Defence chiefs blamed over £74m account overspend.

The Ministry of Defence has accepted a rap over the knuckles from the Commons Public Accounts Committee for overspending by almost £74m last year.

It is the fourth year in a row it has broken limits set by parliament and the Treasury.

A formal minute from the Treasury said the MOD ‘regret’ having broken the rules again and blamed ‘the difficulty of controlling the timing of receipts’ resulting from some income coming in later than expected, partly because of an extra £2.8m spent on the Kosovo operation.

The MOD claimed to have taken appropriate action to prevent an overspend recurring.

The Treasury minute revealed that top level budget holders have been interviewed personally by the permanent under secretary Kevin Tebbit and project managers have been appointed to manage the collection of receipts.

In the report from the PAC, MPs said it was clearly unacceptable that last year’s accounts should have exceeded limits for the fourth year in a row and demanded: ‘The department must exercise much more rigorous financial control in future, and comply fully with parliamentary and Treasury authorities.’

Related reading