London Black Cab
In 2022 the MOD spent £380,000 more on taxis and chauffeur driven cars than in 2021 (Picture: Alex Segre / Alamy Stock Photo).

Labour accuses MOD of 'blowing millions' on car hire as it cuts the size of the Army

London Black Cab
In 2022 the MOD spent £380,000 more on taxis and chauffeur driven cars than in 2021 (Picture: Alex Segre / Alamy Stock Photo).

The Ministry of Defence has been accused of “blowing millions” of pounds on hiring cars and taxis in 2022 whilst slashing the size of the Army.

A freedom of information request by the PA news agency revealed the MOD spent £16.6m on hire cars for staff in the year to November, up from £12.9m million the previous year.

Spending on taxis and chauffeur-driven cars increased from almost £583,000 to £967,000.

The expenditure was through the MOD's Phoenix II vehicle contract.

It covers top-level budget areas including Navy command, land forces and air command, providing a mix of leased and rental vehicles like cars, minibuses, coaches and vans, as well as more specialist equipment, such as mountain rescue vehicles.

Shadow defence secretary John Healey said: "The defence department has blown millions more pounds on taxis this year as it cuts the size of the Army.

"At a time when many are cutting back, ministers have no grip on the rampant waste in their department.

"This Conservative Government is failing troops and taxpayers."

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, which is embroiled in a dispute with the Government over pay, jobs and pensions, said: "The Government tells us it can't afford to give our hard-working members a pay rise, yet it manages to find almost £18m to pay for hire cars and chauffeurs.

"The Government must come to the negotiating table with some money to help our members through the cost-of-living crisis and beyond."

An MOD spokesperson said: "We are committed to delivering value for money and our current contract for non-operational vehicles aims to deliver savings of around £152m over six years. 

They added: "Defence travel has increased this year with fewer Covid restrictions in place" and said that staff have to travel to locations all over the world not always accessible by public transport, explaining that hire cars or taxis are the "most efficient and cost-effective way to travel".

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