Monday, March 23, 2009

Expensive chairs and office furniture at the MoD?

When Channel 4's Dispatches ran a programme about how the Government squandered millions, nay billions, on lots of seemingly frivilous things it included a revelation about how the MoD spent serious amounts of money on some of the most expensive chairs you could possibly buy for an office. I don't recall the exact figure but it was stupidly large given it was only spending on chairs.

Clearly, this has led to some MPs asking questions again, not just about chairs but furniture in general, and the MoD has revealed in response the amount it has has pent on furniture since 2002, excluding PFI/PPP projects where the furniture is supplied by the industrial partner and forms a part of the overall project costs. Essentially the figures are the spend on furniture for barracks, family accommodation and office furniture in the Ministry.

However, I'm not sure the proportion of the figure which is on family accommodation can be that high given that the National Audit Office issued a damning report just last week noting that a third of all military families were living in sub-standard accommodation, and the MoD was spending some £38 million a year maintaining empty properties.

Anyhow, the total figure of spending of furniture by the MoD since 2002 was £158.2 million. Now obviously I have bugger all evidence to back this up, but given the NAO report, along with the report by Dispatches about the flash expensive chairs in the offices of the MoD, my gut tells me most of this spending was probably on yet more plush furniture rather than which they could have spent at MFI.*
* Just think if they had used MFI, they might not have gone bust.

6 comments:

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Meanwhile, over in the private sector ...

Anna Raccoon said...

Dizzy,

Could also usefully be compared with the recent spate of written questions regarding theft from government offices.......

JMB said...

I never cease to be amazed what can be spent on "executive" furniture. Probably 20 years ago I came across a catalogue at work that had simple things like coat hooks costing over £60, short pieces of rope for putting between two posts were similar prices. Desks, chairs etc were obscene prices.

I can just imagine the same people who would spend that much on a coat hook would tell someone "on the factory floor" to put a nail in the wall for their coat.

The same seems to apply to the MOD where they will spend large amounts on luxurious furniture for themselves whilst challenging any spending on kit for the servicemen.

Anonymous said...

Why exclude PFI?

We still all have to pay for it!

Sam Duncan said...

Amateurs. The Scottish Numptorium spent £90,000 on a desk. "Like the rest of the building, it's designed to last 100 years as the minimum," so, given how well that design criterion has worked on the roof and windows, they'll probably have to replace it some time next year.

Anonymous said...

Dizzy, you are bang on - but these are the chairs used by the BBC as well, as seen on Question Time..

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1466789/MoD-chairs-1000-each-as-troops-face-axe.html

Still, if your arse has been fat by bloated public sector spending, you have to park that capacious butt somewhere expensive..