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MOD spends bilions on credit cards whilel making soldiers redundant

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
Telegraph is running a story that staff at the MOD have spent £986 million over the last 4 years on credit cards. How many jobs would that have saved?

Ministry of Defence spends £1

Officials and senior military figures at the Ministry of Defence have spent almost £1 billion on taxpayer-funded credit cards at a time when thousands of soldiers are facing redundancy, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. Over the past four years, the MoD spent £986,041,110 on department credit cards, far more than any other government body. The disclosure will add to concerns over the management of the ministry, which is grappling with a multi-billion pound black hole in its finances.

Last night the MoD refused to follow other departments in publishing a breakdown of expenditure on the cards, which would identify any questionable purchases. It is understood that the bill includes spending on travel and hotels. The Daily Telegraph has learnt that several officials at the department have been privately disciplined or prosecuted over fraudulent or inappropriate use of the cards. The refusal to publish further information means that spending by MoD civil servants cannot be scrutinised.
You don't refuse to publish details of the spending unless you've got something to hide.

That's roughly £250 million a year. Assuming half of that was inefficient waste, that's £125 million a year. If you assume that each squaddie costs £150,000 total a year (wages, accommodation, administration, etc), the £125 million saved would have saved 800 jobs - a sizeable part of the cuts that are being proposed.

Cnuts....

Edited to add:

Telegraph editorial pulls no punches.

Indefensible waste - Telegraph

So attenuated are our military resources that the enforcement of the Nato air exclusion zone over Libya is stretching the RAF close to breaking point. In Afghanistan, front-line soldiers have been warned that they may be out of a job on their return to this country. As for the Navy, it is enjoying a 10-year “holiday” during which it has no operational aircraft carrier, severely depleting its offensive capability.

There is one corner of the Ministry of Defence, however, where money appears to be no object. We report today that the department has splashed out almost £1 billion on corporate credit cards over four years – five times as much as any other public body. There is nothing wrong with the use of such cards for legitimate purposes, but the MoD’s unreasonable refusal to publish details of the claims (ironically, on grounds of cost) will simply fuel suspicion that once again, taxpayers’ money has been wasted on a grand scale.
Wordsmith
 

Andy_S

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
There was a time when British politicians, referring to our nation's martial spirit and expertise, would boast, "We have the finest and most professional armed forces in the world."

Things have changed a bit in recent years, but last week, when I was in the UK, some talking head was calling us a significant military power because, "We have the third largest defence budget in the world."

Given that we have no aircraft carriers, a tiny army (for perspective: it is one sixth the size of South Korea's) and big questions are rising over the efficacy of the Libyan op, I was sort of wondering where that money was being spent.

You have provided part of the answer. Thanks!
 
#3
When did less than £1 billion become 'billions'?

If you don't want us to spend on company cards, how do you expect the QM's Department to local purchase the kit I need to do my job and run my little corner of the Army when a lot of it isn't codified and isn't available through the system?
 
#4
Most of those credit cards are in units who need to be able to local purchase stuff with the minimum of burocracy. The credit cards were brought in to cut costs and to speed purchasing. They also stop abuses of the claims system. You are no longer expected to pay for accomodation and be out of pocket whilst some shiney arse sits on your claims form.
Fraudulent use of the cards is jumped on rapidly and is often flagged up first by Barclays themselves. It is so sucessful that it is the MoD's preffered method of payment.

All in all the story is as well researched as most of the stories the British press trot out nowadays. Mindless knee jerk media kissing the arses of another mindless knee jerk government.
 
#6
I suspect the reasons of cost are because each unit will hold data locally on what the money was spent on. To collate it would require every unit holding GPC's to collate stats for the last year showing where expenditure fell and on what areas, centrally collating it and then publishing it. The cost involved would be disproportionate to the answer, and no doubt the MOD would then be lambasted for having too many staff as we could collate such data.

Furthermore, the article implies that somehow the cards are solely used by CS (bollocks) and that there is dodgy expenditure within this. In fact the cards seem to be used as a means of using the existing T&S and procurement budgets sensibly, and in fact that £250M per year is just the T&S component of the armed forces being used for its intended purpose. Shock horror, Military officials need to travel and stay in hotels!

I wish I could sign off on the sort of implied abusies like flowers / 5* hotels and first class flights as that article makes out. The number of times I've struggled to get approval for a £15 rail fare is untrue, and I've personally watched a 3* officer tell of his having to justify a £168 flight cost to VCDS as pressure on our travel budget is so tight.

The DT is running a story which is essentially a fishing expedition, and they've turned a perfectly reasonable refusal from the MOD into a non story. Welcome to the silly season!

Also loved how MOD is somehow seperate from all three armed services in this report - as ever, as soon as there is a bad news story in defence, its the MOD to blame and not the forces!
 
#7
It is the fact that MOD is refusing to publish details that troubles me.

That said, Cameron promised a transparent form of government but it appears that this is yet another 'U' Turn for him.

Off thread but I know some will be disappointed if I don't make the following statement:

Our politicians, of all parties are generally hopeless and are not to be trusted, but the 'politicos' and bureaucrats that comprise the European Soviet Union make our twerps look as pure as driven snow!

I feel better now!
 
#8
Telegraph is running a story that staff at the MOD have spent £986 million over the last 4 years on credit cards. How many jobs would that have saved?

That's roughly £250 million a year. Assuming half of that was inefficient waste, that's £125 million a year. If you assume that each squaddie costs £150,000 total a year (wages, accommodation, administration, etc), the £125 million saved would have saved 800 jobs - a sizeable part of the cuts that are being proposed.

Cnuts....


Wordsmith
Any sort of proof or evidence that 50% was "inefficient waste"?

Claiming that every second use one of these cards is by someone too stupid to be allowed out on their own seems on the face of it to be the sort of speculative fiction that our media produce and call news.
 
#10
It is the fact that MOD is refusing to publish details that troubles me.
That's because all the details are on Excel spreadsheets and the accountants still haven't worked out the print preview and set page size yet. Someone would also have to use a GPC to buy the paper to print it all on, thereby excerbating the problem.

Typed at my DII UAD.
 
#11
Andy S & Wordsmith,

I take it from your misinformed posts that you have never had the responsibility of holding a "GPC" (MOD credit card). Had to justify every penny spent and fill in the monthly audit sheets. Every transaction is vetted by the Budget Manager.

As stated above the cards are the most cost effective way of spending money from your allotted budget - not a blank cheque.

It’s a non-story it’s almost like asking why you have spent your stationery budget on pens, pencil and paper!
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#12
Most of those credit cards are in units who need to be able to local purchase stuff with the minimum of burocracy. The credit cards were brought in to cut costs and to speed purchasing. They also stop abuses of the claims system. You are no longer expected to pay for accomodation and be out of pocket whilst some shiney arse sits on your claims form.
Fraudulent use of the cards is jumped on rapidly and is often flagged up first by Barclays themselves. It is so sucessful that it is the MoD's preffered method of payment.

All in all the story is as well researched as most of the stories the British press trot out nowadays. Mindless knee jerk media kissing the arses of another mindless knee jerk government.

How dare you come on here spouting anything other than the party line. You've now completely ruined a story which had the potential to cause some serious foaming at the mouth.
 

Boldnotold

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
I'm surprised the Telegraph hasn't picked up on the latest MOD Budget Scandal from Private Eye. Which would seem more important than 'use of company credit cards'.

It involves the closure of RAF Lyneham and the move of all the staff and families to Brize Norton. Where they don't even have planning permission yet to build enough married quarters, so are paying private rentals for families whilst all the MQs at Lyneham remain empty.

Apart from the disruption to families, the waste of money is truly phenomenal!

How hard can it be for a journo to read Private Eye rather than 'misinterpret' facts issued by MOD?
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#14
Andy S & Wordsmith,

I take it from your misinformed posts that you have never had the responsibility of holding a "GPC" (MOD credit card). Had to justify every penny spent and fill in the monthly audit sheets. Every transaction is vetted by the Budget Manager.

As stated above the cards are the most cost effective way of spending money from your allotted budget - not a blank cheque.

It’s a non-story it’s almost like asking why you have spent your stationery budget on pens, pencil and paper!
QFE.

GPC are used because they're the CHEAPEST way of paying for things - if they were not used, even MORE would be spent. I've seen them used, for example, buying fuel in airports abroad (no other method would do than credit card or cash), in buying Welfare Eqpt for troops on TELIC and HERRICK (bought over the internet, so how else can you pay for it?) and to pay for accomodation for personnel stuck in a foreign shithole when a 'plane went u/s.

The Daily Telegraph - bringing crap nad nonsense to the breakfast table these last ten years, I'm afraid.
 
#15
MoD credit cards are only used to buy frivousless sh1t at the holders whim thought aren't they?

I've never used one to rent accomodation, purchase off the shelf spares for civvie of the shelf equipment nor anything else. Then spent hours recording my spends.

It simpley MUST be CS and high ranking donkeys getting in the Pimms. With no oversight.
 
#16
QFE.

GPC are used because they're the CHEAPEST way of paying for things - if they were not used, even MORE would be spent. I've seen them used, for example, buying fuel in airports abroad (no other method would do than credit card or cash), in buying Welfare Eqpt for troops on TELIC and HERRICK (bought over the internet, so how else can you pay for it?) and to pay for accomodation for personnel stuck in a foreign shithole when a 'plane went u/s.

The Daily Telegraph - bringing crap nad nonsense to the breakfast table these last ten years, I'm afraid.
You would be hard pushed to find any reasonable sized company operating without credit cards. Unlike cheques, credit cards can have an overall limit and a per spend limit. You can also access payments made on that card almost instantly to check what has been spent and where. It's far easier to check the paper trail than other forms of payment.
 
#17
I'm surprised the Telegraph hasn't picked up on the latest MOD Budget Scandal from Private Eye. Which would seem more important than 'use of company credit cards'.

It involves the closure of RAF Lyneham and the move of all the staff and families to Brize Norton. Where they don't even have planning permission yet to build enough married quarters, so are paying private rentals for families whilst all the MQs at Lyneham remain empty.

Apart from the disruption to families, the waste of money is truly phenomenal!

How hard can it be for a journo to read Private Eye rather than 'misinterpret' facts issued by MOD?
Actually, you will find that they are using the MQ at RAF Fairford for families relocated from Lynham to BZN.

Check facts before spouting rubbish
 
#18
Must agree that this is a total non-story.

I've seen a credit card used in all its glory courtesy of the RAF: 3 x Herc with 200 soldiers landing at Minneapolis airport: all 3 aircraft had to be refueled (credit card), transport arranged for everyone from airport to hotel (credit card), one night in 4 star hotel including dinner (credit card), transport back to airport.

So everything from landing fees to fuel to food was paid for by one credit card. All justified, budgetted for and approved. While I must confess I don't know how much it costs to fill up a Herc, I'm guessing that fully fueling 3 of them (including long range tanks) for a transatlantic crossing will not be cheap (and neither is 220+ people in a hotel including 2 meals). This was for one exercise... so the "billion pounds" over 4 years would be extremely easy to reach with the number of times RAF planes have to refuel out of normal stations. Or does the Torygraph think that a fuel company/hotel/supplier in some out-of-the-way place will accept being told "chuck an invoice in the post to 'MoD, London' and it will be paid within 24 hours?
 

Andy_S

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
Well, I stand corrected. Glancing at the story, I thought the plastic abusers were bowler hat wearers rather than the capbadge wearers. Am jolly glad to learn that no modern art was charged to those cards when the MOD itself was in the market for some interior dec.

However, as regards this:

SNIP
Most of those credit cards are in units who need to be able to local purchase stuff with the minimum of burocracy. The credit cards were brought in to cut costs and to speed purchasing. They also stop abuses of the claims system. You are no longer expected to pay for accomodation and be out of pocket whilst some shiney arse sits on your claims form.
SNIP

One wonders why we need an MOD purchasing dept at all. For efficiency, surely all we need is unit bosses with appropriately-loaded plastic?

(At international airport): "Please refuel this Herc" - charged to the RAF!

(At FN Factory): "Please give me 100 Minimis for my Battlegroup" - charged to the Army!

(At Harlan & Wolf): "Please give me one aircraft carrier" - charged to the RN!

Mind you, with the financial pressures being placed on all government spending, future cards may have to be debit, not credit.
 

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