MoD urged to revamp accounting practices.

The Ministry of Defence has been urged to consider using a form of resource accounting after failures in calculating the total costs of the Kosovo conflict, write our parliamentary staff.

A National Audit Office report, published this week, urged the use of ‘resources consumed’ costing to supplement ‘additional costs’ statements used in Kosovo to show how much extra was spent over the cost of keeping the forces at home.

The system omitted the costs of bombs dropped, and a #1.3m Hercules warplane wrecked on take-off, contributing to criticisms that defence officials had failed to disclose the full cost of the conflict.

However, NAO head Sir John Bourn, said: ‘The department’s financial management of the operations represents a clear improvement over that demonstrated for Bosnia.’

The NAO estimated the total cost to the UK of the air campaign, the expeditionary land force and continued occupation of the province at #866m for the five years ending in 2003.

The watchdog said it regarded the affair as ‘an outstanding testament to the professionalism of our armed forces’. It praised the high standard of financial control and underlined ‘substantial improvements’ rectifying criticisms made of accounting procedures for the Gulf War and the Bosnian crisis.

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