Armed Forces International News - January 2008

MoD Expanded its Art While Troops Faced Shortages

Posted by Paul Fiddian on 03/01/2008 - 14:05:53

It has been claimed that, while British troops engaged in areas of global conflict are insufficiently equipped and, when back in the UK, provided with sub-standard military accommodation, defence chiefs within the Ministry of Defence have spent vast sums of money on acquiring works of art. Critics state that, as members of the British armed forces fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq risk their lives, taxpayers’ money is being poured away on what have been described as “frivolous projects”.

During the period 2004-2005, the MoD spent a total of £160,000 on a series of paintings by the artist Zil Hoque. These paintings are titled Nimbus I, II, III and IV.

At the same time, it also acquired four works of art by Louise Cattrell called Aerial, Eyrie, Keep and and Tempest, with a combined cost involved of £72,000.

Both amounts exclude VAT.

Over 2005/2006, £53,000 was then spent by the MoD on its paintings’ upkeep.

MoD Has Spent Nearly £350k on TVs Since Iraqi Invasion

Furthermore, since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the ministry has purchased 3,150 chairs, each priced at £1,000. It also also spent £348,000 on 134 widescreen TVs.

The ex British Army head, General Sir Mike Jackson, recently highlighted how the MoD’s acquisition of modern art showed its “cultural divide”.

Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox, meanwhile, stated that: "Spending on frivolous projects and lavish refits shows how out of touch the Government is when it comes to our Armed Forces."

The UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been frequently criticised in respect of the pay given to troops, and the accommodation provided.

Source – Armed Forces International’s Political Correspondent

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