Unions: MoD 'mad to fire staff while increasing consultant spending'

The union position

This article opens with a flawed assumption. Lewis suggests that the unions 'obtained' the information used in the Guardian article. We didn't. The Guardian asked the MOD. If you'd have asked, I guess they'd have told you, too.

The unions did provide the figures in the article which exposed the FATS scandal two or three months ago, but this was not a leak: we had to compile the figures ourselves using FOI questions because, before it was flushed out of them, the MOD would not tell anyone what its FATS spend was.

Lewis - you say that the FATS spend is not due to staff cuts. Can you explain, then, why the MOD was only spending £6m a year on technical support in 2006/07 and yet now spends approaching £300m a year (equivalent to the cost of approximately 10,000 specialist civil servants)?

The article then moves on to a very valid point: that the real savings are to be found in dealing with top-heavy armed forces structures. We would add that there's a civilian-military balance issue here as well. A lot of those senior officers are sitting in desk jobs running equipment projects in which they have no expertise. This is another factor behind the explosion in the FATS spend.


Back to the forum