Defence chiefs blew a record £135million on consultants last year

DEFENCE chiefs blew a record £135 million on consultants last year – after halting recruitment and training for Royal Navy reservists.

Spending on outside “experts” to advise the MoD has risen five-fold in the past decade despite employing a small army of its own pen-pushers.

Official figures show a total of £648 million has been splurged on financial and other consultants since 2010, enough to hire 6,500 personnel needed to crew ten aircraft carriers.

But last week Defence Secretary Ben Wallace halted all recruitment and training for the 2,700 Navy reservists for the next four months to save £7.5 million.

Labour said it was it was “scandalous” to be spending so much on outside help while slashing to front line forces.

Ministers plan a 2.3 per cent real terms cut in day-to-day spending to fill a £13billion black hole in the defence budget.

Shadow defence Secretary John Healey said: “It beggars belief that the Defence Secretary is cutting back on our front line forces whilst allowing this soar-away spending on MoD consultants.

“Ministers must get their priorities right, stop penny pinching on support for the front line Services and put our military personnel at the heart of plans for the future.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “We take considerable steps to reduce unnecessary spending, protect taxpayers’ money and ensure rigorous scrutiny of department expenditure.

“We only procure consultancy services when external expertise is essential and represents value for money.”

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