Defence cuts will add to costs, say specialists

Defence cuts will add to costs, say specialists

Prospect has condemned the announcement by Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth that MOD is to cut 10,000 civilian jobs at the department and close at least one RAF base, as part of cuts to the Harrier and Tornado fighter jet fleets.

On behalf of 9,000 Ministry of Defence specialists, National Secretary Steve Jary said: “This latest round of cuts threatens the future capability of the UK armed forces. The Defence Secretary is reshaping the armed forces in order to fund the conflict in Afghanistan, which not only prejudices the forthcoming strategic defence review, but also breaks the consensus that the cost of fighting wars should be met from government contingency funds.

“Our members report that the department is close to melt-down. It is carrying on with this disastrous policy, despite numerous warnings from industry, unions and independent reviews over the negative impact of a raft of cuts and outsourcing that has seriously undermined the ability of the department to act as an intelligent customer.

Cuts and delays to parts of MOD’s equipment programme represent a “save now and pay later” policy, which is, as the National Audit Office points out today, more costly in the long-term, said Jary.

“This failing applies equally to cuts in civilian posts. The cuts will add to costs. As well as a bill for making thousands of highly skilled and long serving civilians redundant, the loss of expertise will result in hundreds of consultants being employed by the department to fill the gaps at more than twice the cost of the civilians who have been sacrificed,” said Jary.The union says there are thousands of posts also occupied by military staff, which should be filled by civilians.

The MOD’s own capitation rates - detailing the total costs of employing military staff and civilians - show that, in most grades and ranks, the cost of military staff is around twice as much.