MoD 'paid £22 for 65p lightbulbs'

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Indy Politics

The Military of Defence paid £22 each for lightbulbs available for just 65p, it was reported today.







Defence chiefs are also said to have shelled out £103 each for screws, believed to be on sale online for £2.60.



The spending came to light just days after the Government detailed how it planned to make 11,000 redundancies across the armed forces.



Defence Secretary Liam Fox criticised the inflated prices as showing a "lack of common sense" and evidence of a waste of taxpayers' money by the previous Labour government.



A solider, who works in the stores at a UK base, said he could not ignore the "criminal" waste he saw every day.



He told the Sun newspaper: "You're talking about a fortune for these bulbs. If I order 100, that's over two grand. But you can pick them up for 65p each, the exact same ones.



"There must be thousands of lightbulbs across the MoD. If people paid attention to simple things like this, they could save a lot of money - and maybe jobs."



According to the soldier, who the Sun did not name, specialist contractors source items for the military and add their costs on to the price.



But he said large savings could be made by buying in bulk.



Dr Fox told paper: "We are already tackling the procurement problems we inherited head-on.



"When money is tight and we need to protect the front line, waste is inexcusable.



"This is classic evidence of how Labour wasted taxpayers' money and shows a complete lack of common sense. No wonder the last government left the MoD with a budget deficit of £38 billion."



An MoD spokesman said: "Given the current financial situation, we are looking at existing contracts to ensure value for money and taking steps to make efficiency savings."



It has also emerged that taxpayers face a £150,000 bill for pulping thousands of copies of a new book after it was deemed a threat to national security.



The Daily Telegraph reported that the book, Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Real Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan, by Toby Harnden, was due to be published by Quercus this week, but the date of release has now been postponed.



The MoD spokesman said: "This action was taken because at a late stage the text of the book was found to contain information that could damage national security and put at risk the lives of members of the Armed Forces.



"Faced with the stark choice between compromising the security of members of the armed forces and their families and making a payment to the publisher for amendments to a book which had already been printed, MoD had little option but to negotiate a settlement."



Last autumn's Strategic Defence and Security Review set out plans for reducing the size of the armed forces by 17,000 in total.



Some of that number will be met by not replacing people who were retiring or leaving for other reasons.



But defence officials disclosed that 11,000 personnel still face being redundant on a compulsory or voluntary basis.



These amount to around 5,000 personnel from the Army, 3,300 from the Navy and 2,700 from the RAF.

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