Tories slam MoD procurement

8 October 2009

09 October 2009 | Allie Anderson

The UK Conservative party has reiterated its commitment to reviewing defence procurement following "a decade of neglect" of the armed forces.

Speaking at the Tory party conference in Manchester yesterday, shadow defence secretary Liam Fox slammed the government's defence purchasing record.

He said: "The procurement process has failed to deliver on time. The top 20 major procurement programmes have a cumulative delay of 483 months. The expected cost overruns in the next 10 years alone amount to £16 billion. This equates to an unfunded liability of £4.4 million per day."

Fox also blasted the department's "mad" decision in 2004 to slash its helicopter budget by £1.4 million when soldiers were battling two wars in the Middle East.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said: "We have never shied away from the fact that there are issues with these projects. These will be addressed in our acquisition reform announcement in the autumn." The overhaul was first announced by Fox last month, when he also promised to slash the number of buyers at the MoD to tighten up procedures (Web news, 7 September).

Addressing Conservative delegates yesterday, he said: "Labour has created a defence black hole that is not only impacting on current operations in Afghanistan but threatens to provide an ongoing defence crisis for years to come."

SMoct2009

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