18 Dec 2014

Private sector gains influence over defence vehicles and weapons

Summary: The MOD has agreed a £140m deal to allow the private sector to take control of the Defence Support Group.

The privatised contract has been handed to Babcock International following negotiations with the Government.

Defence Support Group

The Defence Support Group maintains, stores and repairs military vehicles and light weaponry for the MOD with an estimated worth of around £2bn over the next ten years.

As part of the acquisition deal, Babcock also won a ten-year contract to undertake maintenance, repair, and overhaul support for the MOD, as well as supervising the storage of current military vehicles and light weapons. Babcock personnel will also be expected to deploy overseas to provide limited in-theatre support to the MOD.

The contract is due to begin on 1 April.

Public sector savings

The deal aims to provide better value for the taxpayer and transform the support the Army relies on at home and overseas.

The move is part of the Government’s overall economic plan to generate public sector savings and continues the privatisation agenda already seen with the Royal Mail and aspects of the NHS.

This has been criticised by the public, unions and some senior members of the military, who argue that the country’s defence and healthcare should be kept in public hands and not sold off for profit.

Defence Equipment Minister Philip Dunne said: “The £140m proceeds from the sale and the significant savings over the life of the contract represent outstanding value for money for the taxpayer and will allow us to continue to focus our resources on the front line.”