Just weeks after it emerged soldiers are living in squalid army-issue accommodation, new figures show the Ministry of Defence (MoD) spent £91 million of taxpayers’ cash on consultants and solicitors.
According to an investigation by the Express newspaper, the MoD now has no fewer than 2,395 personnel on its payroll and yet spent mammoth sums on outside advice.
This includes spending an additional £10 million (US$12.9 million) on financial advisers and £18 million on solicitors on top of its annual £26 million legal fund.
A total of £57 million was spent on issues including “change management,” the paper claimed on Sunday.
Andy Smith, head of the UK National Defence Association (UKNDA) think tank, told the Express: “For the MoD to be lavishing so much public money on ‘consultancy’ is scandalous.”
The reports come mere weeks after the influential Public Affairs Committee (PAC) discovered UK troops, who have already been subjected to mass redundancy under Tory rule, are living in appalling conditions in privatized family housing.
A PAC report published in July pulled no punches in describing the shortcomings of the accommodation, while blasting both the MoD and its contracted private housing provider, CarillionAmey.
The committee accused both of “badly letting down service families,” while warning that failure to maintain the properties properly “may be driving some highly trained personnel to leave the military, wasting the investment made in them.”
The wife of one Royal Marine claimed: “We are still seeing people with moldy and damp homes, rat infestations… Families are moving into properties that are disgustingly filthy – when I say filthy, I mean flea infestations and dog hairs on carpets.”
One serviceman said the heating in the homes was so poor that he was concerned for the health of his infant child.
“The impact on our family has been huge. We have been constantly worrying about keeping the baby warm, we have not been able to clean bottles properly,” he claimed.