MoD 'not ready' for disposal of military surplus

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Indy Politics
THE WORLD will soon be awash with millions of pounds worth of second-hand weaponry surplus to UK defence requirements, a National Audit Office investigation has found, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

But the Ministry of Defence has so far failed to maximise the potential rewards and is unprepared for the impending disposal of a fifth of Britain's front-line equipment.

Sloppy safeguards against theft have meanwhile led to a large-scale creaming-off operation at MoD depots.

The NAO's report into the greatest defence equipment sell-off since the Second World War, covering everything from uniforms to tanks, ships and aircraft, highlights the MoD's unreadiness to compete with the Americans, Eastern Europe, Germany and France.

The report by the government spending watchdog, published today, criticises the MoD's directorate of sales for failing to make a full assessment of its competitors and their 'strategies, strengths and weaknesses'.

The directorate is considering simplifying accounts procedures but the report urges better controls, highlighting lack of gate security at some depots. MoD police have begun an investigation into suspected fraud and thefts at disposal units and depots. A recent conviction involved collusion between a depot worker and a dealer over the disposal of a tank track.

Disposal by sale of defence surplus equipment and stores; HMSO; pounds 7.40.

Parliament today

Commons: Environment questions. European Communities (Amendment) Bill, committee.

Lords: Debate on inner city conditions; Debate on preventing nuclear proliferation and ending nuclear tests; Debate on the future development of Unesco.

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