London, Jan.27 (ANI): Over 300 million pounds of the British taxpayers' money has been lost by the Ministry of Defence due to poor book-keeping and payroll and contract errors, reports The Telegraph. The money includes more than £8 million given "in error" to hundreds of soldiers after an accounting mistake in a scheme to award long-serving troops.
The cash paid to the infantry has been "written off" at a time when the defence budget is under severe pressure with a shortfall approaching two billion pounds.
Opposition MPs have condemned the losses as a "scandalous waste of money".
Under the heading Losses and Special Payment" in the thick volume of MoD accounts for the financial year ending in 2008 a series of book-keeping bungles, contract wrangles and payroll errors have emerged.
At a time when money is needed to fund front-line equipment and poor accommodation, the MoD wasted 26 million pounds after it decided to "scale back" a contract for a biological warfare detection system.
The Government's decision to commit to the Oslo Declaration on banning cluster bombs meant that 112 million pounds was lost on equipment and contracts.
Another accounting error was spotted when a pension calculation mistake meant that 1.4 million pounds was paid in error to military pensioners in War Pension benefits.
Almost nine million pounds was written off when the MoD decided to cancel a sophisticated aviation computer system which had been beset with technical problems.
Another 500,000 pounds was paid in repairs to four Rolls-Royce Sea King engines which were damaged when shipped to the engineers the wrong way up.
A MoD spokesperson said: "Like all government departments, Parliament requires the MOD to declare losses and special payments in the Annual Report and Accounts. (ANI)