Damaging UK defence buying report 'suppressed'

5 August 2009

06 August 2009 | Jake Kanter

The UK's Conservative Party has accused the government of "suppressing" a report uncovering wasteful Ministry of Defence (MoD) procurement.

Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox claims the government is stalling because the review exposes "12 years of incompetence".

The MoD commissioned report was to be published in July, but British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said it would be delayed to form part of a wider defence review.

Lord Drayson, minister for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform, added that the spending review, carried out by former defence official Bernard Gray, was still in draft form.

It is reported that Gray found the MoD is wasting up to £2.5 billion a year on "incompetent" procurement decisions. Defence minister Kevan Jones told Channel 4 News last night he did not recognise the figure.

Fox said: "By trying to suppress this report, the prime minister has demonstrated he cares more about the reputation of Labour than he does about the wellbeing of the armed forces.

"The government has a moral duty to ensure that our armed forces have the equipment they need for the war fighting they are asked to do; instead we have a catalogue of bureaucracy, incompetence and time- wasting."

Lord Drayson said: "Bernard's report is currently in draft format and I am working hard with him on the issues he has identified. The work will feed into our recently announced green paper on defence. We are constantly improving the procurement process."

SMaug2009

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