Ex-minister blasts procurement

17 September 2009

18 September 2009 | Allie Anderson

A former Labour defence secretary has slammed the UK Ministry of Defence's (MoD) procurement processes as "a mess".

In an interview with The Times this month, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, Scotland (right), said programmes were improperly costed, specifications frequently changed and, in particular, a £16 million project to buy armoured vehicles had ground to a halt.

The vehicles, which should have been available this year, will now not go into service until at least 2013, he told the paper.

Robertson also urged Whitehall to publish Bernard Gray's report on defence procurement, which allegedly found that the MoD is wasting up to £2.5 billion a year on "incompetent" procurement decisions.

The criticism follows calls by the Conservative party for "radical root-and-branch reform" to improve delivery of front-line equipment.

Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox revealed the party's plans to slash the number of MoD buyers and tighten up procedures in a speech at a defence conference earlier this month.

"It is time for the MoD to get its house in order," he said. The Tories plan to order an independent, in-depth review of the structure of the armed forces and its staff.

SMsep2009

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