Stephen Morgan asks Gavin Williamson why the Defence Refresh did not include vital changes to how Ministry of Defence (MoD) calculates value for money.
MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, today used Defence Questions in the House of Commons to ask the Secretary of State, Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP, why the latest Defence Policy Refresh failed to alter the definition of value for money to include employment and economic impacts.
There have been calls from both industry and Parliament for such changes to be implemented and the Portsmouth South MP once again urged Government to consider local jobs and economies when choosing where to award defence contracts.
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
“The defence industry supports thousands of jobs in Portsmouth and is of huge benefit to our local and national economy. It is astonishing that the Government still refuses to include such employment and economic impacts in its definition of value for money.
It’s just economic common-sense that when deciding where to build and maintain our Royal Navy’s ships, the impact on local jobs and industries is factored in.
Otherwise, the MoD risks engaging in a false economy that erroneously puts highly-skilled jobs in cities like Portsmouth at risk for the sake of superficially cheaper contracts abroad”.
The Single Source Resource Office (SSRO) is tasked with ensuring the MoD achieves value for money in its expenditure. There is concern that the SSRO, which currently has just 33 members of staff, is under resourced and has been hit by multiple senior-level resignations.
The National Audit Office has highlighted the issues with the SSRO and called for it to be strengthened, stating:
‘The Department must increase its ability to negotiate contracts and scrutinise costs to secure better value for money’.