While frontline soldiers faced redundancies and budget cuts, staff at the Ministry of Defence have spent £271,000 on calls to Directory Enquiries, figures have revealed.
Fresh from the embarrassment in August of being caught out spending £40,000 on calling the speaking clock, it has been revealed that the MoD has made 158,640 calls to 118 numbers on landlines and mobiles since the last general election.
For the same £271,000 expenditure, the army could have kept a brigade of troop in boots, or paid the salaries of 15 squaddies, or 270 sets of Osprey body armour.
Staff at the Department of Work and Pensions also called Directory Enquiries 97,265 times over the same period, costing taxpayers £72,387, according to figures released to Sky News after a Freedom of Information request. An MoD spokesman said: “Calls to Directory Enquiries from the majority of the 260,000 MoD fixed phone lines are banned but some staff working in isolated locations, who do not have access to a military phone network or internet, are able to call Directory Enquiries to obtain contact details.
“Calls to Directory Enquiries from fixed phone lines have fallen by over 75 per cent in the last four years and we are working to further reduce the number of calls made.”