Eight Ministry of Defence chiefs claim £433k expenses as they plan to sack troops

Sean Rayment — Daily Star Jan 5, 2014

The members of the Ministry of Defence used the cash on official cars and drivers, taxis, business flights and five star hotels.

Three of them ran up a £63,000 bill in just three months.

Details of the huge spending came to light as defence bosses prepare to sack thousands more troops later this month.

The MoD has already axed thousands of soldiers and middle-ranking civil servants in the past two years.

The civil servants who produced the largest bills were former MoD Permanent Secretary Ursula Brennan, Chief of Defence Materiel Bernard Gray, Chief Scientific Officer Professor Mark Welland, Defence Infrastructure Organisation chief Andrew Manley, human resources director general Susan Scholfield, Defence Academy director general Peter Watkins, Defence Equipment and Support CEO Andrew Tyler and security policy director general Tom McKane.

Details contained within government documents show some of the most highly-paid members of Whitehall claimed as little as £4.50 for taxi fares, while others claimed for stays in central London hotels after being wined and dined by large corporations such as British Aerospace.

A Freedom of Information request reveals Mr Manley, the Chief of Defence Estate, claimed £13,743, including £5,542 to stay 47 nights at the New Hall Hotel and Spa in Sutton Coldfield.

Dame Ursula spent £73,000 on an official car and driver between January 2011 and March 2012 while Prof Welland claimed expenses of £67,830 for the same period.

And Mr Gray ran up a £100,000 bill after he was hired to cut waste. His expenses included £23,000 for 106 nights in hotels in London and Bristol on “official duties”. Mr Gray, who earns £220,000 a year, lives a 60-mile drive from Whitehall.

The head of the MoD’s military equipment programme also charged £65,531 for using an official car and driver, £17,929 for air and rail travel and £280 for taxis, despite having the car laid on.

Robert Oxley of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “This is a phenomenal amount of money to fork out on expenses for already very well-paid staff. The MoD must do all they can to reduce this bill.”

An MoD spokesman said: “First-class air travel has been banned and expenditure on staff cars has been slashed. Travel is an essential part of MoD business.”


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