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Stone says defence chief's £100,000 bonus 'beggars belief ' and is 'a kick in the teeth'

By Gordon Calder

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NORTH MP, Jamie Stone, has said it "beggars belief" that a defence chief behind a failing quango was given a bonus of around £100,000 last year.

The Caithness, Sutherland and easter Ross MP hit out after it emerged Sir Simon Bollom, the chief executive of Defence Equipment & Support (DES), an arm’s-length body of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), was awarded a bonus of between £95,000 and £100,000 on top of his salary of around £280,000 in 2021.

Mr Stone, who is the Liberal Democrats spokesman on defence, said the bonus was paid despite a number of independent reports accusing the MoD of wasting billions of pounds "on botched procurement deals." Other DES staff also received what were described as generous bonuses last year.

Jamie Stone says the defence chief's bonus 'beggars belief '. Picture: Jessica Taylor
Jamie Stone says the defence chief's bonus 'beggars belief '. Picture: Jessica Taylor

Responding to the news, Mr Stone said:"It beggars belief that those presiding over immense procurement waste are being rewarded. It is sadly symptomatic of a dysfunctional procurement process which consistently delivers assets over budget and late.

"What a kick in the teeth from this Conservative Government, which is still pressing on with its misguided plan to cut troop numbers. Their priorities are in entirely the wrong order."

Sir Simon, who is 61, is said to have overseen £5.5billion in spending on Ajax tanks, which could not be used after they were found to affect soldiers' hearing.

The House of Commons watchdog the Public Accounts Committee branded the MoD department as 'broken' and said the Bristol-based team "continually fails" to learn from its mistakes.

Sir Simon, is a retired senior Royal Air Force officer and air marshall who joined the services in 1981 after graduating from the University of Southampton. He left the Air Force in April 2016.

In May 2017, he became the interim chief of materiel (ships) at Defence Equipment and Support before becoming chief executive the following year.

He was awarded a knighthood in the 2016 New Year Honours.

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