26 Feb 17. MoD fails to pay suppliers millions after botched IT upgrade. A bungled government computer upgrade has left defence suppliers waiting for hundreds of millions of pounds in payments and has forced some to take out loans to pay wages.
The Ministry of Defence launched a new procurement and payment system, CP&F, in early December to simplify the process for its suppliers. But a number of companies say teething problems have left them unpaid for almost three months. Ian King, the chief executive of Britain’s biggest defence supplier, BAE Systems, and chairman of the Defence Industries Council, has written to the MoD seeking urgent action to end the hold-up.
The boss of a company that relies heavily on MoD work said it was owed more than £5m and had taken out bank loans to pay wages and its own suppliers. “It’s beyond a joke,” he said. “It’s intolerable.” One supplier suggested the figure owed could be as high as £2bn.
Another large supplier said it had been stretched by the outstanding payments: “It’s a massive issue. Lots of contractors are not being paid as they should be.”
The IT imbroglio is the latest in a string of problems for the MoD, which is already wrestling with the long-delayed army recruitment IT system, supplied by outsourcing giant Capita, and the ballooning cost of the new Type 26 frigate. (Source: The Sunday Times)
BATTLESPACE Comment: BATTLESPACE broke this story first in BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.19 ISSUE 04, 23 January 2017. 20 Jan 17. In spite of claims by a number of UK Ministers that they regard SMEs as key to the success of the defence industrial base, BATTLESPACE understands that following a survey amongst over 40 companies that they are owed a total of £39m in late payments. Some of them may go under because of this. In other news BATTLESPACE understands that the large European defence majors including Thales, Airbus and Leonardo are reluctant to sign new contracts until the matter of Brexit and tariffs in particular is clearer.
17 Feb 17. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 17 Feb 17 Tornados destroyed a Daesh strong point to the West of Kirkuk. On 19 Feb 17 Tornados supported Iraqi troops advancing on Western Mosul, attacking mortar positions. Two days later Typhoons demolished a Daesh causeway while Tornados attacked an artillery piece near Mosul and a tunnel on the outskirts of the city. On 22 Feb 17 Tornados attacked four chokepoints on the roads leading out of Western
Mosul. The attack on the road network was designed to prevent truck-bombs and supplies being sent to hamper the Iraqi advance. (MoD, 23 Feb 17.)
Comment: The MoD reported (23 Feb 17) that the Iraqi offensive to liberate Western Mosul had been launched on 19 Feb 17, with RAF Tornados forming part of the coalition air support. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/09, 27 Feb 17)
22 Feb 17. Chemical Weapons: Use by Syria. Responding to a Parliamentary Question (22 Feb 17), the Foreign Secretary said that: “The Government condemns the use of chemical weapons, by anyone, anywhere. The Syrian regime has used chemical weapons during the conflict in breach of UN Security Council resolutions as well as Syria’s obligations under the
Chemical Weapons Convention….”.
Comment: The Foreign Secretary made a comprehensive Statement, about the use of chemical weapons in
Syria, to the House of Commons on 14 Sep 16. The British view was also expressed before the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on 12 Oct 16. The Foreign Secretary reiterated his views on
11 Nov 16: “The UK will continue to work with international partners to secure justice for victims and to prevent the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/09, 27 Feb 17)
23 Feb 17. Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations. The Armed Forces’ Minister confirmed (23 Feb 17) that the UK has “a long term commitment to Afghanistan, with 500 troops deployed as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission”