Military chiefs under fire over ‘con trick’

Ministry of Defense

Attacked: the Ministry of Defense

Top brass at the Ministry of Defence have been forced to deny massaging
budgets to disguise overspending.

The charge was leveled as the Public Accounts Committee took evidence on a
National Audit Office assessment of the MoD’s major projects report 2007, which
said £1bn had been re-allocated over two years.

Former Labour defence minister Don Touhig claimed the strategy, ‘does seem a
con trick’, and accused the department of misleading Parliament by presenting
what appeared to be cost reductions that were not.

The Labour MP said the reallocations took budget lines out of one project
group, giving ‘the impression that you are not in any financial difficulties,
which you are.’

Permanent under-secretary Sir Bill Jeffrey said what had been done might seem
a con trick, but there had been no intention to present anything as a cost
reduction when it was not.

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