Light bulb buying under MoD spotlight

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5 March 2011 | Lindsay Clark

The UK Ministry ofDefence (MoD) said it is tackling “inexcusable” waste in procurement left from the previous administration.

The comments follow a story in The Sun newspaper which yesterday [4 March] claimed it had been shown an invoice for 100w light bulbs, which suggested the MoD was paying £22 per item were it could have paid just 65p. The story did not indicate how many bulbs were purchased.

An MoD spokesman refused to confirm or deny the claim but said the department was investigating the apparent waste. “Given the current financial situation the MoD is looking at existing contracts to ensure value for money and taking appropriate steps to make efficiency savings,” the spokesman said.

Secretary of state for defence Dr Liam Fox said: “We are already tackling head on the procurement problems we inherited. When money is tight and we need to protect the front line, waste is inexcusable. This is classic evidence of how Labour wasted taxpayers’ money and shows a complete lack of common sense. No wonder the last government left the MoD with a budget deficit of £38 billion."

The MoD has suffered unwanted media attention for procurement problems already this week. The National Audit Office complained that the procurement of Typhoon fighter jets had risen by 20 per cent to £13.5 billion, although the MoD was buying 72 fewer aircraft than first planned.

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