Fears raised that MoD cannot cope with civilian job losses
A TOP Whitehall mandarin has cast doubt on the ability of the Ministry of Defence to cope with the level of civilian job losses being demanded by budget savings.
Permanent Secretary Jon Thompson raised concerns with MPs over whether his department could manage in the face of making 32,000 civil servants redundant.
Members of the Commons Defence Select committee welcomed a review of plans to slash civilian staff by 35 per cent, fearing the cuts would put Ministry of Defence (MoD) performance and reforms "at risk".
The job cuts could have implications for city-based civilian MoD workers.
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In evidence to the committee, Mr Thompson said: "We have reached the point where I think you do have to ponder whether you can fully drive towards 35 per cent or not.
"The budget requires us to do that, but we need to understand the impact of it."
The cross-party group of MPs also said delays in producing last year's annual accounts revealed "a worrying lack of financial expertise within the MoD".
The department had had to bring in expensive outside accountants to help sort out errors.
Auditors recently refused to sign off the MoD accounts for the sixth year running.