Apparently, Gordon gave the Army everything it asked for: British MPs Call for Investigation into Private Funding of Army It was reported yesterday that a Â£400,000 "contingency fund", financed by private donors, was used to purchase body armour for members of 21 SAS, one of the service's two territorial regiments, prior to their deployment to Helmand in 2008. The private donorsâ fund was also used to pay for operational welfare equipment, personal kit and to pay-off the mortgages of two members of 23 SAS killed in southern Afghanistan in an earlier deployment. Details of the row came just days after the war in Afghanistan was highlighted as an election issue when Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, said that troops in Helmand were under-equipped. The 21 SAS fund was supposed to be used to help families of soldiers who were either killed or wounded on operations. But the individual donors were later asked and agreed to allow some of the money to be used to buy body armour, training and operational welfare equipment, such as computers and satellite telephones. On Friday afternoon the allegations were put to the Directorate of Special Forces (DSF), the headquarters of the Special Forces Group, and were accepted as accurate. But by 1800hrs the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said DSF had made a mistake and insisted that no private money was used to buy any equipment. An hour later, the MoD issued another statement admitting that the money had been used to purchase operational welfare equipment for members of the SAS who were deployed to Helmand. Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, said: "Raiding a charitable fund to buy equipment for troops on operations is a disgrace and shows Gordon Brown's claims that our troops have all the equipment they need to fight in Afghanistan to be nothing but a hollow sham. This finally nails Labour's argument that the government has properly funded defence." The disclosure has been seized upon by opposition MPs and former Army commanders of proof that the Armed Forces have not been properly funded while Labour has been in power. Tory MPs described the revelation as an "outrage and a disgrace" and it has prompted calls for an investigation into private funding of the Army. Assessment : With the UK elections scheduled to be held in May, the war in Afghanistan is being discussed as an election issue. There are allegations and counter-allegations regarding whether British troops in Helmand are properly equipped or not. The latest revelation of private funding is going to be a headache for the ruling government.