FURY AS DEFENCE CHIEFS BLOW £800 A NIGHT ON TOP HOTELS
» Veterans charities hit out at £205m travel bill for top brass » Plus bonuses for MoD civil servants rocket to £16m a year
FORCES charities are in uproar after learning MoD chiefs spent as much as £816 a night on hotels.
The bill for sending top brass around the globe hit £205million last year. And bonuses to MoD civil servants rocketed to £16million.
The figures, on Armed Forces Day, come as troops face a cash crisis. Campaigner Tony Hayes said: “It’s obscene.”
DEFENCE chiefs blew up to £816 a night at five-star hotels as troops face kit shortages and live in squalid quarters.
One Ministry of Defence boss stayed in a Dubai hotel at an eyewatering £4,900 for six nights.
Other trips to the Emirates saw the MoD book a total of 38 rooms which each cost more than £300-per-night.
In another case, an MoD worker and guest stayed in Limassol, Cyprus, for three nights at a cost of £2,200 – which comes to £733 a night.
Officials even splashed out £500 for a one-night stay in BIRMINGHAM.
The figures emerged as the MoD revealed it spent £205million on hotels, meals and transport last year. They come amid fears the military faces a £1.2billion black hole by 2022.
Armed Forces charities branded the spending a “betrayal”. Tony Hayes, from the Veterans Association UK, said: “Spending of this kind is ethically wrong but it should be legally wrong. Troops are under-equipped and under-resourced while veterans are left on the heap, their benefits cut.
“All the while some MoD guy spends £800 on a hotel in Dubai. It’s obscene.”
Veterans in Action founder Billy MacLeod said: “It’s a betrayal. This could be spent on PTSD. For £800 I could take a veteran for a three-week expedition where we could get to the root of his problems.”
The Royal Marines Charity is building a centre for traumatised veterans. It will cost £2.4million – a fraction of the MoD’s spend on car rental, transport, use of a private vehicle, overnight stays and meals.
The average squaddie could only dream of visiting hotels used by the MoD. One official had two nights at
Omni Berkshire Place hotel in Manhattan, New York. Cost: £808. There was £822 for two nights at the Grand Hotel Rica in Oslo, Norway, plus £912 for three nights at the Lord Elgin hotel in Ottawa, Canada. And three rooms at the Concorde Opera hotel in Paris were £316 each.
In Sydney, aides spent £10,226 on 30 nights at the five-star Meriton Kent Street apartments. Four MoD staff enjoyed two nights at the Monaco Hotel in Washington at £361 per person, per night. But some of the biggest spends were yards from the MoD’s HQ in Whitehall, London.
Officials spent £9,246 for 22 nights at the five-star Royal Horseguards Hotel, on Embankment. And 21 days at the Mercure London City Bankside hotel cost £7,062. There was £1,085 for three nights at Macdonald Randolph Hotel, in Oxford, and £1,200 for three nights at a hotel in Glasgow.
The MoD said: “We expect staff to act responsibly when incurring expenses and continue to make significant savings in travel costs. Hotels are only approved when they are the most costeffective solution.”
Earlier this year it emerged homes on army bases sparked 36,000 complaints in three years. Some are plagued by rats and riddled with leaks.
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