military equipment such as tanks, destroyers, frigates and Royal Airforce aircraft could be avoided with better management of taxpayer funds.

The Public Accounts Committee reported that: “The Department’s system for delivering major equipment capabilities is broken and is repeatedly wasting taxpayers’ money.”

Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey tweeted: “If this wasted public money had been reduced, funding could have been available to strengthen the UK’s Armed Forces and avoid cuts forced by budget pressures to troops, planes, ships and vital equipment.”

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