Sunday, January 07, 2007

MOD goes MAD!

Taxpayers to fund 2.3 bn modernisation

Following the revelation last week that the Royal Navy is to be cut down to a couple of dozen skiffs and rowing boats, it should not surprise us to learn that profligate spending will be the order of the day at Ministry of Defence HQ in Whitehall.

While Army Chiefs can complain of the squalid conditions that squaddies have to live in on their return from operational tours, and whilst Defence Secretary Des Browne continues to insist that the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq is fully equipped, mandarins in Whitehall will enjoy a modern open office environment costing over 27,000 pounds per square metre.

More than three miles of walls are to be demolished to create an open-plan “highly innovative” office space, costing 27,302 pounds per square metre, with marble and oak features restored to the “highest quality”.

For staff, the refit highlights include:

  • Luxury office chairs worth more than 1,000 pounds for each of the 3,100 civil servants.
  • The purchase of more than 3,500 oak doors for a total cost of 3m pounds, or up to 1,200 pounds each
  • The restoration of a "terrazzo" marble and stone floor in the renovated "pillared hall"
  • A restaurant, a coffee bar, three large plasma screens on each of the 10 floors, a gym and "quiet rooms" where staff can take a break.

Over the next decade, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will spend the equivalent of more than 75,000 pounds for each top official working at the ministry's headquarters on refurbishments, repairs and services. In contrast, it has budgeted just a third of the amount - only 25,000 pounds per person - for refurbishment and repairs to soldiers’ living quarters.

One day politicians will learn to put themselves firmly in control of the nation's finances and remember too that they are the stewards of OUR money, and that they are accountable to us as a consequence of the decisions that they take - civil servants of course, are not.


Times Online

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