MoD paying consultants up to £3,000 a day to work on 'transformative' projects

Although there has been a fall in this type of spending, there is concern about how taxpayers' money is being used

Consultants have been paid up to £3,000 a day to work for the Government, according to new figures.

A Government spokesman insisted it had “put an end to excessive spending” on temporary staff, but added that there was a need for outside specialists to help with “transformative” projects.

The figures, obtained under Freedom of Information by BBC Newsnight, showed that the Government spent £317m on consultants in 2013 - a fall of 75 per cent compared to 2009. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) spent a further £137m on technical consultants.

At least 30 people were paid between £1,000 and £2,000 a day and the MoD revealed that one person was paid up to £3,000 a day. It was unclear how long this individual was employed.

Leslie Manasseh, deputy general secretary of civil service union Prospect, said Whitehall cuts had meant departments were hiring a “growing” army of private contractors.

“This is taxpayers' money and they have a right to know how it is being spent,” he said. “We know how much the Prime Minister earns, we know how much senior civil servants and other politicians earn, we have little or no idea how much individual consultants are earning.”

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: “I think people will be extremely concerned about the number of consultants being paid vast amounts of money for a day's work in government.”

He also criticised the Government for the “severe lack of transparency”.

A spokesman for the Government said it had “scrutinised spend by departments like never before”.

“Already it has put an end to excessive spending on consultants and interim staff by establishing stringent controls,” he said. “Certain departments do, however, have a requirement for specialist roles, especially where they are undertaking complex transformative projects.

“Such roles are only authorised where the skills are not readily available within the civil service.”

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