ITV News last night broadcast a report featuring Royal Marines and the dangers they face while on patrol in Afghanistan. | Sky News reports that suggestions that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will soon run out of oil are wide of the mark, according to intelligence being handed to Britain's military chiefs. | BBC Radio 4 reports that veterans involved in Britain's nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s are taking their case for compensation to the Supreme Court today. | Various media sources report that Foreign Secretary William Hague has admitted that releasing Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was a mistake. | The UK's decision to recognise rebels in Libya as the north African country's "sole governmental authority" has been widely covered by the media. | The Independent claims that Government officials are questionning the 'unusual' private defence briefings Dr Liam Fox has given to the Murdochs. | The Sun features a story about how Beijing Olympic rower Lieutenant Tom Lucy joined the Royal Marines, putting his Olympic career on hold.
MOD use of Government Procurement Cards
The use of Government Procurement Cards (GPCs) by the MOD has been reported on by a number of media outlets over recent days. The MOD is one of the largest Government departments, with some 269,000 military and civilian personnel based all over the world. We need the speed and flexibility that the GPC provides as an efficient payment mechanism for essential products and services that we need. Using the GPC avoids far less efficient paper methods that would also make it more difficult to track where the money is being spent. We apply strict policy controls to reduce the risk of inappropriate expenditure which are monitored through audit.
The average value of a GPC transaction in the MOD is £240. The GPC cuts overhead costs – the National Audit Office concluded that a transaction through GPC is on average £28 cheaper than a manual order and payment process - so with around 1.2 million transactions per annum; that's equivalent to using over 1,000 extra staff to process the papers that would be needed if GPC was not used. That ensures that we are getting the most out of the Defence budget in support of our Service personnel worldwide, and is good value for money for the taxpayer. Further information will be published in due course in line with the timescales set by the Cabinet Office for this along with every other department.