The running cost of UK Divisions (via FOI request)
The statistics for the running costs of the British Army’s Divisions, attained via a Freedom of Information (FOI) request are below. However, the UK government wants to restrict the use of FOI requests because journalists are apparently ‘misusing’ them, according to minister, Chris Grayling.
So says he! Considering the difficulty in getting timely or accurate information from government departments it is unsurprising that the media has to resort to FOI requests. And why does it matter if journalists use this information in articles, why in their opinion is it ‘misuse’?
If the government provides information it does not get a say in how it is used.
Earlier this year, when Shephard asked for updates on UK procurement programmes from the MoD press office, we were told that they only usually handle media enquiries on day-to-day issues and that in future this kind of detailed information should be acquired through – yes that’s right – a Freedom of Information request!
So the MoD press office does not want to provide programme information, but if these details are instead obtained via FOI, according to the government the press should not be allowed to publish because they reckon it is ‘misuse’! So how does a humble defence trade publication get these figures for publication then?
Clearly this is a cynical attempt by the government to prevent the media from holding them to account by limiting the ways information can be attained. Restricting FOI means less information will reach the public domain and so there will be reduced accountability for taxpayers as a result.
So in the spirit of FOI here are some financial statistics about the cost of running the British Army’s 1st (UK) and 3rd (UK) Divisions and three Logistics Brigades: this totals £238.3 million a year.
Following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the MoD, figures for FY2014-15 for the two divisions and 101, 102 and 104 Logistics Brigades were provided.
The figures include activity costs, such as some exercises, travel and Locally Employed Civilian salaries. They do not include service and civilian manpower costs or infrastructure because the FOI stated that these costs are held centrally and cannot be broken down.
The 1st (UK) Division running costs come to £86.3 million, with 7 Brigade comprising £13 million and 20 Brigade, £20 million.
The 3rd (UK) Division running costs are £133.8 million, which includes 1 Brigade at £31.7 million, 4 Brigade a similar amount at £31.8 million and 12 Brigade is £64 million.
The MoD added that the financial management structure used for 2014/15 did not reflect new Army 2020 structures.
Now time for some more FOI requests…