End of perks for British Defence officials and high ranking military personnel
The UK Ministry of Defense hospitality budgets that allowed colonels, majors and brigadiers to entertain guests at taxpayers’ expense have been cut, along with funding for cooks, cleaners and other domestic staff, reported the Daily Telegraph. Junior ministers in the Ministry of Defense now share cars and first class air travel has been banned across Whitehall and the Armed Forces.
The UK government has faced criticism from within the senior ranks of the military after announcing 20.000 Army posts will be cut as part of moves to reconfigure the service. More than 1.000 service personnel were forced out in June out of a total of 3.800 redundancies.
Senior Conservative MPs and a number of ministers are known to be furious at the reductions.
The MoD published figures showing that £53 million has already been saved. Cuts to the number of support staff employed in the offices of the chiefs of the Armed Forces are expected to deliver the biggest saving, of around £29 million this year.
More than £19 million was saved last year through a ban on all first class travel for civilian and military personnel. The criteria for using business class tickets have been tightened up, the MoD said.
In future, the professional heads of the Army, Navy and RAF will also see their accommodation downgraded. Once the current chiefs of staff leave their posts, their replacements are likely to move into the accommodation currently being used by the Commanders-in-Chief of the Services, whose roles are also being abolished.
This will release Bulford Manor in Wiltshire, an apartment at Kensington Palace, Admiralty House in Northwood, Middx and will see the Chief of the Air staff moving into the Commander-in-Chief’s residence in High Wycombe, Bucks. The result is expected to be a saving of around £202,000 a year.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced on Monday that the new structure, which will be introduced from April 2013, will ensure that the MOD is less top-heavy, and is expected to save the Department around £3.8m a year. An estimated 25% of civilian and military personnel at the MoD Head Office will be cut over the next two years to form a new senior staff structure.
Around 26 civilian and military posts at Senior Civil Service level, the equivalent of Commodore, Brigadier, Air Commodore or above, are set to go. The new Head Office will focus more on providing strategic direction. It will no longer get involved in the day-to-day management of the front line commands, which will take over responsibility for managing their own budgets.
At a time when we are making difficult decisions about Defence spending and have had to accept reductions across the board we cannot ignore the volume of posts at the top. For too long the MOD has been top-heavy, with too many senior civilians and military”, said Minister Hammond.
Not only does this new structure reduce senior staff posts by up to a quarter in the next two years, but it allows clear strategic priorities to be set for the Armed Forces. It will hold the front line commands to account for their delivery and support them in the tasks they are set.”
The changes announced Monday were recommended in Lord Levene's 2011 report and build on the transformation of Defence already underwent.