Friday, 9 October 2009

Tories turn their guns on the MoD

At the their party conference yesterday Liam Fox, shadow defence secretary, promised that a Tory government would look to cut the running costs of the MoD by as much as 25% to free up extra cash for spending on frontline troops.

It is astounding to read that the cost of running the MoD itself accounts for 20% of the total defence budget - that's one hell of a lot of tea and biscuits! But with 85,000 civil servants sitting behind their desks in the MoD, you can understand where it all goes.

The MoD is renowned for waste and budget overspend, all at the expense of the guys fighting on the frontline. As Liam Fox said: "The procurement process has failed to deliver on time. The top 20 major procurement programmes have a cumulative delay of 483 months. The expected cost overruns in the next 10 years alone amount to £16bn … The simple truth is that Gordon Brown as chancellor was never willing to fully fund Tony Blair's wars".

If, as the Tories insist, their cuts would not hit defence projects or the numbers in the Armed Forces, then civilian jobs must be what is in their sights. You must admit: 85,000 civil servants doing the admin for the 99,000 in the Army does sound a tad disproportionate.

Coincidently yesterday was also the day that it was announced that General Dannatt would be joining a new Tory government as, at the least, its military advisor. Can we take this 25% cut as the first manifestation of The General's revenge on the bureaucrats who conspired against him when he was CGS?

BBC: Tories 'to cut MoD costs by 25%'