£700 bill to deliver soldier's boots

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Indy Politics

Ministry of Defence officials spent more than £700 shipping a pair of boots to a soldier in Northern Ireland, an MP revealed today.

Plaid Cymru's Westminster leader Elfyn Llwyd said that with cuts to public spending across the board, the Government could ill-afford to waste money on private couriers to deliver boots to soldiers.

He said the serviceman had ordered the £45 pair of boots as a non-urgent item from the defence logistics centre at Bicester but then a private courier was instructed to deliver them at a cost of £714.18.

During Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Llwyd asked David Cameron: "In these days of a rush to make savage cuts in public spending, the decimation of the police service and the hammering individuals due to the withdrawal of legal aid, can I ask you to justify the following expenditure?

"At the beginning of last month a serviceman from Northern Ireland asked for a pair of non-urgent boots, £45.

"They were despatched from defence base Bicester by private courier to Northern Ireland at a cost of £714.18. Isn't it time he got a grip of this?"

Mr Cameron replied: "I know former health ministers wanted to hear the rattle of every bed pan and maybe I need to see the order of every pair of boots in the military.

"But I recognise the point you make and one of the things we are trying to do in the Ministry of Defence is recognise that there's a huge amount of cost in terms of back office and logistics and we want to make that more efficient so we can actually spend money on the front line.

"The example you give is a good one. I will check it out and see if we can save some money."