MOD wastes billions storing old equipment and holding onto unneeded stock

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has wasted billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money storing old equipment and holding onto unneeded stock. The National Audit Office examined the MOD’s inventory which consists of a massive 710 million items broken down into 900,000 different types of equipment.

The NAO calculated that between March 2009 and December 2011 the total value of the inventory held by the armed forces and held in central depots increased by 13 per cent, from £17.2 billion to £19.5 billion. Obviously the armed forces have to store masses of equipment, including saving a surplus just in case, but the MOD still have a responsibility to spend taxpayers’ money prudently. The NAO identify the major problem as: “management and accountability structures currently fail to provide the incentives for cost-effective inventory management”.

The total bill for storage is now £277 million per year.  This includes items such as the 54 years’ worth of equipment that is still being stored for Nimrod aircraft that were scrapped in 2010. The inventory also includes ten years’ worth of fire resistant overalls despite the fact that fewer than 200 are used each year.

Proof that the MOD can get a tighter grip on their spending came in 2010-11 when the department revealed an inventory worth £1.4 billion that could either be sold or destroyed. They need to work harder to make similar savings.

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