Nick Thomas-Symonds has today criticised the Conservative Government for letting down serving members of the Armed Forces and veterans across Torfaen by cutting full-time forces personnel, freezing forces pay, and failing to adequately fund mental health support all while blowing billions of taxpayers’ money.
This has been revealed in Labour’s “Dossier of Waste in the Ministry of Defence” which found that the Government has wasted at least £13B of taxpayers’ money on 67 officially confirmed cases of MoD waste since 2010.
Labour’s audit examines the extent of waste within the MoD, the cost of which could have been avoided or reduced by better MoD judgement or management.
Labour’s analysis found that Ministers’ mismanagement at the Ministry of Defence has led to £4.8B of taxpayers’ money being handed out for cancelled contracts and £5.6B on overspent projects.
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.
The Government has no grip on spending at the Ministry of Defence. The National Audit Office (NAO) has declared the defence equipment plan “unaffordable” for the last four years in a row, and the Public Accounts Committee said that the Ministry of Defence’s procurement system is “broken and is repeatedly wasting taxpayers’ money”.
Labour’s audit is the first step in fixing the failing system. Labour would make the Ministry of Defence the first department subject to our new Office for Value for Money’s tough spending regime and commission the NAO to conduct an audit of Ministry of Defence waste to get to grips with these problems.
Commenting on Labour’s “Dossier of Waste in the Ministry of Defence”, the Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds said:
“I am proud that in Torfaen we have a huge Armed Forces community that have served our country with great dedication and commitment.
It is shameful that the Tories are letting down those who have given the ultimate public service by freezing their pay and failing to provide the required level of mental health support.
The Government are also weakening the foundations of our defence – under the Tories we have fewer troops, planes, and ships. This is at the same time as blowing billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.
Only Labour has a plan to tackle Ministry of Defence waste, freeze Tory cuts to the Army, and boost mental health support for veterans by £35 million.”