12 November 2009 | Jake Kanter
The UK government has been criticised for awarding bonuses totalling £47 million to civil servants at the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The figure came to light in a written reply to a parliamentary question from the Conservative party. Some 50,000 staff, including buyers, received bonuses averaging less than £1,000 each.
Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox told the Daily Telegraph that British troops would be "aghast" that bonuses are being paid on the basis of "outstanding performance".
Families of dead soldiers have also reportedly lambasted the rewards, arguing that civil servants are failing to deliver equipment to the front line.
MoD procurement has been repeatedly criticised for cost overruns and delays to major projects, which some suggest is putting Armed Forces at greater risk. A review by former defence official Bernard Gray published last month said the average defence programme overruns by around five years and is £300 million over budget (Web news, 15 October).
An MoD spokesman said: "These pay awards are met from within salary budget and have no impact on the operational or equipment budget. Pay awards were given to around 50,000 civil servants resulting in an average payment of less than £1,000. The vast majority of these awards were paid in August as part of previously agreed pay deals, so we are not expecting this year's total to increase significantly."