UK Defence Ministry Slammed Over 'Grandiose Spending' on Hire Cars for Its Personnel

Ministry of Defence - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.12.2021
A spokesperson for the British Ministry of Defence tried to justify the hefty spending by arguing that staff has to travel to locations not always accessible via public transport, claiming that the ministry is "committed to delivering value for money".
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been lambasted over spending almost £13 million ($17 million) on hire cars and taxis for staff in 2021.
The figures were revealed after a freedom of information (FoI) request by the British news agency PA Media, which also referred to the UK Department for Transport purportedly spending over £1.1 million ($1.4 million) in the past ten months.
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Caren Evans, acting national officer for defence staff with the UK trade union Unite, described the MoD-related figure as "entirely excessive", something that ostensibly "demonstrates how hugely inefficient the MoD is and is exceptionally poor value for money for taxpayers".

"This revelation of grandiose spending on hired vehicles by the MoD is a kick in teeth for civilian MoD staff who have experienced a pay freeze this year and are now struggling to make ends meet due to the cost of living crisis in the UK. The money spent on hiring cars could and should have been better spent on giving MoD workers a much-needed pay rise", Evans asserted.

The Unite officer was echoed by British Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey, who accused the country's MoD of "blowing millions of pounds on taxis at the same time as cutting Army numbers and freezing forces' pay".
In March, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced a major overhaul of the UK armed forces, stressing that the size of the British Army would be slashed to 72,500 soldiers by 2025 as part of the military's switch to unmanned aerial vehicles and cyberwarfare.

According to Healey, "there's so much waste in MoD budgets and ministers have got no grip on the problems. This Tory waste is letting down frontline forces and taxpayers".

A MoD spokesperson, in turn, argued that ministry staff travels to locations that are "not always accessible with public transport and often a lease/hire car or taxi is the most efficient and cost-effective way to travel".
The spokesperson added that MoD personnel-related expenditures on hire cars "through the Phoenix II vehicle contract for the current calendar year up to 30 November 2021 is [£]12,960,612. Please note that this figure includes VAT but excludes fuel and other costs".
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