Just like Serco claiming £60+millions for tagging dead or released offenders, the Ministry of Defence has wasted £9 million paying rent on demolished properties, funding management consultants to do nothing, and other “fruitless payments” in the past three years.
No disciplinary action was taken over the 60 payments and MPs have called on the MoD to get a grip on its finances. The payments were made between 2016 and last year and revealed after a freedom of information request. More than £3.2 million was paid to a contractor for 10,000 leased gas canisters that the MoD lost!
Rent of £1.1 million was paid on buildings that had been knocked down. The defence nuclear organisation paid £157,000 to McKinsey, the consultants, to do nothing because it forgot to terminate a rolling contract.
The largest category of fruitless payments, totalling £3.4 million, related to penalties and interest charges from HM Revenue & Customs for underpaid VAT. Additional training is being provided to help MoD staff to determine the correct VAT codes, it is understood.
Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative chairman of the Commons defence select committee, said that he believed there was a “cultural issue” [Cock-up culture] in the department and that a high turnover rate of staff contributed to waste.
The MoD stated “We are committed to delivering value for money and have strengthened our processes to help prevent this happening again”.
They might well have said “We are committed to fatuous responses to any criticism about us and have strengthened our processes to help ensure this happens again. We are also committed to ensure that none of our processes benefit the council taxpayer”.