MoD rows back on '£22 for 65p light bulb' denial
- 4 March 2011
- From the section UK
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) now says it is investigating newspaper claims that it paid £22.51 for light bulbs that can be bought for 65p elsewhere.
The MoD at first insisted the bulbs were highly specialised parts for a radar system, but later said the thrust of the Sun's story was correct.
It said it was "not denying" the claims after more information came to light.
The Sun had published an invoice which it said it was shown by a soldier who works in the stores of a UK base.
The soldier, whom the Sun did not name, told the paper he could not ignore the "criminal" waste he saw every day.
He was quoted as saying: "You're talking about a fortune for these bulbs. If I order 100, that's over £2,000. But you can pick them up for 65p each, the exact same ones.
"There must be thousands of light bulbs across the MoD. If people paid attention to simple things like this, they could save a lot of money - and maybe jobs."
Defence chiefs were also said to have paid £103 a time for screws, believed to be on sale online for £2.60.
In the paper, the soldier said specialist contractors sourced items for the military and added their costs on to the price, but large savings could be made by buying in bulk.
Reacting to the story earlier, Defence Secretary Liam Fox had described it as "inexcusable" and evidence of a waste of taxpayers' money by the previous Labour government.
Dr Fox told the paper: "We are already tackling the procurement problems we inherited head-on. When money is tight and we need to protect the front line, waste is inexcusable.
"This is classic evidence of how Labour wasted taxpayers' money and shows a complete lack of common sense. No wonder the last government left the MoD with a budget deficit of £38bn."
An MoD spokeswoman had earlier said of the bulb: "It was a lamp filament for the Watchman radar. The MoD uses about five per year."