22 Jul 2013

MOD spends £500k on bullets which may never be used

Summary: The Ministry of Defence has bought twice as many bullets as it needs for troops in Afghanistan at a cost to the taxpayer of around £500,000.

It is thought that the MOD purchased four million rounds of ammunition, despite troop numbers falling from eight thousand to just five thousand as UK forces hand over security to Afghanistan.

The bullets will be useless once they reach their use-by-date.

According to the MOD website, ‘the need to buy more bullets has reduced for 2013 – the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan means that orders for the next tour are down by 50%.’ The site admits that the excess purchasing was based on earlier estimates, which may not have been revised in light of the reduced number of troops being deployed.

The MOD were tied into the purchases as a result of existing and outstanding contracts based on old requirements and estimates, and that although the MOD were aware of the overspend, there was no way of cancelling the contracts and no question of leaving the contract unfulfilled.

An MOD spokesman told the Daily Mail: “It is wrong to suggest that the MoD has been wasteful. No-one would want our troops to run out of ammunition whilst on operations and we have to plan for the worst possible scenarios – it is clearly better to have more than enough ammunition than not enough.”