MoD under fire for lack of financial expertise

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Defence chiefs have been criticised by MPs over a ‘worrying lack of financial expertise’ that is forcing them to spend taxpayers’ cash on 100 outside accountants to sort out a string of errors.

The Ministry of Defence now has one outside expert for every 10 in-house accountants as it attempts to deal with the fallout of spending cuts and restructuring. In a report critical of the MoD’s handling of its finances, the Defence Select Committee demanded the numbers be reduced.

It welcomed a review of plans to slash its civilian staff by 35 per cent – warning it was concerned the scale of the cuts was putting reforms and performance at risk.

Auditors refused to sign off the MoD accounts for the sixth year running amid criticism for spending millions on unnecessary kit and failing to clear a mandarin’s £245,000 salary with the Treasury.

Committee chairman James Arbuthnot said: ‘The MoD must ensure its people have the right skills to deal with all financial problems so that they do not need to bring in expensive external accountants.’