The Department of Defense (MoD) has come under fire after revelations it has spent nearly £ 13million on hire cars for staff this year.
An access to information (FoI) request from PA Media also showed the Department for Transport spent more than £ 1.1million in the year through October, while others departments have spent tens of thousands of pounds. The total number of responses to FoI’s request was over £ 14.2million.
The Defense Ministry said its staff had to travel across the UK and bases all over the world to places not always accessible by public transport. Labor and a union representing civilian workers in the Defense Ministry, however, criticized the amount of money spent.
Unite Acting National Officer for the Defense Staff Caren’s Evans said: “This number is quite excessive, it demonstrates how extremely inefficient the Department of Defense is and presents a exceptionally low value for money for taxpayers.
“This revelation of awe-inspiring spending on vehicles leased by the Defense Ministry is a kick in the teeth for civilian staff in the Defense Ministry who suffered a salary freeze this year and are now struggling to join forces. two ends because of the cost of living crisis in the UK. The money spent on car rentals could and should have been better spent on giving Defense Ministry workers a much needed pay raise. “
Shadow Secretary of Defense John Healey said: “The Department of Defense has spent millions of pounds on taxis at the same time as it downsized the military and froze the salaries of the forces. There is so much waste in the budgets of the Department of Defense and the ministers have no control over the problems. This Conservative waste is failing frontline forces and taxpayers. “
The MoD responded to FoI’s request: “The car rental expense for MoD staff through the Phoenix II vehicle contract for the current calendar year through November 30, 2021 is 12 960 612. Please note that this figure includes VAT but excludes fuel and other costs.
A spokesperson for the Department of Defense said: ‘As a large organization with out of town sites across the UK and bases all over the world, our staff need to travel to places that are not. not always accessible by public transport and often a rental or rental car. the taxi is the most efficient and economical means of transport.
“We are committed to providing good value for money. Our current contract for non-operational vehicles aims to achieve savings of around 152 million euros over six years.
In other guidelines, the Department of Defense has stated that all travel by Department of Defense officials and military personnel must be confirmed as essential and authorized by an official to ensure the request is valid and represents a good report. price quality.
The Phoenix II contract covers all the so-called first level budget areas of the Ministry of Defense, including land forces, air command, defense equipment and support, joint forces command, navy command, head offices and general services and the organization of defense infrastructure.
The MoD fleet covered by the Phoenix II contract offers a mix of rented and leased vehicles, including cars, minibuses, coaches, vans and freight transport, as well as specialized vehicles ranging from dog vans to horse-drawn ambulances in passing by mountain rescue vehicles.