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.


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