Thursday, August 06, 2009

What can the sale of MoD property tell us about their budget?

There has been a lot of talk over the past few weeks about the military not having the resources they apparently need, be it helicopters, Ridgback vehicles or whatever else. This led, yesterday, to the news that the MoD was proverbially pissing away billions on projects that were overdue.

I mention this because if you want to get a feel for the total decimation of the defence budget in the UK during a time when we're engaged in two hostile theatre abroad, then taking a look at how much property the MoD has chosen to sell off will help towards that.

After all, if you're selling off your property then that is money coming into your budget. If the rate of your sales is high and you still seem to be having problems buying things, then it would suggest that your operating budget is pretty bloody tight.

This assessment seems to be borne out by the figures for MoD sales. Since 2000, the department has been selling of property at a rate of around 3 properties every week. The total sell off figure since 2000 is 1584 properties according to figures in the Commons library provided by Kevan Jones MP to Susan Kramer MP.

What's even more scary about these figures in relation to an operating budget, is that the MoD was selling these properties off during the property boom. Sadly I am yet to find cash figures for these sale, but one would presume they were making quite a tidy sum from it.

Even if we say the properties were only worth £100,000 each (that's roughly a 1-2 bedroom flat, although many of the properties were in Central London so the figure would have clearly been more I imagine), they were adding on average about £20 million to their budget each year, yet they still didn't have enough money?

That is some squeeze I'd say.

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